December 2, 2014
Chamber, New York’s Latest Experiment in Design Retail
With a high-profile location, talented guest curators, and a stellar team of designers, Chamber is an exciting experiment in design retail.
The glass storefront of Chamber, tucked under the trestles of the High Line, is a catalog of the various collaborators represented in the collection inside.
Courtesy Matthew Williams/Chamber
As an influencer of New York City’s design culture, the High Line is now a grandparent—the first generation of architecture that it brought to the Chelsea area is now attracting a second wave of cultural innovators. Among them is the young design impresario Juan Garcia Mosqueda, who chose a space in Neil Denari’s HL23 building, nestled under the High Line, to open the highly curated design gallery Chamber.
“I was interested in the people coming into this neighborhood and how they just took a slower pace,” he says. “We have a lot of foot traffic from the High Line. It’s a neighborhood in constant flux, so it will be interesting to see how it develops in a couple of years.”
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Garcia Mosqueda once worked at Moss gallery, and that historic Soho institution’s celebration of art-and-design crossovers seems part of the DNA of Chamber. But where Moss was driven by an intensely personal vision, Garcia Mosqueda’s initiative is all about collaboration.
Studio Lin created all the graphic materials, MOS Architects designed the space (far left), and Studio Job curated the collection.
Store photos courtesy Matthew Williams/Chamber
MOS Architects has designed the white L-shaped gallery as a sort of temple of design. “We looked at a lot of holy spaces—that’s where you get the niche in the wall or even the vaulted ceiling,” Garcia Mosqueda says. The inaugural curators of the gallery are the Dutch duo Studio Job, who filled the space with objects that are true to their provocative viewpoint. “From the get-go, I was interested in this idea of mixing disciplines, and not just being a design store,” he says. “Studio Job works on that thin line every day of their lives. And they are collectors, so they also have a sensibility that isn’t easy to find among young designers.”
The curators showcased the design objects on wooden boxes, with Copper Bike by Van Heesch Design at center.
An experimental vase by Floris Wubben sits cheek by jowl with a Radio-Phonograph by Dieter Rams and Hans Gugelot. Many of the objects represent a meeting of minds between designers of different backgrounds. “We tried to work with graphic designers, fashion designers, industrial designers, and object designers—I am interested in neat things people can bring to the table,” Garcia Mosqueda says.
Studio Job’s curators have displayed the collection on wooden crates, but future curators might choose to do something entirely different—a prospect Garcia Mosqueda seems to relish. “Some people will naturally want to keep things as clean and minimal as possible,” he says. “Others may go insane.”