Inside the Paris Flat of Galerie Kreo founders Didier and Clémence Krzentowski
Design dealers Didier and Clémence Krzentowski have lived at the same address, an apartment directly on the Right Bank of the Seine, since the mid-1980s. Looking directly onto the Eiffel Tower, their initial space measured 1,500 square feet. In 2000, they got the chance to extend it when the neighboring flat came up for sale. Their only problem? How to finance the acquisition. “I went to see my banker and told him, ‘All my money is in my art collection. I’ll have to sell a few things,’” Didier recalls. Initially, he thought he’d have to part with 20 or 30 works. In reality, he ended up deaccessioning just one: an ostrich by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. At auction, it fetched $270,000 and was dubbed by the French daily Le Monde “the most expensive ostrich in the world.”
Since 1999, when they founded Galerie kreo (“creation” in Esperanto) in Paris, the couple has gained almost legendary status. They produce limited-edition and one-off pieces with a roster of designers that includes Marc Newson, Konstantin Grcic, and Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, many of which have found their way into the apartment. They are mixed with vintage furnishings, in particular an impressive array of chandeliers, sconces, and lamps by Italian maestro Gino Sarfatti (Didier has co-written two books on modernist lighting and has a personal collection of around 500 models, mostly in storage).
The apartment’s décor changes regularly in an apparently organic fashion. “There is no method,” Clémence insists. “We don’t worry about things going together. Our collection is our self-portrait. So, there’s a natural coherence.”
And not everything is a signed work. For Didier, a meteorite he bought 20 years ago is “the most important sculpture in existence,” he explains. “It’s the only one that can never be copied.”
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