After years in the fashion industry, Carole Gratale was ready for a change. Inspired by the creativity and caliber of iconic designers such as Karl Springer, she translated her eye for quality and design to the interiors industry, starting with a small showroom in the D&D building. But as time progressed, Carole discovered her passion lay in metalwork, particularly that of 20th century masters such as Diego Giacometti. That proved to be a major turning point in her career and thereafter her company has focussed on high end custom metal furnishings reminiscent of the quality craftsmanship of those legendary designers she so admired.
Her most recent venture is a small exquisite capsule collection presented in collaboration with Newel, the splendid decorative and fine arts gallery. I visited the opening last week and was immediately struck by the incredible workmanship, timeless elegance and amazing attention to detail. The stunning patinated bronze console with marble top, above, is in the style of Armand-Albert Rateau, the French architect and designer, whose luxurious bronze pieces were featured in his interiors for such exclusive clients as Jeanne Lanvin.
The detail of the palm form legs is superb. The table is also available with a lacquered top, shown here in red but available in any custom color, resulting in a marvelously chic mix of classic and modern. Please note that the pattern on the top is merely a reflection in the glossy surface
With the upper end of the design business veering toward the unique and bespoke, these pieces are perfectly positioned for those who appreciate both fine art and furniture.
Bridging the gap between the functional and collectible are pieces such as this Louis XVI style bronze striated coffee table with a glorious floral eglomise top by the talented Miriam Ellner.
It’s impossible to capture the true translucent yet tactile quality of her work which presents an ethereal contrast to the brilliant sheen and structure of the bronze. It is also possible to commission custom designs for the glass top through Carole.
And taking a similar frame with a very different result is this luminous end table.
With a jewel-like demeanor, the piece offers glistening glamour with just the right amount of texture modified bling.
Probably the most whimsical piece in the collection is the Parisian mirror. Inspired by the prolific work of Gilbert Poillerat, the fluid combinations of black and gold are almost calligraphic in form, providing movement and a slight mischievous quality.
A versatile piece, with modern living appeal, is this 3 section coffee table, designed to work together or as separate units.
In patinated bronze, the top is hand etched for a distinct textural contrast with the hammered Giacometti-esque legs and rim.
With the most modern lines in the collection, the “Valentine” table features a post war design of textured bronze with a substantial glass top.
The final piece in the collection is an elegant table with definite classic French inspiration.
Graceful and fine in its decoration, it is the contrast with the beautiful shagreen top, that makes this piece exceptional.
This collection would be notable under any circumstances, but knowing that Carole didn’t find her true calling until 40 and still continues to have the passion and creative drive to produce work of this caliber today is truly awe-inspiring. Finding the many artisans to complete each and every step and overseeing the process to maintain the highest standards is a time-consuming and tedious undertaking that a designer at any age might find overwhelming. So kudos to Carole – I certainly hope I will have her energy, enthusiasm and enterprising spirit in the years to come! And I know Guy Regal at Newel, below with Carole, feels the same!