Architectural Digest

April 2020

Ralph Pucci’s Designer Collaborations Are Rooted in Studio Work Stefan Bishop and John Koga create new works for the brand

Article By Madeleine Luckel

Ralph Pucci is something of a Renaissance man. Not only have his trailblazing mannequins looked to everything from Greco-Roman statues to contemporary costumes for inspiration, but he’s also built a thriving business of lighting and furniture designs that’s become an industry mainstay. Part of Pucci’s success no doubt lies in his deft ability to both scout talent and manufacture magnificent works. And thanks to new designs from two individuals, that dual skill has never been more clear.

Stefan Bishop is the latest artist to join Pucci’s coterie of designers, and the first he’s taken on in several years. “When I first saw his studio I knew he was a monumental force,” Pucci recalls to AD PRO. “I’ve known him for years, and he was always keeping me updated on his work,” he explains. While Pucci notes that Bishop is a relatively new artist—he’s only been working consistently for the past eight years—he knew that he was “on to something very special” from the start. However, it’s rare for works such as Bishop’s poplar wood and Indian ink creations to resonate so deeply with Pucci. “To tell you the truth,” he says, “Stefan’s sculptural studio reminded me of my sculpture studio. All the maquettes and sculptured hangings . . . it was just filled with creative ideas. The second I walked in, I knew had to give him a chance.”

While the sculptural and modernist results of that decision to partner launch this month, that’s not the only spring debut on Ralph Pucci’s horizon. Across the country from Bishop’s California workspace is the firm’s own Manhattan-based 18th Street studio. It’s there that the firm has been able to regularly churn out indoor-outdoor plaster-glass furniture at a somewhat lower price point. Ralph Pucci regulars such as Paul Mathieu and Olivier Gagnère are known to participate in the process, but now, a new chair by John Koga is almost here. Pucci notes that he was “really excited to see what the outcome was” when it came to the Hawaiian artist’s efforts. The lack of slick finishes, and the fact that pieces from this plaster-focused line tend to look older than their creation dates might otherwise imply, pair nicely with Koga’s tendency towards a Surrealist aesthetic. They’re also right in step with the earthy Ralph Pucci plaster pieces inspired by the likes of Constantin Brâncuși, Alberto Giacometti, and Henry Moore.

Under normal circumstances, the New York studio space allows for near seamless speed. As Pucci explains, a collaborating designer once started her mornings at the space before dashing across town daily to consult on her ongoing hotel project—returning each evening at around 6:30 p.m. to check in on the progress. “The results are pretty immediate,” Pucci notes. However, the coronavirus pandemic means that these days, that 18th Street studio can’t be utilized for its regular and highly efficient prototyping operations. That certainly doesn’t mean, though, that business has stopped. Inventory is available and orders are still being taken. Speaking of how he’s faring during this new work-from-home phase, Pucci says, “Good as can be. It’s hectic, but I think it’s important to keep busy and stay positive.”

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