Wallpaper* City Guide: 
Los Angeles 2013


"Artsy Angelenos were curious when influential New York gallery Matthew Marks opened in 2012 on a residential street in West Hollywood, far from the Culver City art crowds. This magnificently reductive 280 sq m space was designed by SoCal native Peter Zellner and his award winning firm Zellnerplus. With a gentle nod to Ed Ruscha’s photographic tome, Every Building on the Sunset Strip, Zellner stuccoed the exterior of the windowless gallery, which is adorned with a 12m-long horizontal Ellsworth Kelly sculpture (above)." - David John

Last year I was asked by Wallpaper* City Guide to co-author the Los Angeles 2013 Edition.  Early Spring, I visited locations throughout Los Angeles, searching for design, innovation, and destinations for the traveler and locals.  The 2013 edition was recently released and is finally out in bookstores now.  It's some of my first writing to be released in print, and I'm thrilled!

Read my selections for Los Angeles, including Matthew Marks Gallery, Superba Snack Bar, Hotel Bel-Air, Mr. C Hotel in Beverly Hills, and A-Frame to name a few!   I am currently working on the 2014 edition, dashing through the city late at night and early morning. Catch me if you can! - David John

Check out the Wallpaper* City Guide here. 

A conversation with Meaghan Roddy on Jean Royère

 "A lot of his lighting designs take on plant-like or animal-like characteristics. His lights have names like ‘Bouquet’ or ‘Serpentin’ and in a way it’s almost calling back to Art Nouveau, but he’s so modern that it seems wrong to make that connection." - Meaghan Roddy of Phillips 

Recently I've found myself returning to a Royère rabbit hole of sorts.  Perhaps because he worked as an interior designer, his work appears so tailored to a sense of place or emotion, and less about the physical design of a product & limitations of material.  His sculptural forms at times feel exaggerated and playful, as if they belong on the set of Pee Wee's Playhouse, the highest compliment indeed. Their elegant and lavish lines continue to speak of modernity and elegance, feeling effortless sixty years later.  Galerie Jacques Lacoste and Galerie Patrick Seguin recently released the two-volume boxed monograph "Jean Royère" which is set to be released March 31 in the U.S.  Thank you to Meaghan Roddy of Phillips for the images, and for this conversation on truly one of the great masters of design. - David John

Meaghan Roddy is Head of Sale for the New York Design Department at Phillips. She has worked previously at David Rago Auctions in Lambertville, New Jersey and has been consulted for print and television features on 20th century design including Architectural Digest, Art + Auction, The Art Newspaper, and Wall Street Journal Weekend, as well as the publication Temperature 2012 produced by the Museum of Arts and Design in New York and Volume Gallery in Chicago regarding the current state of American design. Meaghan received a BA in Art History from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

 Rare chair, for a private commission, Paris, ca. 1955 

 "This chair was sold in our June 2012 auction in New York. It’s a rare chair which had been for private commission in Paris and it came with great provenance. I think most of Royère’s furniture shows a lot of playfulness but this chair in its shape and color exemplifies this. "

A conversation with Meaghan Roddy on Jean Royère

Has the Royère market gained momentum over the past decade?   

Meaghan Roddy: The more private commissions that surface, the more interesting the works are that enter the market, which can generate excitement and interest. He’s certainly a designer we’ve seen strong results for over the past several auction seasons.

 How important is original upholstery to a sale of Royère's works? 

Meaghan Roddy: What’s more important to our clients is that the furniture is usable. If the sofa or chairs have ripped or stained upholstery or hardened foam underneath, it’s not appealing to them. In the case of the ‘Ambassador’ sofa and chairs we sold last fall in London, they were re-upholstered in his famous ‘Royère green’ color and in keeping with the original materials that would’ve been used. We are committed to presenting his pieces in as historically accurate a manner as possible to honor what the designer would have intended.

Are there specific colors that Royère worked with for his works?

What we can tell from his drawings and photos of interiors is that he was not afraid to use color, or patterns or mix textures. There is a lot of red, green, muted blue, yellow throughout all of his work.

I've read that many of Royère's pieces were made for private clients. Is this true?  Were his works sold through a gallery or dealer at that time, or made specifically for clients?

In the earlier part of his career, he produced work through the firm Gouffé in Paris, though in 1943 he opened his own design firm. He designed quite a lot for private commissions, mostly in France and the Middle East. He was an interior designer, not just a furniture designer, so he designed full interiors down to the andirons. The furniture was often just part of his overall vision for a space.

How many works is estimated that he created?

As with a lot of 20th century designers, there is no clear record how many interiors he designed or how many of a specific design he created for each, so we don’t have exact numbers. 

Has there ever been a museum show of Royère's work that you are aware of?

The Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris had a show of Jean Royère’s work October 8, 1999 – January 30, 2000 and published an accompanying book Jean Royère, décorateur à Paris. More recently there have been shows organized by various design galleries to showcase his work.

