The 22nd edition of the Paris Art and Design fair, which showcases the 20th- and 21st-century luxury art-and-design wares of both French and international art dealers, takes place at a pop-up venue in the Tuileries Gardens, April 4-8. Since its foundation in 1997 by Patrick Perrin (a Parisian art dealer with a long familial history in the trade), the fair has been bringing together design aficionados and decorative art collectors. This year’s edition will shine a special spotlight on primitive art.
Among the list of PAD participants is Carpenters Workshop Gallery, founded by Julien Lombrail and Loic Le Gaillard, who champion “functional sculptures” and limited-edition works. Their roster of artists and designers includes Atelier van Lieshout, Maarten Baas, Rick Owens, Studio Drift, Humberto and Fernando Campana, Mathieu Lehanneur, Vincenzo De Cotiis, and Ingrid Donat (the latter just happens to be Lombrail’s mother). The duo launched their first space, tellingly housed in a former carpenter’s workshop, in London’s Chelsea neighborhood in 2006. The team opened a space in Paris in 2011, and more recently invested in an 8,000-square-meter atelier in a former foundry in Roissy (northeast of Paris, near the airport), acting as a research and development hub for artists, with an available stable of artisans.
BLOUIN ARTINFO interviewed Carpenters Workshop Gallery co-founder Julien Lombrail, who spoke about his favorite locales throughout Paris, his love of the Marais and his skepticism of Montmartre.
How long have you been a Parisien?
I was raised in a suburb of Paris… I lived in London for five years, and I have now lived in Paris for seven years. I am a solid Parisian.
What are your “can’t leave without seeing this” recommendations for Paris?
Atelier Brancusi, the docks along the Seine facing the Notre Dame cathedral, and the Italian painting section of the Musée du Louvre.
What is the most overrated thing people advise visitors to see here?
Montmartre and its supposedly Parisian soul. Looks more like Disneyland to me nowadays.
What restaurants and/or cafés would you recommend, and what makes them unique?
Table, from chef Bruno Verjus. Bruno is a true artist. When he speaks about a truffle, scallops, even salt or pepper, you can see sparkles in his eyes.
Le Derrière, an institution — and my living room, basically. Very special because it is family-driven; the best ambiance in Paris.
I love the Marché des Enfants Rouges, where you can have the best crêpe ever at Chez Alain Miam Miam. It’s an institution in the neighborhood.
What would you do if you had a free morning or afternoon in Paris?
I’d have breakfast at the Café de Flore (still the best place where you can sit between Karl Lagerfeld and Japanese tourists). I’d go to a museum, like to see primitive art at Quai Branly. I’d go with my kids to the Académie de Magie, and then choose an art book at Ofr. bookstore. All this would be on foot, while looking at buildings, monuments, and hidden sculptures.
Where would you head for the best shopping, and what would you buy?
Rives for tailor-made clothes. The Rick Owens store — still trying to find something that I could actually wear — to buy their art de table pieces, which are like sculptures themselves.
Where would you recommend people stay when they visit? i.e. favorite neighborhood, and/or favorite specific hotel?
As a neighborhood, I really love Le Marais where I live, work, eat, and shop. Otherwise, Hôtel de Crillon, overseen by artistic director Aline D’Amman.
What are the best venues for seeing art in Paris?
Museums, museums, and museums. Musée du Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Jeu de Paume, Centre Pompidou, Quai Branly. The Fondation Louis Vuitton has some outstanding exhibitions.
What are the best places to buy art?
Gagosian, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Galerie Perrotin and Carpenters Workshop Gallery.
What are the ideal places to see live music?
Le Piaf, without a doubt. It’s the place to be in Paris. I love to eat there, in this early 20th-century brothel decor; it makes me feel like Toulouse Lautrec. There is an amazing piano player who makes everyone sing and dance at some point. Definitely a place to go for serious fun.
What are your favorite bars to relax in after spending the day at the art fair?
I love Le Progrès on rue de Bretagne. Very bobo; so Parisian.
What are you looking forward to about PAD?
To meet the best French interior designers.
What projects are you currently working on?
A secret place for collectors in New York.