If you are fortunate enough to be in Paris this month (or can be tempted to make the trip), make a ligne droite for the magnificent reception rooms at Christofle’s flagship store in the ambassadorial eighth arrondissement. From now until Saturday November 21, you will find the travelling gallery of Gabriel & Guillaume – its European debut, following two successful editions in Beirut.
This super-chic fine art and design pop-uphad its roots in Paris in 2013, after co-founder Guillaume Excoffier opened the doors of his very personal St-Germain home store, Guillaume, a testament to his passion for American art deco and other vintage pieces. One early visitor was Nancy Gabriel (third picture, with Excoffier), an advertising producer and devotee of design, art and ceramics. Together they expanded Excoffier’s concept to reflect Gabriel’s own taste and knowledge; from the first, they decided that a static shop did not best reflect the spirit of exploration they longed to convey. Beirut was the chosen destination for the first two pop-ups because, as Excoffier explains: “It is simply one of the most sophisticated cities in the world, with collectors who are always looking for the best new things from around the world.”
The pair travel extensively, searching for the best design objects they can source from Europe and the US. Exceptional 20th-century pieces include work by Gabriella Crespi, Giò Ponti, Carlo Bugatti, Garouste and Bonetti, Robsjohn-Gibbings and Ettore Sottsass, well complemented by examples from important contemporary designers such as Jean-Louis Deniot and Stephane Parmentier. For the Parisian edition they have also collaborated with Galerie Mitterrand, bringing legendary art and design names – including Claude Lalanne, Donald Judd and Sol LeWitt – to the stellar line-up.
Exhibition highlights include a Crespi Cubo Mágico table (€55,000, first picture) in polished brass from around 1970; an André Arbus screen (€35,000, first picture) in lacquered wood from 1939; a c1987 Martin Szekely Neotu edition Stoleru sofa (€14,000, first picture) and armchair (€10,000); and a Bugatti fireplace with a mirror (€65,000, second picture) from around 1900. I particularly love the carpet of Leda and the Swan by Marguerite Rivet (2015, price on request), which is custom made to order.
The 17th-century Christofle maisonis itself a white-and-gold homage to French luxury and excellence – a magnificent setting for Excoffier and Gabriel’s curation. “An eclectic mix is what is interesting to us: curating objects from different periods and mixing them in a smart way,” describes Gabriel. “This is what gives your home personality and a strong identity.”