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Converso Opens an Airy New Gallery in Los Angeles

BY HANNAH MARTIN for Architectural Digest

For Lawrence Converso’s Design Miami debut, the 20th-century dealer’s intent was clear: to bring a little piece of California to South Florida. His much-Instagrammed booth—awash in pale–yellow and desert–pink—showcased a cache of never-before-seen work by the Swiss-turned-Californian architect Albert Frey, whose modernist 1960s designs (many of them in whitewashed pine) came to epitomize Palm Springs style.

It all felt quite relevant, considering that the nearly 25-year-old gallery—with locations in New York and Chicago—was preparing to open a third spot in Los Angeles.

“I’ve had a pretty deep engagement with the west coast 20th-century scene since my early days as a dealer,” explains Converso. “The way that our business has evolved in New York and online, with so many designers and architects working bicoastally, we knew it was important to have a place where clients could physically connect to the pieces.”

Like its New York and Chicago counterparts, the 2,200-square-foot showroom on Beverly Boulevard will display stars of 20th-century design: an important Paul Evans cabinet, an anodized aluminum Isamu Noguchi table; a rare Gabriella Crespi bronze-and-brass mirror from her Sunrise period; a three-legged Philip Johnson lamp designed for his famous Glass House.

A showcase of sculptures by Mario Dal Fabbro.

A showcase of sculptures by Mario Dal Fabbro

“There are probably less than five of these in existence,” says Converso of the Johnson lamp. “The Glass House doesn’t even have this version. Johnson decided it was a little tippy and lived with a four-legged version.”

Off of the main space, a smaller room will showcase special exhibitions, like the series of sculptures by Mario Dal Fabbro, a newly rediscovered designer who proved instrumental behind the scenes at the Knoll and McCobb offices, on display through March 9.

Notably missing from the gallery’s opening selection is a red George Nelson Marshmallow sofa. “The day we unpacked it, it was acquired by a museum,” reveals Converso of the rare piece. “We learned it was a gift from a donor collector who had been tracking it for some time.” Not bad for day one.

 

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