Curated Living: The Galerie kreo Director Talks Furniture and Fashion
Much like her curatorial approach, Clara Krzentowski’s wardrobe is built on a foundation of utility, character and consideration. Here, we catch up with the design maven at Galerie kreo’s London space.
Wearing: The Mabel Vest in Silk Cashmere, The Chia Jean in Cotton. Ceramic Chains by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec,'Nada’ table by Konstantin Grcic , and 'Stain’ drawing by Pierre Charpin
Did you always want to go into design? Was there another career path that could've been?
Growing up I was always interested in different types of creative expression, and by proxy all creative realms — art, cinema, music, literature…
But design always had a particularly intimate appeal because, with my parents’ design collection and the gallery, I grew up with an understanding and appreciation of it that felt like second nature.
And with kreo being almost my age (we’re only four years apart!), I was a witness to all the steps it took across the years, all the shows, the designers… and our family’s growing collection as well.
If I had undertaken a different career path, it probably would’ve been in an adjacent creative field — perhaps contemporary art, which is another very strong passion of mine.
Wearing: The Milo Shirt in Organic Silk, The Chia Trouser in Corduroy. Pair of ‘869’ chairs by Ico & Luisa Parisi, All’aperto coffee table by Pierre Charpin, Wilton Carpet by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Satellite Mirror by Pierre Charpin, Pierre Paulin ‘Elysee' floor lamp in brown, Guillaume Bardet bronze stool
Gallery kreo started in Paris, why was London the next step?
When it was time for Galerie kreo to expand to a second location on the continent, it made sense to establish a presence in London — it’s such an exciting place creatively.
It’s also a place that congregates people from all corners of the world — including a lot of our own designers!
Like Marc Newson, Jasper Morrison, Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, who all live here.
Wearing: The Chia Trouser in Corduroy. Wilton Carpet by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec
Do you see parallels in the way you curate a show for the gallery and the way you curate your personal wardrobe?
Definitely! With clothes, I’m particularly drawn to how a garment is cut and fits the body. But also the story that it tells, where it comes from, how it highlights a colour or uses a certain pattern, according to the designer’s sensibilities.
It’s the same with design: the thought, research, care, and ingeniously chosen materials that constitute an object are what make you connect with it. And each piece is similarly the result of a designer’s artistic vision.
With both fashion and design, there’s also the value of use that’s central. You end up wearing a piece of clothing like you end up using a piece of furniture. So how it looks on you, or in your home, matters just as much as the creative aspect of how it was made. You can decide to go for a homogenous look, or a mismatched one… The curating process can be so much fun. Personally, in fashion and design alike, I love mixing old and new!
Makeup mirror by Jerszy Seymour
Tell me about the resin trainer...
It’s a makeup mirror that was designed by Jerszy Seymour in 2003! It’s one of the first design pieces using 3D printing. It’s also like a self-portrait: the top element is a rear-view mirror, the central drawer is a cast of Jerszy’s belly button, and the bottom bit is a sneaker he owns from Etnies. So it’s like his body in a compressed view — and a perfect example of his work, which often blends poetry, humour, and technical experimentation.
Wearing: The Mabel Vest in Silk Cashmere, The Chia Jean in Cotton. Mina necklace by Elizabeth Garouste
Tell me about the necklace…
The necklace was designed by the French designer Elizabeth Garouste, as part of a show called ‘autour du cou’, where the gallery asked designers, artists and friends to imagine a piece of jewellery to wear around the neck.
Garouste’s necklace is called ‘Mina’ — her granddaughter's nickname, but also a name of a character in Bram Stoker’s story who becomes seduced and bewitched by Dracula. Garouste wanted to make a beautiful, strong necklace that could protect Mina from her predator…
Wearing: The Milo Shirt in Organic Silk. All’aperto coffee table by Pierre Charpin
Galerie kreo features curated 20th Century pieces, is there an element of sustainability in that decision?
With the vintage pieces, the objects are inherently sustainable — they had previous lives and now get to have new ones! On the contemporary side, a lot of our designers care about sustainability and choose materials or fabrication methods accordingly. The ‘limited edition’ aspect of our contemporary production also goes in this direction: we don’t make more than a certain amount (usually 12 total) of a single piece.
What’s your favourite Issue Twelve piece?
Chia trousers in corduroy — so well cut, so soft, so chic!!! I also have an enormous soft spot for the Grandpa coat in white cashmere.
Wearing: The Milo Shirt in Organic Silk, The Chia Trouser in Corduroy. Two 'M.C' side tables by Pierre Charpin
What's your favourite restaurant in London?
Villa Mamas (Bahraini restaurant in Chelsea) or Oliveto (Italian in Belgravia).
What's your favourite restaurant in Paris?
I love Miznon! A casual Israeli place in the Marais.
A show you loved recently…
I can’t stop thinking about a Belkis Ayón show I saw in Madrid at the Reina Sofia in April… She was a Cuban artist who transformed her dark dreams into oneiric and delicate compositions — often with lots of different and layered media.
A film thats inspired you…
When I was younger I used to think about ‘The Diving Bell and The Butterfly’ all the time! It’s the inspiring true story of a fashion journalist who, after losing all bodily sentience, wrote a memoir of his life by essentially only blinking his left eyelid.
Your favourite meal?
Pasta with bottarga…. Hence Oliveto! But also partial to Shake Shack’s curly fries.
Galerie kreo's current exhibition 'chez soi' is on show until June 20th 2022, at 24 Cork Street, London
Photography by Charlotte Ellis