FORM on Design: Architects and Their Furniture

Architect David Mann created a dining table for a new, limited-edition series of furnishings from Maison Gerard. Image courtesy Maison Gerard. For serious collectors French Art Déco design, Maison Gerard has been the place to go. Standouts by Leleu, Adnet, Frank, Ruhlman and others turn a visit to the showroom into a master class on 20th-century design. More recently, Benoist F. Drut has expanded his focus to include the work of talented 21st-century designers, among them Hervé van der Straeten, Jean Girel, Carol Egan, Miguel Cisterna and Thomas Boog, making it an essential stop for the collector of contemporary design.

Now Drut is taking things a step further, a bevy of creative talents to design very limited editions specifically for the gallery, some of which debuted at the Collective.2 Design Fair in New York last week. The work of architects William T. Georgis and David Mann, along with interior architect Christofle design director Stephane Parmentier and residential architect, interior and yacht designer Achille Salvagni appeared, bringing a new dimension to Maison Gerard’s offerings.

Drut began assembling the designers, some of whom are clients as well, collaborating with them to come up with an assortment of complimentary pieces. With Georgis, the project began some years ago. “I told him it would be an honor at some point to show his work,” says Drut. “I was really madly in love with a sofa he had designed. I wasn’t sure if we should concentrate it, maybe we could think of something slightly smaller. It put the fire under both of us.” The result is an expansive sofa and a club chair.

Mann’s contribution was two-fold. He designed the space at the fair and created three pieces for it too. There’re oxidized steel bookcases and a distressed iron coffee and dining table. For the dining table, he drew on a table he devised for himself. “It seats eight in a large square, and I’ve concluded it’s one of the more perfect proportions for people who want to entertain,” he explains. “It’s large enough for company but not so large that it excludes people from participating in a conversation. I synthesized it into a more minimalist pure form.”

With the success of these collaborations, look for more in the future.

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