G

INTELLIGENCE

WALL ART: Finally, a Patrick Blanc vertical garden in SF HOME AS STYLE LAB:Th~ n~ew"wave collectors RESTO'S GAMBLE Can a CEO sketch furniture's future?

"-

$4,99 April 2011 www.sanfranmag"corn MO!)'"RN "UX'URY

I

-WHllE-HOl ALCHEMY:

IntluOJntlal architect-designer Andrew Skunnan's N'Ob HIli apartment offers a blank canvas for the singular fur,nlture'. art. and antiques he' collects with his wife., Frano;olSe. Kev plec,,", rangOJ from a Tom Dixon-commissioned scul,ptu ral table base ,and ch air to Fren.ch heirloom silver, SEE PAGE 70.

FEATURES: DESIGN INTELLIGENCE

60 Off the wall. Rock star Parisian landscape artist Patrick Blanc has arrived, Our visual tour of his Drew School creal ion-e-San Francisco's latest instant landmark-s-will show you wh y he and h is living wall gnrdens arc geuing standing ovations,

BY JOAN NEFU RIO

70 Th,e new alchemists. Four restless designers who, in rhc spirit of aesrheiic inquiry, have turned I heir own homes into ongoi ng experiments in modern collecting and in terior desi gn. BY DI'ANEOoR RA'N$ SAEK$

82 Pieces of his mind. He made Pouery Barn a powerhouse and now, as co-CEO at Rcsiorauon Hardware, Gary Friedman is aiming 10 rcvolut ion izc furniture retail by reprod ucing and mass-market ing singular anuques, Even more daring, I he executive picks nearly every piece himself DY lOANNEFU,RIO

o lITTAKES 97 Oi plomatic i mmu nity .: lh is mom h on the soc ia I c i rc to i l. BY ELlZA:1l ErH VARN E'CL

KUED GUIDE 105 Members' copies 0[11 )'.

EATS 107 • Restaurant reviews, food news, and great bites from around the Bay.

SOITSD BY JANN SWBERRY

• Lining up for brunch at Potrero Hill's new Plow. IlVRAc,HEL LEVIN

• PLUS: Five great ways to get your goat.

BACK STORT 128 Right'brain CEO. Restoration Hard ware's iconoclastic chief once channeled AuguSle Rodin. 'BY lOANNE ruaro

Cover. PHOToG RAPH8Y ,lOS FLETCHER

o u

'" OJ

z ..

'" " z

..

'"

San FranGfsro OSSNt IO!1l'-6345) is publ\Shed moott.ly by ,Modem Luxury, 243 VaJfl!:p S\., San Fl'1II'1Ci:s<:;o, CA 94, II. ~ricd'mj; po.s'age rates pa"l:! al Silil fllilfiG -liQIJ\ CA !iiAd addifonalllHlli"ig offlcee, F'OS'TMASTER: Send address (;Mng!!:5 t.o San F-l1iIl(;fs.co, P.O.. S»; ~ llilnQhome., PA 19047-9S67. Apil :2011, Vdurne 58, Number 4. An'1iJa1. :sutJ.:;apt-ons i1I~ S2S.97. SarI f~o is maJled by request to «rliLn mem'bl!lr:s of KC£D who oontrbu'i:l! $l5() or I'OOR!!I 10 KeED.

"' _,

"

~

o

....

This issue, our editors offer insights into some

of the Bay Area's most interesting design ideas.

o " '" n

;z: ..

~ ~

'"

w

b

z Cf) Fz w o

fiJ

o:

Q_

As the poet famously said, "In the spring " you I'Ig man's [;1Ilcy lightly turns to though IS er. baseball!"

OK, maybe Lord Tennyson actually said that a you I1g man's thoughts are of love, but as regular readers of this column (if there m-e any) know, one of my gremlove, has long been {he Giants, Last year's triumph , ... as a fantasy tome true for the whole Bay Area-and I think we are all ready to continue the dream right where we left off after the parade last November, The race 10 repeat as champions starts in L.A on March 31, and the home opeller is Friday, April 8, against the Cardinals.

Spring also bri ngs to mi 11e1 thoughts of renewal and growth. For l'uany of our readers, that means plans to refresh their homes. An astounding 38 percent of them told LLS they undertook. a home remodeling job last year, and we amicipme all even larger number lO be similady act ive in the months ahead.

