Many months ago when Ed Hardy first told me over dinner at my home that he sold his iconic building to Restoration Hardware and that he would be somehow involved beyond the sale of the property. But he could not divulge anything more at that time.
Once the design community became abuzz with the news a few curious eyebrows were raised. One of San Francisco’s most prominent antique showrooms housed in one of the most beautiful buildings in the San Francisco Design Center would become the new home of Restoration Hardware? For many that was hard to imagine. After all renowned antique dealer Ed Hardy has always been known for selling some of the most exquisite antiques. At times the value of one single piece in his gallery may have bought a few rooms full of Restoration Hardware furniture. Would it be like Ford taking over Jaguar? How would such polar opposites avoid collision and instead inspire collaboration?
Will it be a marriage made in heaven? Judging from the “wedding party” one should expect a blissful future.
On an eight-week shopping trip to Europe buyers from Restoration Hardware purchased many antiques with the guidance of Ed Hardy who will continue on as a consultant to the product design team. With his longstanding experience, trained eye and open mind Ed has entered a new phase in his career where he will advise a much younger team of what kind of designs will stand the test of time.
Original antiques and one-of-a-kind pieces from artists around the world will be added to the collection of reproductions, Italian linens, Turkish towel, classic bath fixtures, and hardware. Ed told me that the idea was not so far-fetched since Restoration Hardware shares his classical aesthetic. He said that he was ecstatic to embark this new journey. And the space itself was all the proof of a very happy union, where a local brand reached high and chose the right counsel. Newly acquired antiques mingled with reproductions in a setting where only the colors of the exterior plaster and interior paint had changed. Not much is needed when you have such a well-designed building with wonderful proportions and details.
Ed is known for throwing some of the most fabulous parties; and his Christmas parties are legendary. So it was exciting to see the elegant Palladian-style villa come to life again with over 800 guests attending the opening night event.
By 6:30pm a line had formed around the corner, to rival the hay days of Studio 54, as the building had reached capacity. Clearly everyone was curious to see how it all turned out. The event was co-hosted by Restoration Hardware’s Chairman & Co-CEO Gary Friedman and Architectural Digest’s new Editor-in-Chief Margaret Russell, and it benefitted the School & Teacher Education Programs of SF MOMA. Guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres conceived by world-renowned chef Michael Chiarello.
Among the guests were Senator Mark Leno, Willie Brown and Sonya Molodetskaya, Ron Conway, Alison Pincus, Maria Manetti Farrow, Randi and Bob Fisher, Denise Hale, Tolan and Tyler Florence, Tatiana and Serge Sorokko, Wilkes Bashford, Chip Conley… well, really, with over 800 people, it might be easier for us to list who wasn’t there!
Some of the designers and architects in attendance included Douglas Durkin, Will Wick, Myra Hoefer, Candace Barnes, Nicole Hollis, David Ashfield, Brian Dittmar, Gary Spain, George Brazil, Andrew Fisher, Jeffrey Weisman, Matthew MacCaul Turner, Howard Backen, Gabriella Sarlo, and Lawanna Endonino, among others.