In the gallery of Charlotte Ketabi-Lebard and Paul Bourdet, the fruitful alliance of art and design

In the gallery of Charlotte Ketabi-Lebard and Paul Bourdet, the fruitful alliance of art and design

MeetFriends since their art studies, Charlotte Ketabi-Lebard, 29, and Paul Bourdet, 28, first pursued their careers solo. Then they opened their Parisian space together, exhibiting works of contemporary art such as pieces of furniture from the 1980s and 1990s, very fashionable in the world of design.

The color chart of furniture merchants is often limited to white tending towards beige, gray turning to black. A neutral palette, a bit BCBG, supposed to magnify both 1950s furniture and contemporary design. With its firecracker pink carpet like a boudoir, the stand of the Ketabi-Bourdet gallery, entirely devoted to designer Philippe Starck, stood out boldly at the Design Miami/Basel fair, which was held from June 14 to 19. For its baptism of fire in Basel, this brand of art and design, freshly launched in Paris in May, wanted to stand out from its eminent colleagues. And to print a style joyful, good », explain together Charlotte Ketabi-Lebard, 29, and Paul Bourdet, 28.

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Please don’t call them cool ». We are not more connected », insists Charlotte Ketabi-Lebard, preferring to define herself as serious ». Serious as the impeccably neat presentation of the drawings and furniture of the director Bob Wilson, which the duo orchestrated, at the beginning of June, in their Parisian space. While waiting for a pop and colorful collective exhibition, from June 30 to July 22, mischievously named “Italian ice cream”.

Young but not beginners

The two partners may be young, but they are not beginners. Passionate about contemporary art, Charlotte Ketabi-Lebard cut her teeth at the Nathalie Obadia gallery, where she quickly rose through the ranks to take over as its director, from 2017 to early 2020. Specialist in design from the 1980s and 1990s, Paul Bourdet trained for six years alongside François Laffanour, one of the three musketeers who shaped the post-war design market. “Our methods, our networks are those of a large gallery, but with other means”, he summarizes.

Charlotte Ketabi-Lebard and Paul Bourdet in their Parisian gallery.

The pandemic, which has shaken up the established order, has benefited them. Failing to have known how to take the digital turn, a tired old guard had to draw the curtain. Fearing to end up with permanently vacant spaces, their Parisian owners agreed to rent them without requiring a key money. A boon for Charlotte Ketabi-Lebard, who was thus able to settle in December 2021 in a space under a glass roof of 140 square meters, in the heart of a pretty paved passageway linking rue Dauphine and rue Mazarine, in the 6e district of Paris.

“We were a bit like a couple who are afraid to live together. Everyone was afraid of losing their identity. Charlotte Ketabi-Lebard

Paul Bourdet, his friend of ten years, gets involved in the work. It is agreed that he will organize design exhibitions there from time to time. The idea of ​​an association in good and due form does not yet occur to them. It is solo that Charlotte will do her very first fair, Art Paris, in April.

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