WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PIECE IN YOUR HOME?
Michael talks about his favorite piece of design in his Chinatown apartment and the siginificance of it to him. Although, not a functional work, Alexander Noll's cross, with its symbollic nature, is a nostalgic piece to Bargo and is reminiscent of his childhood, and therefore holds a special place in his collection.
CROSS BY ALEXANDER NOLL
After a peaceful childhood in Savoy, Alexandre Noll was sent to the Dardanelles during the First World War, where he met wood carver Lucien Jacques who encouraged the young Noll to follow his nascent passion for wood working. After the war, Noll used it a therapeutic tool against the horror of wartime experience. Refusing to follow the path into the family banking business, he settled down with his wife and child in Fontenay-aux-Roses, a small suburb of Paris. From his small studio, Noll made ends meet by making decorative umbrella handles, shoe soles for Perugia, or a series lamp stands by Paul Poiret. From these commercial origins, Noll expanded his body of work and began to exhibit on a grand scale, first at the International Exhibition of 1925 and next at the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs. During the Second World War, Noll joined the “Camouflage Brigade” - a group of artists commissioned to create new patterns. He started then to create furniture and sculptures out of massive pieces of wood, revealing the organic continuity in all objects, whether functional or aesthetic. Alexandre Noll did not just work with wood; his approach and technique were both intimately bound up with nature and purity of form in a way that was simultaneously poetic, intuitive and philosophical. He said ‘I don't kill wood, I obey it. Obediently following its contours, its knots, the smallest accidents of its veins, I draw from it a work inspired by nature itself ...'
WISHLIST & Q&A
We asked Michael to pick 5 pieces from our available collection that are on his personal wishlist. In a Q&A, he speaks about his selection, his inspirations and the historical significance of the pieces.
Was it easy to select amongst thousand of pieces?
M.B. : It was very difficult to select because I love everything you have!
Do you think you choices were influenced by the current situation? If so, in what ways?
M.B. : I think my selections were influenced by the situation as I’m wanting things that are a bit more colorful and playful to help stay positive and optimistic.
Can you tell us a little bit about each piece and why they made the cut?
M.B. : I love the Jo Amado and the Les Archanges tables because they’re so unique and whimsical.
>> Jo Amado, born Steenacker, originally was a Belgian set designer for theater who enrolled in the Resistance during the war. After the war, following medical advice, she left Belgium and started working with clay as a form of PTSD therapy. It’s in Aix en Provence that she met and started working with her husband Jean Amado in 1946. From their studio on the Cours d’Orbitelle, Jo and Jean Amado worked together until Jo’s death, in 1963. Jo was in charge of the designs and determined the colors. Jean was the skilled practitioner in charge of the realization. Jean almost never signed his pieces, while Jo explicitly signed the pieces she had made with him, such as this unique coffee table.
>> In 1950, Gilbert Valentin opened a ceramic studio with his wife Linette called Les Archanges in Vallauris, a ceramic center of the post war revolution in South of France. In his studio, Valentin received painters, sculptors, musicians, writers, including Pablo Picasso, Jacques Prévert, Georges Braque or even Jean Cocteau, who in 1960 became president of the Archanges Club and of whom he was a dear friend. With a predilection for robust pieces, the artist renewed certain forms: handleless pitchers, searches for zoomorphic shapes in small and medium pieces. One of the peculiarities of this period, very recognizable, is the abstract decor on a black or gray granite background where spots of pure colors are projected (red, yellow, orange, turquoise blue, white). In parallel, he also created more sober realizations, playing between figuration and abstract, as we can see in this piece.
What about the daybed by Jean Royère?
M.B. : The Royère daybed seems like the perfect spot to rest and read and enjoy being home!
>> This model was first created in 1932 for the office and apartment of Dr. Philippe Decourt, his first big interior design project. This first project already showed his interest for modernism and confirmed Royère's abilities through the furniture he created for it, without decorative elements and being very straightforward. Jean Royère also reused this model to furnish the Aplemont workers' housing estate, designed by architect Jean Walter for the Le Havre Economical Housing Company in 1936.
The lamp by Bonnet and the Ilina Horning tapestry come across as unexpected choices. What drove you to select these pieces?
M.B. : I’ve always collected lamps so the Bonnet lamp is so unusual and fun it would be a great addition to my collection. And the Ilina Horning tapestry is very tactile and interesting I would love to add it to my antique textile collection.
>> Ceramist artist from based in Vallauris in the 1950's, Bonnet continued his productions throughout his life in the various cities of South of France he settled in over the years. With a prediliction for sculptural lamps, Bonnet's production is clearly part the revolution of ceramic art that happened in South of France between the 1950's & 1960's. His abstract shapes including all decorative elements, successions of full and hollow spaces, are primarly functional and the color and glaze work can be found throughout his body of work.
>> Born in Bulgary, Ilina Horning attended the Academie des Beaux Arts of Sofia, and enrolled then at the Academie des Beaux Arts of Prague, Czech Republic, from which she graduated in 1967. In the 1970’s, Horning moved to Paris and was part of the tapestry artist movement Arelis, including Denise Bigot, Karine delaunay-Delfs, André Parinaud or Jean-Louis Viard.
What qualities did you look for when the selecting the pieces?
M.B. : I look for unique and interesting qualities when selecting items.
In your opinion, do you think eclecticism is important to realize a successful grouping?
M.B. : I think eclecticism is very important, it’s the only way to portray personality and depth to a collection.
If you could keep one of these pieces for your current house, which one would it be? Why?
M.B. : If I could keep one piece it would be the Les Archanges table…. I think it is so rare and beautiful.
What / Who inspires you (inside or outside of the design world) ?
M.B. : Many people influence me, mainly designers and architects who are no longer with us…
First piece of design that impacted you?
M.B. : The first piece of design that really stuck with me was a desk by Jean Royère at 1950 Gallery when it was on Lafayette street.
Your design motto?
M.B. : My design motto is have fun and never take yourself too seriously!
New York-based dealer, stylist, and designer, Michael Bargo, reinterprets the history of decorative arts for contemporary sensibilities. Originally from Kentucky, Michael Bargo started his design career with Thomas O’Brian at Aero Studios after graduating from the New York School of Interior Design. Now based out of his Chinatown apartment and gallery - Galerie Michael Bargo - where almost all pieces are for sale, Bargo has been a major actor of the New York City design scene for the past decade. With his faithful assistants, his two cats Ossie and Scotty and dog Temo, Bargo has been juggling between projects throughout the USA as well as exhibitions in collaboration with Green River Project, a New York furniture studio cofounded by Aaron Aujla and Benjamin Bloomstein.