March 6, 2015

Cardinal Virtues

For His New Namesake Collection For Maison Gerard, Architect William T. Georgis Pulls Out Design's Dramatic Stops.

by Judith Nasatir photographer Maison Gerard

Georgis' Kips Bay  Room
Georgis Kips Bay Room was designed for the
late Cardinal Spellman; from the palette to the selection
of objects, ecclesiastical references abound.
Photo By: Timothy Bell

William T. Georgis, the celebrated architect and designer, isn't exactly retiring in matters of taste. As masterly as he is with the tools of the design trade, he's just as adept with spinning a compelling narrative. If any proof is needed, just look at Make It Fabulous, Monacelli Press' 2013 monograph of the Georgis oeuvre, which he penned himself. His latest venture-a namesake, three-piece collection for Maison Gerard, the renowned specialist in French Art Deco, contemporary design artists, furniture and objects from the mid-'70s on, and early 20th French masters-attests further to his unequalled flair for the theatrical in conception and design. The items in question-the Whalebone sofa and armchair, the Santa Sangre table, and the Origami dining or library table-are close to direct translations of the stellar furnishings Georgis created for his mind-bending, drop-dead "Study in Red", imagined as a retreat for the late Cardinal Spellman, at this year's Kips Bay Decorator Show House. Georgis, who has been designing custom pieces for clients for years, says that the effort was borne of the need for unique modern pieces to complement vintage and antique elements.

The collection came about in a jaw-droppingly short time because Benoist Drut, Maison Gerard's managing partner, didn't want to wait longer to work with Georgis than he had already. He had fallen in love with the sofa on the cover of Georgis' book: "It was haunting me." Their resulting conversation focused on finding a way to make the pieces more easily producible-and comparatively more affordable-in a way that wouldn't diminish their design at all. If there's any question how far the collaboration succeeded, the results speak for themselves and with cardinal authority.

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