Olivier Garcé transforms his West Village apartment into a design gallery

Olivier Garcé apartment

The dampening of creativity brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has prompted interior designer Olivier Garcé to transform his New York home into a show space for contemporary art and design.

The apartment, located on the third floor of a pre-war brownstone in the West Village, has been completely reimagined with works by Garcé‘s friends and colleagues, which include collectible furniture, experimental ceramics, decorative lighting and original artworks.

Olivier Garcé apartment
Ian Felton’s lava stone coffee table and alpaca-upholstered Kosa Side Chair feature alongside a vintage Axel Einar Hjorth rocking chair and Minjae Kim’s Oyster Lamp

The idea was born out of a discussion between Garcé, who until recently was director of Pierre Yovanovitch‘s New York studio, and friend Ian Felton, a collectible furniture designer.

The pair wanted to find opportunities for inspiration and collaboration at a time when they would be largely confined to their homes. Knowing that others were feeling the same way, they came up with a brief that they could invite other creatives to participate in.

Olivier Garcé apartment
Green River Project’s raffia-topped Half Moon stool sits alongside artworks by Ronan Bouroullec and Jean-Philippe Delhomme

“Everything was closed, but I was having a lot of conversations with designers and they were all looking to do something,” Garcé told Dezeen. “So we decided to bring all of these people together.”

Their collaborators in the project included furniture design studio Green River Project, designer Minjae Kim, gallery R and Company, artist Wayne Payte, illustrator Jean-Philippe Delhomme, upholsterer Atelier Jouffre, artist and designer Gabriella Picone and antique textile dealer Sharktooth.

Olivier Garcé apartment
Olivier Garcé’s collection of vintage furniture and artworks include a hand-carved wooden mask from a Portugal and a painting by Imi Knoebel

Some of the pieces they are presenting were designed specifically for this project.

“It was very interesting to push these guys to create new pieces,” said Garcé. “The New York spirit is so good; every time we proposed this idea, people were so happy to be involved.”

Ian Felton stool
Felton also designed the Machu Side Table, combining a hand-carved wooden surface with a glazed lava stone base

Felton, who spent most of the lock-down period on a farm in upstate New York, created three new pieces especially for this project. The most striking of these is a coffee table with three carved wood legs and a pink-glazed lava stone surface.

Positioned in front of the fireplace, it sits alongside the carved stone form of Felton’s Kosa side chair and a vintage Axel Einar Hjorth rocking chair.

Minjae Kim Lola Chair
Minjae Kim’s two-eared Lola Chair is displayed beside a standing lamp by Mitchell Bobrick and vintage phulkari rug

Kim, who works in the studio of interior designer Giancarlo Valle, contributed a range of designs, including the sculptural Oyster Lamp displayed on the mantle, the two-eared Lola Chair and a floor lamp with an unusual lacquer shade.

A folding screen of green-painted bamboo was created by Green River Project, along with one of the studio’s popular raffia-topped Half Moon stools.

Green River Project bamboo screen
A bamboo screen by Green River Project accompanies a Claire Tabouret artwork, a silk scarf by Gabriella Picone and Minjae Kim’s lacquer floor lamp

Garcé also added his collection of vintage furniture and artworks to display, which include a hand-carved wooden mask sourced from a Portuguese village, paintings by Imi Knoebel and Claire Tabouret, and Swedish Grace tableware.

The designer said that living in this space was “like being in a dream”.

Garcé and his partner, architect Clio Dimofski, opened the space up to visitors on a by-appointment basis. However things have had to change over time – not have some of the pieces been sold, but Garcé and Dimofski have just had a baby.

Ian Felton stool
Cushions by Pierre Yovanovitch and Atelier Jouffre are displayed in Olivier Garcé’s bedroom

However, the concept will continue in the future. Garcé has now bought an apartment in Lisbon, which he also plans to turn into a gallery.

“The interior will be a mix of classical, vintage and contemporary,” he said. “The idea is to bring Portuguese crafts – ceramics, wood, fabrics – and bring those together with these creative people from New York.”

“The model works well,” he added. “The goal isn’t to make money, but just to make something really creative at this moment.”

Photography is by Sean Davidson.

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