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Cabinet of Curiosities have had their spotlight, but in the age where “bigger therefore better” marks its return, now New York’s Chelsea has the curated boutique for a certain type of collector who needs another sort of storage facility for all the wares gathered over time. Chamber, whose evocative name reflects both the sorts of treasures found within and the stylized bunker interior feeling, has landed in Neil Denari’s HL23 building on 23rd Street—shaded beneath the Highline and neighbor to incoming Lisson Gallery next year—by the direction of young Argentine design curator Juan Garcia Mosqueda. After bouncing between gigs at pioneering design mecca Moss in Chicago and in the curatorial department at MoMA, Mosqueda “saw a need in the market,” for such an experience as his fledging shop—one that solely shills art that verges on design, and design that is artful, and either is limited in its editions or one-of-a-kind.
All collections have a steward, most have a director, and Mosqueda’s premise is to enlist a creative power player to select an unmistakably refined group of objects for each of his selling seasons, that right now, isn’t quite defined. He’s not sure who’ll man the flag next but for his inaugural effort, Mosqueda lured Job Smeets of Studio Job, the quirky design lab based in Amsterdam and Antwerp, which currently still reign as hubs for the evocative and provocative. Case in point, Mosqueda’s favorite object in Chamber Collection #1, as he so catalogues each effort, is Job’s No. 80 Horse Bust (Chess Piece), which in fact is a vacuum with a large equine head whose eyes alight when on and extinguishes the machine’s hot air through its nostrils as if the noble beast were alive while sucking up dirt.
Not that there’s any dust or detritus to be found in the spotless store, where the objects are placed upon pedestals for display. Many are even kept behind acrylic vitrines denoting their museum-quality caliber, such as Formafantasma’s mid-century oyster salt-and-pepper pots paired with their Austrian hand-blown crystal pitchers. From the tiny to the tony, Chamber’s first output also includes a copper bike by Van Heesch Design, leather paintings by Esther Janssen, an original T 1000 World Receiver by Dieter Rams, and a signature “Chamber No.1” fragrance in an edition of 1000 preserved in a antique poison bottle by Buenos Aires-based rogue perfumer Julian Bedel that scents the store. What’s the smell of Chamber? Naturally, concrete, travertine marble, glass, grass, and solar light. Just as one might expect.
Chamber opens tomorrow, September 24.