When a metalsmith and an architect get together, great things can happen. Believe us, you won't want to miss “The Space in Between” at Chicago’s Pavilion Antiques and 20th C gallery through May 31. That’s where you can see the 10 brass, aluminum, or steel jewelry boxes that Christopher Gentner of has crafted and filled with rings or chocolates for his girlfriend, ’s Felicia Ferrone.
Gentner's boxes in and of themselves are hypnotizing, recalling miniature music boxes or toys that unhinge and expand in surprising ways. But the back story also intrigues. "These were all personal gifts that he made me for Valentine's Day, birthdays, and Christmases each year since we met," explains Ferrone. Adds Gentner, "The exhibition was an opportunity to showcase these very intricate and personal works that would normally never be shown publicly. This series is an ongoing endeavor, a place to let my mind wonder."
Pavilion first began selling Ferrone's glassware several years ago, but, says Ferrone, the magic moment that led to the joint exhibition came earlier this year after . Seeing the fair's collaboration between Ferrone and Gentner Design, the gallery jumped at the chance to exhibit their work together, curated with the concept of how it integrates into the larger historical dialogue of French and Italian 20th century design. Despite contrasting backgrounds—Ferrone studied architecture in the U.S. and spent years working in Milan, while Gentner became an expert metalsmith at the Cleveland Institute of Art—the designers' similar use of materials, minimalism, line and form became a benchmark for the curation of the show.
Also on view are 20 pieces ranging from lighting to tabletop, accessories, and furniture from each of the designers' collections. Says Ferrone, "This is really the first time that our works have been in a public context together." For anyone with a passion for design, this is a true love story.