There has been a fresh new spirit ever since Marta Benson took over as the CEO for Gump’s. Although still steeped in tradition in many ways, where longtime customers who collect Christmas ornaments or add to their place settings and jewelry boxes can keep coming back to have their desires fulfilled, the store also continues to move with the times. In their commitment to showcase fresh talent here in the Bay Area and across the country Marta and her team have collaborated with a number of artists and designers to create special pieces and collections for Gump’s.
Andrew Fisher debuted his stunning line of furniture made from bronze, fine burl woods and coquillage here, Robert Kuo exhibited his beautiful cloisonne and repousse work here twice, and numerous artists from various fields were invited to create artwork to launch Gump’s fragrance “Baroque Pearl” and sculptors to participate in group show to show the variety of bronze work.
And most recently Gump’s collided with a rainbow from Texas, not the real kind, not the one of Skittles fame, but one made from cows. Two years in the making Kyle Bunting, famed designer of amazing rugs, upholstery fabrics and wall coverings made from intricately patterned cowhides, took his work to the next level by venturing into furniture.
The process was so secretive not even Kyle’s own wife Libby Bunting knew exactly what he was up to until the preview. He wanted it to be a surprise when he brought her to San Francisco and walked her into Gump’s, where the first floor and store windows had been taken over by some of the most colorful objects ever made from cowhide. And she was blown away, especially when she saw the “Clutch” dining table with two intertwined rectangles designed to symbolize their relationship.
The buzz was no less amongst the guests who previewed the collection at the private party. Kyle asked a number of designers who had created special patterns for the company in the past to come up with one-of-a-kind art chairs. Among them are De Sousa Hughes’ co-owners Geoffrey De Sousa and Erik Hughes, Holly Hunt, Art Ellsworth, Kara Mann and Kris Lajeskie. In addition Kyle and his team designed a limited edition of furnishings and art only available at Gump’s. Pieces include cube-shaped ottomans with matching lacquer bases, the long hair “Fog Hide” chair, tables and consoles and the two-sided curved “Neu” screen. Each piece is made to order and can be fully customized by color and finish.
Amidst the first to experience the stunning collection were Fati Farmanfarmaian, John Hummer, Ed Hardy, Candace Barnes, Diane Dorrans Saeks, Jennifer Raiser, Mark Busacca, Geoffrey De Sousa, Erik Hughes, Jiun Ho, Holly Baxter, Steven Miller, Jay Jeffers, Michael Purdy, Ted Boerner, Sarah Lynch, Elizabeth Varnell, and Marcy Carmack.
Kyle Bunting’s furniture and art will be on display at Gump’s until June 13th, 2010, Monday through Saturday 10:00am to 6:00pm and Sunday 12:00pm to 5:00pm. And look out for my upcoming interview with Kyle.