Upcoming design auctions at Phillips, and any notable selections from them that you are personally excited about?

We have a great group of Jean Royère pieces coming up in our April 25th Design auction in London as well as our June 11th Design auction in New York, including an ‘Oeuf’ chair and stool, a unique ‘Ruban’ sofa, a ‘Croisillon’ sofa, a fantastic ‘Bouquet’ ceiling light, among others.

3 designers that personally capture your heart and mind? 

Not including Royère? Olga de Amaral, Josef Hoffmann, and Superstudio (for now – this is always changing!).

Pair of rare ‘Ambassador’ chairs, circa 1955, estimate £40,000 - 60,000. sold for £133,250 

"The green sofa and chairs were sold in our September 2012 auction in London. These were great because they were a set coming together from a private commission in Algeria and the consignor had taken some pains to have them reupholstered in this ‘Royère green’ fabric which is what they would’ve looked liked originally.  "

Sphere’ coffee table, circa 1939 Gilt wrought iron, lacquered slate.
estimate £120,000 - 180,000 sold for £217,250

"The ‘Sphere’ table was in our April 2012 auction in London, it was our cover lot and was a very strong result. This is a well-documented design by Royère that is still playful - even with wrought iron and slate it looks light. Instead of table legs he used spheres – still structurally stable but sort of defying logic. What a way to keep furniture from being boring."

Serpentin' wall light, circa 1940

"We had this in our April 2012 London sale as well. A lot of his lighting designs take on plant-like or animal-like characteristics. His lights have names like ‘Bouquet’ or ‘Serpentin’ and in a way it’s almost calling back to Art Nouveau but he’s so modern that it seems wrong to make that connection. 

His lighting has a real sense of humor about it."



Crossing Mediums:  
A Conversation with Christopher Farr & David Weeks
moderated by Michael Boyd

"Inspired by artists like Diebenkorn and Giacometti, 
the Onda rug designed by David Weeks is designed to defy flat space and shape a room." 

Friday: March 22, 2013  at 11 A.M.
Christopher Farr: 748 North La Cienega Blvd Los Angeles, California 90069
please RSVP to info@christopherfarr.com

This upcoming Friday at Christopher Farr's showroom in the heart of the design district, Christopher Farr & David Weeks will be having a conversation about their studio practices & discussing their distinct work that crosses and blurs the boundaries of contemporary art and design.  This is the perfect chance to see in person the newly launched David Weeks collection on the West Coast. Christopher Farr is widely known for collaborating with iconic artists and designers, Gunta Stolzl, Kate Blee, Gary Hume, Sarah Morris, Georgina Von Etzdorf, Andrée Putman, John Pawson and Claudio Silvestrin to name a few.  This recent collaboration is a continuation of his desire to collaborate with designers, exploring forms and colors that challenge notion of contemporary rug design.  - David John 

above image Onda - Grey by David Weeks  
"Inspired by artists like Diebenkorn and Giacometti, the Onda rug is designed to defy flat space and shape a room. Using Weeks’ subtle mastery of curves, the rug is richly layered to evoke depth.

 "The success of making historic designs is dependent on our understanding of the essence of the art you're working with. The process is basically a series of questions and sampling till it feels close to the spirit of the artist. I try to imagine myself in dialogue with the artist. 

It's a slow and painstaking business but deeply satisfying."  - Christopher Farr  

(Read a past conversation here.)



Jean Perzel, 1892-1986
a floor lamp and perspex sconces 

Tajan Auction House
20th Century Decorative Arts - Design 
Mar 18 2013 6:00 PM

"Your mind is racing like a pro now 
Oh my god, it doesn't mean a lot to you 
One time you were a glowing young ruffian 
Oh my god, it was a million years ago" (national)


Michael Anastassiades "My Own Personal Waterloo"
via World of Interiors, 2013 March 

"Most of my products have been inspired by the house, 
I have designed things for myself as I have needed them."

buy the magazine, beautiful images and text.

March 8 2008. (5 years have passed)
Jean Royere at Sonnabend NY

I wanna make this plain 
Oh, I know your faded 
Mm, but stay, don't close your eyes (RHYE "open")

©Galerie Jacques Lacoste et Galerie Patrick Seguin

5 years ago to this day, Sonnabend Gallery NY opened a retropsective of Jean Royere, curated by Galerie Patrick Seguin and the Galerie Jacques Lacoste. Royere's works continue to look fearless, luxurious, and at their core, a pursuit of living sculptural forms.  Oversized and roll-over armchairs combined with majestic lighting for the floor, wall, and ceiling continue to speak of modernity..  Royere has recently been referred to as the "smart collector's collectible." - David John 

"On Saturday March 8, 2008 Sonnabend Gallery will open a retrospective exhibition of the oeuvre of Jean Royère (1902-1981), curated by the Galerie Patrick Seguin and the Galerie Jacques Lacoste.  Jean Royère's career began in 1933 when he became one of the regular participants of the large Parisian design shows of the time, such as the Salon d'Automne (Autumn Salon) or the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs (Artistic Decorators' Salon). His innovative style distanced him from the conventionalism of his colleagues and their "dictums."

