Analysis out of the box

Carpenters Workshop Gallery: expanding the idea of design

Analysis out of the boxArt Market | In a design market that has been thriving since the 2000’s, Carpenters Workshop Gallery is focusing on design that breaks with the industry and takes art as its common denominator. The gallery is developing a business model suited to a new generation of creators and buyers, for whom the outstanding and innovative are the epitome of luxury.

Carpenters Workshop Gallery NYC © Carpenters Workshop Gallery
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Carpenters Workshop Gallery NYC
© Carpenters Workshop Gallery

The 80’s : The invention of contemporary design

In 1984, Gérard Dalmon and Pierre Staudenmeyer create Néotu Gallery and pioneer a new approach in the design field, commissioning original or limited edition designer furniture. The decade gives rise to the idea of the creator in fashion and design, and young designers demand a distinctive title to separate them from the prêt-a-porter and industrial design fields. Through its New York and Paris venues, Néotu acts as a producer/editor for its artists as much as a contemporary art gallery showing their work. It is a model that suits the aspirations of this (then) young generation : Christian Biecher, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Matali Crasset], Jasper Morisson, Olivier Gagnère, Garouste and Bonetti, Eric Schmitt, Pucci di Rossi, Dan Friedman, Martin Szekely. In twenty years, more than 800 collaborative editions have been produced with artisanal savoir-faire. Néotu’s directors are reinventing design in a general context of renewal in the field, with private and public support from organizations such as the VIA (Valorisation de l’Innovation dans l’Ameublement, dedicated to promoting innovation in furniture design).

On the forefront of the global market

Over the course of the noughties, Carpenters Workshop Gallery’s directors Julien Lombrail and Loïc Le Gaillard note the changes taking place around them and the mutations in design sensibilities in the work of a new generation of designers they discover at London and Eindhoven graduate shows. On the cusp of globalization’s first effects on the field, they craft an ecosystem custom-made for a new “ultra-rich” clientele, on the hunt for the extraordinary. They participate in over 15 international art fairs a year, in countries with high growth rates, in order to profile these new buyers and also shape their tastes through one-on-one meetings. Their designers also benefit from the heightened visibility and notoriety a network of galleries affiliated with the London main branch brings them, with outposts in Paris, New York and Los Angeles.

The Workshop Design ecosystem

Carpenter Workshop Gallery situates contemporary design in a new context of innovation and savoir-faire. The gallery has its own production unit located in Landowski’s 8,000 m2 former foundry near Roissy – a transport hub that facilitates shipping – as well as a research and development department. The best artisans in wood, metal, leather, tapestry, parchment, molding and smelting share the space and generate a collective energy… and dedicate one day a week to research. Designers receive training in workshops : Ingrid Donat, Maarten Baas, the Campana brothers, Nacho Carbonel, Nendo, Sébastien Brajkovic and Korean designer Wonmin Park have all worked here, whether for a specific project or on a longer-term basis.
The system allows for a total mastery of the production chain, from single pieces up to editions of 8, but also better cost management. Producer-editor, gallerist-entrepreneur : the Carpenters team is changing the contemporary design market and dismantling traditional models, but also writing their own history through the creation of a collection. Their method, with one collected work representing each project, echoes that of historic dealers like Yvon Lambert.

Virginie Bertrand
Publié le 27/01/2016
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