The French word for furniture—mobilier—comes from the Latin term for “that which moves.” Pierre Yovanovitch is certainly making moves. On December 1, the celebrated (and oft-imitated) interior designer opens his first-ever U.S. showroom for his furniture brand, Pierre Yovanovitch Mobilier, in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. But of course—having sprung from the mind of an ELLE DECOR A-List Titan—this is no ordinary gallery.
Spread across 10,000 square feet in an 1897 building (once an office for Standard Oil), the historic sixth-floor space features an airy, open floor plan, soaring joist ceilings, and an original fireplace—not to mention an internal, glazed courtyard that leads to a rooftop terrace and Larry Gagosian as downstairs neighbor.
“It was the vibe,” Yovanovitch, standing near the sun-drenched atrium, insists. “We knew right away [that this was the right place].” In fact, the designer and his team spent the greater part of two years finding a space that—to borrow from the name of his fan-favorite Papa Bear chair—was just right.
Some 80 works of Pierre Yovanovitch Mobilier furniture are spread across the sprawling floor, but all are grouped as if you were meandering through the rooms of an exceptionally stylish home. Immediately, visitors encounter an inviting, C-shaped sofa, ensconcing the plaster-clad fireplace. Elsewhere, you discover an intimate, turquoise-doused library. Further in still, you find yourself in an airy bedroom, complete with a bed dressed with an embroidered coverlet, a desk, and a loving portrait of Yovanovitch’s mother.
The idea was to create an atmosphere in which customers—70 percent of whom are now in the U.S.—could envision the work in their own homes. “Pierre designed this space as he would his own apartment, with his own vision and taste,” says company CEO Cédric Morisset. The office’s 10 New York City–based employees, meanwhile, work from two studio spaces at the back of the loft.
In addition to the furniture, each “room” features artworks, handpicked by Yovanovitch with art adviser Marie-Sophie Eiché-Demester. “I knew Pierre first as a collector,” she says. “After I learned about the space, I made some proposals to Pierre concurrent with what he likes.”
Many of the works on loan for the space have the same formal rigor-with-a-wink as his furnishings, like a watercolor crocodile by artist Camille Henrot in a group conference room, a painting of two lovers beneath a crashing wave by Italian painter Francesco Clemente, or an abstract work by Günther Förg that echoes the scale of the loft’s mullions. “We’re very happy to be in Chelsea. Pierre’s connection with art is so strong so it makes sense for us to be near the other galleries,” adds Morisset.
The New York City gallery joins a similar atelier-furniture showroom in Paris, which opened last month in Le Marais. In contrast to the cozy Manhattan showroom, that space, notes Yovanovitch, is much more pared back, like a typical “white cube” style art gallery. “I put New York in Paris and Paris in New York,” he says.
The only design question that remains: where to put the 650 guests who RSVP’d for the gallery’s opening night fete?
Deputy Digital Editor
Anna Fixsen, Deputy Digital Editor at ELLE DECOR, focuses on how to share the best of the design world through in-depth reportage and online storytelling. Prior to joining the staff, she has held positions at Architectural Digest, Metropolis, and Architectural Record magazines. elledecor.com