NEW YORK — Ralph Pucci International has headed West, opening a 9,000-square-foot showroom in the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles.
The showroom, on the second level of the center, is intended to replicate the essence of Pucci’s eclectic presentation of furniture, photography, sculpture, illustrations and mannequins at his Penthouse and Gallery Nine showrooms here at 44 West 18th Street. The showrooms, a total of 23,000 square feet, have evolved into cultural melting pots.
With each new exhibit in New York [every eight to 10 weeks], Pucci organizes a launch party for an artsy crowd that includes clients, celebrities and retailers, reflecting how he taps different corners of the creative world to nurture his business.
“Our mix is a unique experience,” Pucci said in an interview. “It’s a blend of nature-inspired work, modern classics, contemporary, midcentury and minimalist works.”
Pieces from the New York shows will be transplanted to Los Angeles about three months later, though there won’t be quite as much display turnover on the West Coast, where Pucci envisions three exhibits during the year.
The Los Angeles showroom, at 8687 Melrose Avenue, Suite B203, opened this month. It is sparingly designed, with white walls and floors, surface-mounted lighting and Fifties jazz in the background. The space’s huge grid of windows beckons those riding the atrium’s escalators to drop by, or at least peer into the showroom, as they ascend to other levels of the center. The design of the showroom was inspired by the Dia:Beacon and Noguchi museums, and Pucci’s two-year-old Gallery 9.
“We’ve tried to create a very cool, relaxed environment,” he said. “We didn’t want it to be an architectural statement.”
The West Coast showroom features Pucci’s re-created classic furniture designs of Jens Risom; Vladimir Kagan’s “Skulptur” walnut and biomorphic shapes; handcrafted furniture by Chris Lehrecke; Andree Putnam’s 6 Easy Pieces collection; sculptures by Jerome Abel Sequin; horses, male nudes and flower photographs by Christopher Makos, with words evoking pop culture and politics, and photography by Paul Solberg, who, as Pucci said, “turns petals into organic sculptures and blooms into modern architecture.”
There are also minimal furniture pieces by Robert Bristow; others by Kevin Walz, who works in carbon fiber and walnut finishes, and David Weeks lighting, including a large Calder-esque fixture anchoring the floor.
Pucci plans to stage mannequin shows during Los Angeles’ fashion weeks and will be working with designers such as Anna Sui and Ruben Toledo, as well as the Otis College of Art & Design. Pucci’s signature is to get well-known designers or illustrators, including Kenny Scharf, to collaborate on creating mannequins, while Pucci manufactures them. His upscale roster of retail clients includes Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Holt Renfrew, Scoop and Federated Department Stores. Also planned for the new showroom is a tribute to Noguchi by Hawaiian artists who work in stone, wood and photography.
“We will be reaching out to the local fashion and design communities, like we do” in New York, Pucci said.