Tb is issue, our editors offer us their insights i, uo some of the area's most inreresr ing design ideas. The), give us a sneak preview or Drew School's extraordinary "living wall" (tb ink:

Academy of Sciences living roof turned vertical). created by the imernational landscaping 'sliperstar Patrick Blanc and certain to become One of the most adm ired such works in the United States, 'Ve also gel a rare view inside 'the homes of four of the region'S most Influential furniture ami an collectors, whose living spaces point the wily 10 a freer new future for interior decorating. And we learn how Gary Friedman, the obsessive and brill iant mind behi nd the reinvent ion or Restorati on Hard wa re, I! ot on I y I"," 0 ]>CI! ed h is first of" kind "design gallery" in the most upscale location possible-eacross from the San Francisco Design Center-e-but is belting hi, business On being able lo sell high-end reproduction, ol'striking pieces he's discovered during

his travels.

Collect ing is " big part of Our spring event

schedule as well. On April 6, SF~10MA holds its biannual art auct ion. Attendee. will gel an

u n precede nted c ha nee loa d m i rc-a nd bid on-80 pieces of extraordinary an that have been donated for this pllrpose to the museum,

I I' your budget doesn't q uite allow for a Richard Serra or a Chuck Close, t hen join us next mOI1l h at anMRKT, 'he iruernational an fair at the S.f. C oncou rsc, where more th a n 50 ga ller ics from near and far will be displaying gre," works at more accessible prices.

What kind of an do 1 collect> Hanging on my office ",,,II is a prhu by Mark Ulriksen-fonnerly a rt d i reel or of Sa 11 Hq I1ciJCQ tocus (a prcc ursor of this magazine) and now best known for his many greal' New )j"kn covers, My prize is a limitededition print of my boyhood hero, Willie Mays, mak ing The Catch against Vic "Venl in game one of the 195'1 World Series, the last rime thar the Giants (then of New York) were world cham" pions, VI riksen creared I hi, image for local master Andre .... Hoyem of Arion Press to illustrate Hoyern's fine-press cd il ion of A Day at /lIP Blfflchn'S, Arnold H ano's account or that game at the Polo Groll nds. A n en! ire book "bout One day watch ing [he Giants play baseball: Now that's my idea or a young man's fancy.

See you at [he ballpark,

ST~ VE N I)! N I(HSP.t~l, PRESIDEN r SDtNJ<;ELSPlEL@SANFRANMAG.COM

DESIGN

INT EL L I G E NC E

RETAIL

PIECES OF HIS MIND

BY JOANNE FURIO

PORTRAIT BY ALEX FARNUM

o " '" u

z

~ i

'"

GARY FRIEDMAN PUT A KITCHEN IN THE MIDDLE OF A WILLIAMS-SONOMA STORE AND FOREVER CHANGED THE WAY AMERICANS SHOP FOR TOASTERS. HE INVENTED POTTERY BARN AS WE KNOW IT. NOW, THE UNORTHODOX RETAIL LEADER IS AGAIN AT THE HELM OF A BAY AREA COMPANY, RESTORATION HARDWARE, COUNTING ON HIS OWN EYE TO CHANGE THE WAY WE FURNISH OUR HOMES.

'"

~

!

z o

~

~

.. o

PATINATED

~artlsans crealed Ih ese pC nd ani lamps in homage 10 Ihe polyhedron. a classic

arch ilectu.al e Ie me n~ and F ,ied ma n snapp cd them up to re p reduce at Resto.

AEiRODYNAMIC

Prlcdman found the Or ig i nal version Of th IS P ieee, in s p i red by the bent wing 01 a Wo.ld Wa. I lig h ter pia n e in the Partslan showroom Of a ntlqu es dee ler Timothy Ouilon.

ICONOCLASTIC

Du,ing a buying trip in Antwe", Friedman s ketches an id ea fo. il sJ'm metnce I ceta log spread-f"1ow a company hallmark.

TM is slgnalu re tufted Ken s i ngton sofa, ba sed

on the classlc Chesterfield st.} Ie, I sex. ctly I:h e sorf hip sters sco u r antiq ues shops 10 hnd-on y Ih 5

one is oversize and th e re 's no used lck-tacto r.

DI STRESSED

'" ..

.,

::l

.. z n 0; n o

g

f

o u

'" o

z ..

~

z

~

SITTING ON THE BELGIAN CLASSIC Roll Arm Slipcovercd Sofa in the grand enlr)' mom of his new Ilenry Adams S1.reCI store, Gal)' Friedman, (0- CEO and chairman of Restoration liard ware, occasionally iruerrupts his train or thought 10 greet customer s. fried man speaks with the" nbridted, rapid-fire emh usiasrn of a leader determined to inspire, so keeping up with him is like trying 10 auach a pedometer to a galloping racehorse. Stylish charily fixture Summer Tompkins Walker, in design-district black, enters the store with a friend. The interview stops.

