L.A. Interior Designers Celebrate New Christofle Silver Pop-Up

Christofle - H - 2013

"Million Dollar Decorator" Mary McDonald and several designers come out to the studio space for a collaboration between the iconic French silver brand and antique dealer JF Chen.

The night of June 13 proved to be a perfect blend of classic and modern as Los Angeles’s elite design community celebrated the collaboration between world-renowned French silver company Christofle, founded in 1830, and famed furniture dealer JF Chen, in their intimate creation, pop-up shop Studio Christofle, tucked away on Melrose Place.

The event drew a beautiful and diverse crowd including Joel and Margaret Chen and their daughters Bianca and Fiona; Christofle’s newly appointed creative director Stephane Parmentier; Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorator Mary McDonald; The Hollywood Reporters Most Influential Interior Designers in L.A. Cliff Fong, Peter Dunham, Jamie Bush, Jane Hallworth and Commune’s Roman Alonso, Steven Johanknecht and Ramin Shamshiri; and antique dealer and Antiques Roadshow appraiser Anthony Slayter-Ralph.

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All of the guests mingled in a space glowing with silver offerings -- from tableware to jewelry -- set among one-of-a-kind furniture pieces handpicked by Joel Chen and Parmentier, and complemented by a vivid display of books from Arcana: Books on the Arts.

“This collaboration makes sense,” said Dunham, “because Chen is one of the world's most unusual furniture dealers.” Indeed, Chen has been a proponent and supporter of cutting-edge design for over three decades, owning three Los Angeles locations  -- C-Project, JF Chen Loft and JF Chen Vault -- and amassing one of the largest personal collection of Eames furniture. Those pieces were compiled into the 2011 book Collecting Eames: The JF Chen Collection. Added Dunham: “And Christofle is a French company that is searching and pushing strongly towards modern design while maintaining its classical elegant roots established in the early 19th century.”

In the studio, located at 8424 Melrose Place, the mix abounds. An armoire is brimming with Christofle products, a console with red-lacquered drawers holds curios and an Ora Ito table displays a range of Christofle flatware fanned out in a sun-like shape.

It is thanks to design consultant and journalist Mallery Roberts Morgan that the two came together and invited Arcana into the mix as well. “The new direction for the brand that Stephane is taking is really exciting,” said Morgan. “To have him come to Los Angeles and be able to introduce him to entities as important as Joel Chen and Arcana books is very special, not to mention introduce him to a design community that will understand and embrace the company’s new concept.”

Joel Chen seemed thrilled. “I’m very grateful for the collaboration. Taking something very old and traditional and doing it new,” he said, which is exactly Parmentier’s vision, aiming to have the new face of Christofle show that a very traditional silver piece can be as modern as something that was launched yesterday. He wants people to look at the brand and the products with a new angle and it seems to already be working. Chen’s daughter, Bianca, always thought of Christofle as a very formal, silver company, but when paired with her dad’s product she found it made a statement that is complementary to both.

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Then Dunham took it one step further: “Maybe Chen should make a collection for Christofle. That is something I would love to see -- a collaboration between L.A.’s King of Cool and Paris’s Queen of Silver.” The pop-up store is preparatory to a permanent flagship boutique that will open this fall in Beverly Hills. Christofle's history of working with great designers of each artistic era, from Gio Ponti to Andree Putman to Marcel Wanders, is continuing with a new steel furniture collection, "Arborescence," created by French designer Ora-Ito, which includes a limited edition dining table, end tables, a console and floor lamp.

Also spotted in the crowd were: MOCA’s director of communications Lyn Winter; LACMA’s director of communications Miranda Carroll; the Hammer’s director of exhibitions management and publications Brooke Hodge; KCRW host, journalist and art critic Hunter Drohojowska-Philp; interior designers Bret Witke, Dot Spikings, Robert Marinelli, Oliver Furth and his partner, interior design brand consultant Sean Yashar; art collector Kay Saatchi, Paris Photo’s Jean-Christophe Harel; Patrick Dragonette of Dragonette Limited; and Jorge Cruzata of Siglo Moderno Atelier.