Q&A with Designer Ralph Pucci

Photo by Antoine Bootz

Furniture designer Ralph Pucci riffs on his new Los Angeles showroom.

Ralph Pucci is known for his luxurious furnishings that celebrate quality in material and design. Yet his New York and Miami showrooms (ralphpucci.net) eschew grandiosity in favor of raw, open spaces where he can create a unique canvas to showcase his thoroughly modern mash-up of decorative arts, photography, and fashion. His new Los Angeles location, set to open in March in a 1920s building that once housed a puppetry school and a dance studio, gives Pucci even more room to, as he says, “have fun.” With nearly 15,000 square feet, wraparound skylights, a truss ceiling, and a courtyard, the space will have even more room to display work from his stable of designers, including Hervé Van der Straeten, Patrick Naggar, Jim Zivic, and Lianne Gold.

Many European and East Coast fashion and decorative arts tastemakers are opening up shop in Los Angeles. What’s the allure of the West Coast?

Years ago everyone was talking about Berlin and now they’re talking about L.A. Talk is one thing, but there is super talent here. Los Angeles is also still edgy, a little funky, and for art and design to flourish, it’s important that everything not be so polished, so vanilla. In this new showroom we can provide a showcase for some of this young new talent, especially the visual artists.  

What’s your design philosophy?

If I’ve seen it, I’m not interested. We look for unique, unusual quality pieces that have a timeless spirit with a soul. I’m not looking to put out another piece of furniture that’s just a commodity. We want something that stands out on its own, that has a patina. It’s sculptural, functional, and has a thread of artfulness that keeps it fresh. I’m looking for pieces that people will cherish. Hopefully, we’re creating heirlooms.

Which artists inspire you?

I think more sculpturally, so my heroes are Jean-Michel Frank, [Constantin] Brâncuși and those in the Bauhaus school.

What are some emerging trends in furniture design?

Furniture should add a unique ambience to a room. More designers are going in that direction while using classic materials of the past—bronze, parchment, lacquer, stone—in a forward-thinking way.

What do you collect?

I’m not someone who has a lot of stuff around the house. But I do like books—I have thousands of books at my home and in my office. I also love jazz, so I collect jazz records and play them on my turntable. We just did a jazz show fund-raiser at the New York showroom with John Pizzarelli and Christian McBride benefitting the music education fund of Jazz House Kids. I want to do something similar in our new Los Angeles location. I always did want to own a jazz club. 

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