Thirty years ago, before the "best of" lists and the seductive sorcery of Instagram, exceptional artisan design was nearly impossible to find. Your well-connected stylish friends didn't know about it. Furniture sets were purchased in department stores. Atelier was a dusty term from first-semester French. This is the world of Ralph Pucci transformed with his seminal gallery, unleashing an exquisite new culture of high design that bypassed the gimmicky theatrics of an easy get.
In 1998, he began with the work of Andrée Putman, a collaborator and friend. and 15,000 square feet in SoHo, calling on friends and friends of friends. "i'm not a furniture designer, so i had to put together the puzzle, the soundtrack to what we were trying to achieve," says Pucci.
"I had beautiful pieces of Andrée and [Chris] Lehrecke. Then I reached out to Patrick Naggar, and little by little the soundtrack developed." Subverting even seen-it-all types, Pucci was fuelled by instinct, discovering, championing, and exclusively assembling a group of now-significant designers - Hervé Van Der Straeten, India Mahdavi, Eric Schmidt, and Jim Zivic - that doubled down on quality and timelessness. "The aesthetic is always the same for me," he says. "It really has to speak to me. It has to be the hand of the artist."
All three of his galleries - in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami - reverberate with mood and cultural ascendancy. Recently, he staged an important showing of the late (and often overlooked) French designer Pierre Paulin's work in L.A. - a respite from the city's midcentury-modern hangover. Looking back or forward, aesthetic salvation in Pucci's realm also come with optimism. "I think we're in an era when design is meaningful," he says - A.N.
To watch the the full video interview on our site, Click here.