City of Angels: JF CHEN....NEVER Redundant!!!

Faux Bois Table and Chairs, Antler Chair Gilt Mirror and Display of Ice Tongs
When in LA...there are certain things one must do. Top of the list? Shopping! Some might assume Rodeo Drive might be the ultimate shopping destination, but when I was visiting, there were a list of places a bit off of Rodeo that were much more important to this design blogger. JF Chen was part of that list. Christian May of Maison 21 was the ultimate LA host, squiring me to and fro and being very patient while this newbie ooo'd and ahhh'd. You see...he had been here many times before, most recently with Heather Clawson of Habitually Chic.
Both Christian and Heather took photos at JF Chen....and then I come along a few days later and join the party. I think it is very interesting to see how we each "see" a place..what captures our imagination and how our minds work. Design stars like Kelly Wearstler and Michael S. Smith, as well as movie stars like Robert Downey Junior all find their individual voices here. Perhaps you will find our differing blogger viewpoints interesting as well!

Porcelain Crow in a Wire Cage
Christian and I began our tour through the fabulous wonderland of JF Chen in the rooms upstairs, where there is almost an overwhelming amount of stimuli to take in. Upon first sight, it takes your breath away. As I was filtering through the numerous photos I had taken, it struck me that I kept coming back to those I had taken in the huge exhibition space on the first floor. JF Chen hosts events in this space that is at once urban warehouse, and at the same time, another world that is quiet and almost mystical with it's ethereal play of light through the massive paned windows. I felt transported.

Soul Catchers on Metal Console with Tin Mirror
Most recently, JF Chen had hosted an event which included the art work of internationally acclaimed artist, Michele Oka Doner, which no doubt contributed to my sense of magic. Her work, entitled Soul Catchers, is based on the primitive practice of forming raw materials into skull like forms, which were thought to prevent one's soul from leaving this life prematurely. You can see her soul catchers on the console above, with a cache of wind blown leaves rustling below.

Biedermeier Couch with Root and Stone Stools and Gilt Chandelier
The space was almost cathedral-like, ancient and modern, both. There was room for each piece of furniture, sculpture and vignette to stand on it's own. Less a "shop" and more a gallery...which is certainly the intent for this very different space.

Italian Marble Table with row of White Porcelain Antlers and Sculpture of Jesus

Antlers Entwined on (what looks like) Train Model Turf!

Full Shot of the Beautiful Bird Cage

Carefully Edited Pieces for the Exhibition. I can imagine a large party going on in this room for the art opening....the people and voices still had a faint echo.

Red Metal Phoenix Coat Rack and Massive Armoire

One of a Pair of Blackamoor Busts

Wise Porcelain Owl stands Watch
It wouldn't be fair if I didn't jump back upstairs to show you what I found most fascinating....there was truly so much, it was hard to narrow it down. So, I am showing you some things that are a bit different from the recent blog posts from Christian and Heather (although many of my photos were of the same things!) There was so much to see...I think we did not overlap by much!
Bronze and Wood Chair. Chest of Drawers by Charles Eames and Herman Miller. Rare Greta Grossman Cobra Reflector Table Lamp by Ralph O. Smith.
I wanted to show you the room which looked to be the office of Joel Chen. It was more Mid century Modern than other spaces, although Mid century abounds throughout JF Chen.

Bender Madsen Armchairs, End table: Jean Prouve Round Wooden Gueridon
If only I had had more time to learn more about each and every piece! I wish knew more about the very cool leather sofa in this vignette, as well as the butter colored leather wing back chair.

White on White
There was so much to see, and so many ways it was all displayed. It is such a laboratory for mixing it up. I am always drawn to white on white. I loved the forms in this collection of vessels, the crude wood stands, the lamp and serpentine chest.

Venetian Glass Mirror, Murano Glass Leaf Sconces, Greek Key Metal Chairs

Quite a departure from the "white on white", this vignette shows a more formal side with the huge Venetian Glass mirror, sconces and beautiful chairs.
Painted Screen, Chinese Fretwork Chair and White Porcelain Lamp
Beautiful Crystal Chandleier, Goatskin Screen, Collection of Wish List Accessories
Tufted Leather Faux Bamboo Chairs, Venetian Glass Mirror, Mirrored Console and X Bench
Tony Duquette Clam Shell Stand, Pairs of Chairs
Joel Chen was able to obtain a number of items from the estate of Tony Duquette, one of which was this three tiered giant clam shell stand. Perhaps one of my favorite items in the shop!
Bobbin Turned English Rosewood Armchair, Murano Glass Torchere, African Mud Cloth Pillows
Stoneware Sculptures by Joanna Patterson, Green Silk Rope Chairs

Assortment of white modern sconces, Mid century Buffet

Masculine "Study" Vignette with French Bistro Club Chairs, Nail head Leather Armchair

There are so many wonderful design ideas to be found here. My mind races every time I revisit these photos. I loved this vignette of a very masculine desk area with the black leather chair with nail head trim, and the black and white objects on the desk.

Another example of how varied the inventory is at JF Chen. This area shows a collection of Danish Modern , and I love the glass bubble light fixture!
Jean Royere Style Sconce, Duquette-like Red "Coral" in Shell Vases
JF Chen Light Fixture
JF Chen not only offers furnishings,lighting, art and accessories from all over the world, they also offer custom light fixtures of their own design, like the Beehive Lantern above. Gorgeous, no?
Greek Key Mirror works beautifully with the Honeycomb Patterned Chest. Gourd Lamp.
It was a bit of a thrill when Christian and I were about to leave, Joel Chen came in and met with us. We chatted for a bit about the state of the economy and how it has affected the antique business, about his recent travels to Northern Europe to find the best for his shop, recent shoppers like Robert Downey Junior (who was buying a group of very cool industrial sconces!). Joel was very kind, and wealth of knowledge. A big "Thank You" to him for taking the time to chat!
I think what struck me most about JF Chen was the pure exuberance in how different periods and styles were displayed. It showed such a creative talent and interest in so many art forms. Never static, always interesting.. JF Chen inspired me to experiment and not be shy about presenting unexpected ideas to my clients.
I could have stayed for hours...but the hour was getting on and I had a long drive back up north ahead. But I left with many ideas and much inspiration for my trip home.