Paris' Kreo Gallery led the international pack at the new annual design event Design.05 Miami. Founder Didier Krzentowski opens up his little black book of up-and-coming talents.

From his small gallery in an industrialized corner of Paris, design dealer, collector and private consultant Didier Krzentowski has been blurring the boundaries between art and design for over a decade. In 1992, he and his wife Clemence founded the Kreo agency and quickly revolutionized industry aesthetics by brokering collaborations between up-and-coming designers and brands such as Perrier, Ricard, SNCF and Hermès. After impacting the masses with their successful alliances, in 1999, the Krzentowskis opened the Kreo gallery in Paris' swinging Louise Weiss art gallery district. Part showroom, part creative incubation lab, the gallery sponsors limited-edition "research" collections by über-hot designers such as Martin Szekely, Hella Jongerius, Marc Newson, the Bouroullec Brothers and Jasper Morrison.

Krzentowksi boasts a red-carpet roster of Parisian-based clients such as Karl Lagerfeld, Azzedine Alaïa and Hedi Slimane, but his reputation as a visionary in the field is hardly confined to the City of Light. In 2004, he made history as one of the first design dealers invited to participate at the FIAC, Paris' international contemporary arts fair; and in December 2005, his gallery led the pack at the new annual design event Design.05 Miami, which ran concurrently with the prestigious Art Basel Miami Beach.

What sets Krzentowksi apart from his professional peers is his self-proclaimed collecting "neurosis". Starting with ink blotters as a child, Krzentowski reached full stride in the Eighties when he discovered Nan Goldin's work at her first Paris show, triggering a passion for contemporary photography, which bled into contemporary design. This past November he sold off most of his photography collection at Sotheby's New York to make room for his new acquisitions by Matthieu Mercier, Tatiana Trouvé, Sam Durant and Jim Shaw. Kreo Gallery's limited-edition designs are paving a place for design among the ranks of contemporary art.

Definition of Luxury

What is your definition of luxury?
To have a hobby that is also your profession.

If luxury were an object, what would it be?
A Bic pen, because it's simple and modest.

If luxury were a person, who would it be?
Azzedine Alaïa, because he lives simply yet intensely.

If luxury were a moment, when would it be?
Siesta time.

If luxury were a place, where would it be?
It would be a place where I could sit and look at my entire collection all at once.

Personal Preferences?

Who are some of your greatest design icons?
Gino Sarfatti, who invented everything in terms of lighting design; Jean Prouvé, the first to create industrial designs; as well as Alessandro Mendini and, of course, Jean Nouvel.

Who are some of your favorite contemporary artists?
Hella Jongerius, whose cupboards we recently displayed in the gallery ¬ — a project that took three years to realize. Pierre Charpin, Jersey Seymour and François Bauchet.

What are you currently collecting?
For the last 6-7 years I have been collecting more and more light designs. In contemporary art, I'm very interested in the work of Pierre Ardouvin, Tatiana Trouvé, Richard Jackson, Matthieu Mercier, Jim Shaw and Sam Durant.

What is your greatest dream as a collector?
To find lighting designs by Gino Sarfatti.

Your most surprising sale?
At the beginning of Maurizio Cattelan's career I bought his 'Ostriche' for close to nothing. Years later when I wanted to expand my apartment and buy an additional space next door, I put it up for sale and sold it quickly for a shocking sum.

Your favorite exhibition to date?
One of the most impressive shows we've produced at the gallery was an exhibition of large mirrors designed by 20 different artists.

What is on the horizon at Kreo?
It is quite a scoop: this spring we will present Jasper Morrison's first solo show of limited, experimental designs created specifically for the gallery.

Galerie Kreo
22, rue Duchefdelaville
75013 Paris
T. +33 (0)1 53 60 18 42