Royère expressed a masterful command of the interior spaces he designed, as if he had an innate sense of decoration, where comfort does not alienate a richness of material and where a fanciful wistfulness is expressed through innovative shapes and vivid colors. Even before World War II, Royère appropriated the sinuous forms that prefigure the "free-form shapes" characteristic of the 1950's.   The originality of his style, his inherent refinement, and the poetry of his touch consecrate Jean Royère among the pantheon of great decorators of the 20th Century."

©Galerie Jacques Lacoste et Galerie Patrick Seguin

 Howe, Los Angeles

"The black painted and patinated tubular steel frame with 4 bulb holders, 
following the original 1934 design by Jean Royere, Paris" - can be made to measure

Recently the world is ripe to the scent of Royere. Jean Royere.
His lines have returned, his emotional curves are taking quick flight through our dirty cities.
Young and old designers: seeking his linear colorful lamp shade designs & his elegant gestures.
Are you coming along for the ride? Dance (Catch us) if you can. - David John

“I studied as a sculptor therefore form and texture are primary. Design must be pure and have great qualities which achieve timelessness. I want my furniture to survive and be appreciated for a long time, like the antiques I also sell. I love research and academic discoveries which tell you more about a piece, but the mood created by the design, scale, colour or condition is what really inspires me.”- Christopher Howe 2004 

Christopher Howe offers an unusually varied stock - since the age of twenty Christopher has acquired an extraordinary range of rare furniture and objects dating from the 17th through to the 20th centuries. Most of this stock is now available to view online or can be seen in his large shop located on the prestigious Pimlico Road in London." text taken from howe.

and now Howe Los Angeles... 
sharing space with Woven Accents: 8674 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles

Henrybuilt: "The new range includes shaped fronts, reclaimed Douglas Fir, textured backsplash panels, and an expanded range of leather pulls (now made in house). As with Henrybuilt's existing product offering, everything is made-to-order to the exact specifications of the client."

"Handcrafted leather pulls."

Last year, I interviewed Scott Hudson, founder and CEO of Henrybuilt, a company based in Seattle creating exquisite cabinetry and furniture.  He spoke of material selection, and explained to me that "most people’s tendency is to isolate materials, though, really they are only good or bad based on what they are combined with and what they are doing. All good designers and builders know this." Henrybuilt continues to seek clarity in their designs with a new collection of materials that includes "more traditional and rustic options designed to work with a wide variety of architectural styles - think craftsman, townhouses, bungalows etc."  Hopefully I'll be visiting Seattle soon, and I'll be stopping into Henrybuilt, and seeing the production firsthand.  Thanks Scott and Lisa.  - David John  

Henrybuilt was founded in 2001 to create the first American kitchen ‘system’. Our primary goal is to produce the best kitchen and whole house furniture and storage systems in the world, based on an ideal combination of system development, customization, craft quality and design service.     The company operates showrooms in Seattle and New York, an office in Los Angeles, as well as a 40,000 square foot engineering and manufacturing facility in Seattle." 

 "Reclaimed douglas fir fronts wrapped in Paperstone."

"My mother collected Shaker furniture. And my whole family’s farm-based aesthetic was based on function. That’s not to say my grandfather’s work was ‘beautiful’ in a traditional design sense. It was pretty plain. He had a little different orientation to what he was doing than I do. He never would have fussed so much over the ‘beauty’ part.   For me, when a thing is distilled in its form, it takes on a dignity that can be out of proportion – in a good and surprising way – with what you would expect a physical object to be able to represent. That is why I am doing this. Because when you achieve that you’ve really done something for someone.   But it’s a process. You just have to keep working on it. It took me 20 years of building and designing things before I felt like I could make anything really worth building a business around.  So I am slow. "

"Textured solid surface patterns in Paperstone (black) and solid surface (white)."

 "An accessory set for a ‘quickdraw’ cooking tool drawer.  It’s part of a modular drawer organization system that allows the cook to optimize every aspect of storage in the kitchen."

"A shaped front with a reclaimed douglas fir wrap. White 1/2” solid surface counter top. 
A textured paperstone panel with a linear pattern."

"Solid tongue and groove fronts in Walnut. 
Textured Paperstone backsplash panel in a linear pattern."

"Material selection is very important. Every material has a character. Some better than others for certain things. Most people’s tendency is to isolate materials, though. Really they are only good or bad based on what they are combined with and what they are doing. All good designers and builders know this. But getting this across to others – others who are your clients – can be very challenging. Its not easy to project what a combination of materials will feel like, and its very easy to be seduced by a small piece of stone or wood that in large doses will be all wrong." - Scott Hudson