Google+

07 April 2010

the wonderland of JF Chen (and a designer rorschach test of sorts)

sometimes, when you describe something as amazing or spectacular to someone, it can often disappoint, since real life often has trouble living up to the expectations created. not so with the los angeles antique wonderland that is jf chen, the namesake store/gallery of collector extraordinaire, joel chen. m21 knows when he describes it to a first time visitor, there is no way they can imagine the reality of this enormous former warehouse turned antique fantasy land, and such was the case when we took our good friend, heather clawson of habitually chic to jf chen during her recent visit to los angeles...
jf chen encompasses two floors of a city block-long building, filled with what seems to be every single last antique in the whole wide world (heavy on the best of the 20th century- joel loves all things unusual and beautiful, no matter when produced, but seems at heart to be a modernist). the location is truly overwhelming to a first time visitor- maison21 remembers the first time he visited jf chen's old location to scout a chandelier for his old firm- we literally felt dizzy on first glimpse, and that space was only a fraction of the size of this one! we think chic might have felt the same way, as we both kept muttering to each other- "it's so hard to focus..." and it is. we doubt our photos can convey the vastness of the inventory, and we know they can't convey the dizzy feeling one gets when first walking inside the cavernous space. (and this isn't the case of some musty old antique mall filled with gramma's old junky junk- every item is pretty damn exquisite, so taken together, well, there are no words... but we'll try: imagine an obsession with collecting the best stuff on the market, no matter where in the world it is located and then multiply that obsession with buying something fabulous every single day for 38 years, and that gives you a glimmer of the inventory joel has obtained).
joel likes to say he sells to both kelly wearstler and michael smith, two designers whose signature styles couldn't be more different, yet both can find their needs met by his ginormous and varied inventory. with this in mind, m21 thought it would be fun to post a selection of the photos he took, while chic posts a selection of the photos she took, to see if we even took pictures of the same things. kind of a designer "compare and contrast"- and as a bonus, m21 took katie denham of katiedid to jf chen several days later when she was in town, so you can see her selections from joel's inventory as well!
even the hallways to the bathrooms are filled with art and antiques...
python-y klismos-y goodness...

love this white leather pairing of bellini chairs with a pair of fabricus-kastholm bird chairs- sexy. of course the brass and lucite dining table doesn't hurt to complete the scene.

these danish modern leather bucket chairs are the epitome of masculine mid-centruy chic...

love this bright abstract art.

this biomorphic coffee table by t.h. robsjohn-gibbings has been in the pantheon of m21's favorite pieces of furniture since he was a lil' sprout, first discovering the joys of 20th century modern design. we have a 90's game table in le garage that has the same shape, and we just might cut the legs off and pretend!

excited to see this aranda/lasch console in person- part of an upcoming exhibit. this piece took something crazy like six months to make- now *that's* dedication to one's craft! m21 would have got bored after gluing up about 5 of the thousands of little walnut shapes which comprise the piece.

m21 was hoping this royere-ish little lost lamb would follow him home...

need a 9 foot vintage modern chandelier?- jf chen has it!

the patina on these poul henningsen sconces, as well as their size, make them kinda fabulous. if you'll look carefully, there are some holes where a fourth was attached to the wall- joel explained it was out on memo to robert downey jr, who was interested in purchasing the set. m21 graciously offered to hand deliver the other three... :-)

m21 wonders if heather will post a photo of this charles hollis jones ziggurat chair, a splendid example of the haute 80's design. we KNOW she took a picture of it because she wants m21 to do a post about mr. hollis-jones, since we are such huge fans of his work...

if m21 could steal buy just one thing from jf chen's inventory, it would be this super chic chrome and brass maison jansen backgammon set- fan-freaking-tabulous!

fab, fab, fab- and check out the blogger in the mirror (katie denham). m21 is in lust with the set of four vintage tobia scarpa sconces in shiny brass!

downstairs is a ginormous gallery space which joel has currently designed with a black forest theme to showcase an exhibit of nymphenburg porcelain. it is a hauntingly beautiful exhibition, btw...

lovin' these stone and root burl stools in the exhibition space

again, we would have been happy if this nymphenburg owl flew from his perch and followed us home...

be sure to check out habitually chic's blog for her take on jf chen's inventory- and katedid's too! i wonder if we featured any of the same things? this will be interesting. it could also be boring, if we all picked the same items to showcase. so m21 has his fingers crossed!

7 comments:

erin@designcrisis said...

Now I know who's been bidding against me on Ebay...

Awesome.

ashlina said...

i love JF chen...that was my first job in LA...great place :)

Karena said...

Wow, Christian, a place to just lose oneself!! Too much fun!!

Karena
Art by Karena

stylecurator said...

Isn't the store beyond amazing??

HOBAC said...

This is where crinolines would come in handy. Between the two of us I'm sure we could liberate that backgammon table.

Seraph said...

My brother Needs. Those. Bucket chairs.

Alas, I am broke and on the other side of the continent.

katiedid said...

So fun to discover all the goodness here with you! My "vision" is up and running. Thanks so much for taking me. :)