Suzanne Lovell Inc


New home is a happy home for SF’s Carpenters Workshop Gallery

December 10, 2018

As the owners could not afford to repair the ancient structure, the building sat vacant for almost 20 years. In 2008, St. Joseph’s was purchased and after 4 years of planning and redesigning the plans, the city approved ambitious blueprints meant to preserve the architecture. In addition, plans were drawn to update the interior so that it would best suit new tenants.

Image courtesy of: Curbed, San Francisco

San Francisco is all about moving forward- onward and upward- with regards to technology and design. The new Carpenters Workshop Gallery recently opened in San Francisco within a 100 year-old church. The move to “make a home” within an abandoned church is quite the contrary from making a residence within a new, shining building.

St. Joseph was built in 1913, during a time which saw San Francisco’s emergence as a cultural location with a lot to offer both its residents and visitors. Sadly, in 1989 the infamous hurricane, Loma Prieta, struck the city. Among  the fatalities and injuries, the hurricane, destroyed St. Joseph. Having been designated the city’s Landmark #120, it was devastating that this massive neo-romanesque structure was so severely affected.

The white surface interior and metallic decorations provide a “clean” space for all of Carpenters’ interesting collectables!

Image courtesy of: Dezeen

It’s thrilling that Carpenters Workshop Gallery founders, Julie Lombrail and Loic Le Gaillard choose their first West Coast location to exist within St. Joseph’s. The church’s  new owner is Ken Fulk, the San Francisco-based design guru who masterfully reinvigorated the church and recently rechristened it as the St. Joseph’s Art Society. Inside, it’s in the 9,000 square foot mezzanine where the gallery will make its home. As the fourth permanent Carpenters Workshop Gallery, emerging and established artists from the west part of North America will have a place that serves both as a creative incubator and also as a gallery prolific in promoting special works.

The duo in one of their curated furniture pieces.

Image courtesy of: Tom Carey Design

Throughout its impressive growth, the has gallery remained actively involved in the research and production of the limited-edition works exhibited. And as a true testament to their authenticity, even the name has relevance. When founders Lombrail and Le Gaillard opened their first gallery, it was in an old carpenter’s workshop in Chelsea, London. Now, twelve years later, the duo has a presence in four of the world’s most culturally evolved cities: London, Paris, New York City, and San Francisco.

When asked about why they choose San Francisco, Le Gaillard said, “The fact that San Francisco is supported by an active and engaged collector base made the city a clear choice. We also feel that—more than other cities in the U.S.—the taste of the new generations in San Francisco is evolving quickly toward a more contemporary approach where craft and technology exist side by side, which is exactly what we do.”

A “forest” of Nacho Carbonell’s works. The Spanish-born, Eindhoven-based designer creates beautiful sculptures by playing with texture.

Image courtesy of: Dezeen

The first exhibition runs until the end of December and will features works by some of Carpenters’ “star” players. Led by Ashlee Harrison and Alison Harrington, there will be a rotating schedule of exhibitions, as well as two solo shows from the gallery’s reprensented artists. Certainly with the opening of their second U.S. location, there’s concrete confirmation that Carpenters’ is an international force in today’s global art world.

Artisan Guillaume Priol walks through the Roissy factory with Lombrail and discuss the patina on Wendell Castle’s large, outdoor, bronze sculpture.

Image courtesy of: The New York Times, photographed by: Guia Bessana

To increase the efforts of continued involvement with their artists and artisans, Carpenters’ opened CWG Roissy in 2015. North of Paris, this 86,000 square-foot former industrial varnish factory allows the creators to be integrated in every aspect of their work, regardless of size. Lombrail has said about the workshop, “I think we are the first gallery to integrate artisans into our business. We are paying salaried, in-house handicraft people and also asking them to experiment, trying new things out of the blue.”