“We’ve always been nomadic,” says David Alhadeff of his preeminent bicoastal design gallery, The Future Perfect. During last week’s Frieze Los Angeles, he inaugurated the latest edition of his sister project, Casa Perfect: a private, by-appointment-only roving gallery that invites The Future Perfect’s blue-chip designers to showcase their latest work in a dynamic, lived-in environment that conjures much more excitement than the typical white cube. For this iteration, the gallery’s third in Los Angeles, Alhadeff selected a historic residence designed in 1971 by mid-century powerhouse Raul F. Garduno in Trousdale Estates, a picturesque neighborhood located at the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. It’s his favorite yet.
In Los Angeles, a Design Gallery Goes Home
For its third West Coast iteration, The Future Perfect’s game-changing gallery concept christens a historic home in Trousdale Estates.By Ryan Waddoups February 17, 2020
“The beauty of Casa Perfect is that we get to regenerate our vision by finding a new space every couple of years,” says Alhadeff. “It gives us the opportunity to push our artists to create something super-special,” including a series of resin door pulls by Brooklyn designers Chen Chen and Kai Williams, and a medley of colorful ceramic objects by Dutch sculptor Floris Wubben. Even though Alhadeff only gave the designers a month’s notice to create work for the new Casa, everybody rose to the occasion. “They dropped everything and made incredible new things, which is humbling and beautiful,” he says.
In one striking vignette, Calico Wallpaper’s atmospheric Aura pattern backdrops royal blue Kolho tables and chairs by Matthew Day Jackson, who debuts his bulbous fiberglass Wonky Collection in an adjacent room. In the study, Seungjin Yang’s balloon-like chairs and stools are the perfect foil to the house’s domineering built-in casegoods. The party continues in a lounge, where Chris Wolston’s cheeky wicker Nalgona chair and extravagant Tropical chandelier, complete with colorful anodized aluminum palm fronds, encapsulate the indoor-outdoor lifestyle afforded by California Modernism. “I love historic architecture as a backdrop for contemporary design,” says Alhadeff. “It creates a sense of soulfulness in the work—and in the presentation—that we couldn’t achieve in a gallery environment.”
Perhaps this is the key to Casa Perfect’s success. (It could also be Instagram: “This concept doesn’t exist without social media,” says Alhadeff). The first edition, which opened in 2017, lived inside a mid-century Hollywood Hills house designed by Korean-American architect David Hyun. A year later, it moved to Trousdale Estates, inside a 1958 Hollywood Regency–style home that once belonged to Elvis Presley. Last year, Alhadeff brought Casa Perfect to New York, in a five-story West Village townhouse designed by British architect David Chipperfield. At each stop’s opening, everyone who’s anyone in the design world is there to take in or contribute to the project.
Another reason Casa Perfect draws everybody in: Alhadeff insists that it serve as a venue for the city’s burgeoning design community. It’s also his answer to the evolution of retail. “Retail is still hugely important,” says Alhadeff. “The Casa Perfect concept re-energizes people into returning to our brick-and-mortar stores while creating a community that’s exclusive, but not exclusionary.” People are getting busier, he continues, and so offering a seamless, stress-free experience is essential.
As for the present, Alhadeff says he’s still relishing in the triumph of transforming another historic house. “I haven’t had time to process how it feels yet!”
(Photos by Douglas Friedman)