Compared with many other art dealers set to show at the second annual The Salon: Art + Design this week, the fêted Carpenters Workshop Gallery boldly occupies that nebulous space between art and design. Parisian pair Julien Lombrail and Loïc Le Gaillard started their project-cum-gallery together in 2005 in a former wood shop in London’s Chelsea Gas Works. Since then—armed with another outpost in Mayfield and an annex in Paris—they have been producing limited editions and rare one-offs by the likes of Maarten Baas, Johanna Grawunder, Rick Owens, and Wendell Castle to name a few.
“We see the furniture as art pieces. They provoke the same sensation one gets from art,” Lombrail said in a 2008 New York Times interview. “This is not about Marc Quinn making furniture. This is about Marc Quinn continuing his body of work,” Lombrail added.
Like any gallery owner, it’s a labor of love, but theirs is a true labor in every sense of the word. “As soon as we love something we produce it! It is no more complicated than that,” the pair recently said. In addition to making the pieces, “All the artworks we have at the gallery we have in our personal collection.” Both partners had an artistic upbringing; Le Gaillard grew up in his father’s gallery in Paris while Lombrail is the son and now agent of artist and designer Ingrid Donat.
This legacy hasn’t deterred them from representing up-and-comers. For their second time around at The Salon, “We are most excited to present new works by Vincent Dubourg,” a young French artist who distorts nostalgic forms with a fresh approach to materials and technique. Along with Dubourg’s aluminum torch-welded Collection Gaia Imprint armchair and low table, they will also exhibit works by Owens, Studio Job, rAndom International, Charles Trevelyan, and Baas.
“It is always exciting to present new works we have chosen with the artist and to see how people will react to them,” they said. With a sensitive approach to the object and a focus on the tensions between design and function, Lombrail and Le Gaillard have built a platform dedicated to the consecration of design as an artistic medium.