Despite their French roots, Julien Lombrail and Loïc Le Gaillard began their entrepreneurial path in London with the 2006 opening of Carpenters Workshop Gallery. Since then, the Chelsea exhibition space has become a design and art world resource, researching, producing, and showcasing functional sculptures by both new and established talents. Outposts in Mayfair—also in the British capital—and then Paris followed, expanding the institution’s outreach.
A more recent turning point was the duo’s U.S. debut. In 2015, Lombrail and Le Gaillard—friends since childhood—cut the ribbon on their first stateside location, on New York’s Fifth Avenue. And now the adventure continues on the left coast with Carpenters Workshop Gallery San Francisco. “After opening the Manhattan space, we quickly began to grow our client base across the country, and have been frequenting the West Coast,” Le Gaillard says. “We were immediately struck by San Francisco’s rich cultural scene and vibrant design landscape. We also feel that the taste of the city’s new generation is evolving quickly toward a more contemporary approach, where craft and technology exist side by side—which is exactly what we do.”
The gallery is located in Saint Joseph’s Arts Society, a former church dating to 1913. Design and events impresario Ken Fulk owns the property; he also led its three-year renovation and transformation into a cultural hub. “We were seduced not only by the building’s splendor and potential, but also by Ken’s singular vision,” Le Gaillard explains. The gallery occupies the mezzanine of the Romanesque-revival structure, whose unconventional architecture offered many design possibilities.
The gallery program will include two exhibitions annually, in addition to a rotating display of artworks. On view through December 22, the inaugural show features pieces by some of the gallery’s most iconic artists, including an immersive forest of Nacho Carbonell light sculptures, the interactive Self Portrait Clock by Maarten Baas (part of the designer’s Real Time series), a Fragile Future chandelier by Studio Drift, and a sculptural bronze chair by Wendell Castle. Atelier Van Lieshout, Sebastian Brajkovic, Andrea Branzi, Humberto and Fernando Campana, Ingrid Donat, Giacomo Ravagli, Charles Trevelyan are some of the other creative minds the gallery represents.
From January 18 through June, the nearly 9,000-square-foot space will be devoted to Vincenzo de Cotiis’s solo show. His furniture-sculptures—handmade of semi-precious stones, Murano glass, recycled resin, and cast brass by Italian artisans—are an ode to both the history of painting and the majesty of the natural world.
On the ground floor, boutiques that include the sole U.S. outpost of French apothecary brand Buly 1803, an Assouline book corner, and Fulk’s own Flower Factory complement the curated offering for design and art lovers. “The interaction with the Saint Joseph’s Art Society should create an interesting cross-pollination between the city’s creative community,” Le Gaillard concludes.