"We were just in Pebble Beach playing golf today,"

ays Tompkins Walker, who de igns rustom-cmbroidcrcd home ware and who you'd think would be shopping for furnishing across the street, with a decorator; at the exclusive, trade-only Design Center. Instead, Tompkins Walker de cribes how she dragged her friend into the store, urg; ng her 10 do her house in Restoration Hardware. "Itlooks great!" Tompkins Walker gushes. As I he women depart, Fried man sizes Ill' I he encounter at 11 is previous breakneck pace: "She likes the 'Lore, thai's gooc]. Her husband's Brooks Walkel~ one of rhc best architects around. l Icr father cofounded ESP"it, and her mom, the other cofounder, is Susie Tompkin Buell-a big philanthropist in San Francisco:'

Tompkins Walker's endorsement in front of a reporter dead)' means somClhing 10 Friedman, an obsessive marketer on the lookout for ,signs that what many design cognoscenti have called hi, insane gamble at Restorauon Hardware mightjusL turn out to be a huge win. '1'\"0 and a hall' year ago, immediately following the biggcsr economic disaster since [he Crear Depression,

Fried man decided I hal what the world needed=or al least what/If needed 10 save hi" ailing company-was a new type ofluxury furniture, He had already transformed Resrorauon Hardware once, from a mall merchandiser of tools, gadgets, and toys into a more upscale purveyor of items for the home. But thi rime, he would challenge the very nonon of how home furnishings are made and sold,

I n the spirit of high -cnd fashion labels, like Hermes, Friedman decided LO forgo large-scale mass production in favor 01' small batches and handcraflsrnansh ip. He also commurcd to following his own eye as he scoured fica markets from Paris 1.0 Paci Rca 10 fond the ani iques

Friedman on the floor of his ·Iaboratory"the new Restoration Hardware in San Francisco's design district

Friedman

has scoured flea markets from Paris to Pacifica to find the antiques that inspire his reproductions.

RESTO'S REDO

Two and a half year. after

the company went eve n

more upwardty mobile, stylistic hall marks of the

new Reslorat io n Hardware have emerged, ",fleeting the se nsi bil it)' of its chairman and co·CEO .. Gary Friedman.

Much ollhe fabriC Is linen. "I: love the lail.Jre of i I. lhe organic feeting of it, the subHe coiors-g 0 percen t of my house i So in Ilnen. ... Friedman says.

The palette Is n e utratbeige, brown. and gray-blJl not, Friedman dai ms, in order to bl end wi th CLJS tamers' existing decors. "This is what I Ii!<:e. My home is mostly neutrals"

Most ofthe wood ,is

unlf n Ished, "We love the casualness of it, that it"s comfortable. You can put your feet up on iL"

The leel Is neocl asslca I· cum.-sa'ivage chic. You see it in the use of columns or colum n parts that have been turned into lam ps or tables. '"When you look beyond what they are, you see all kinds of possibilities," Friedman says of such reporposen f urni sh ings.

MASCULINE

~he CEO "dm ,Is tha t rna n '1J of his pleces have a ma le-tocused fee I

like th .s AVlato r eM 31 r, because they reflect his perso n a I ee sthet lc.

At a fumitute .actcry in Beijing. Friedman ... thinks

the leg en a p ",totyp e reprcductlon of a bu~ap chair he found in a Napa a ntiqu e s store; th e cha ir eventua Ity shows up in a

co m pa n y cata log (a bo.e).

An other Fried ma n sketch shows how he tra n sto rm ed an ea 'IV ~ 0Ih· centu ry ba rn doo r pu lIey mecha n is minto s nove rscale pen da nt

i9 ht that ca n serve as a c.ha n del i er,

o::t U1

I hat inspire his reproductions. The result is a line of ncms wi th design DN}\ ranging from Louis X I V 10 World \:V"r II America Ihal sell for" signific.lnlty lower price poirn than something from Holly H 11)11 or Baker Knapp & Tubbs.

The decision was "very risky," says Helen Bul wik, prcsidcm of New Markel Soluuons, a manage-men I ronsulting firm in Oakland, The economy was bad, and the move put Resto i n direct ccrnperit ion WiLh the design I rade, sornething that hadn't been done before. To borrow an analogy from the art world, if a luxury sofa is like an original paint ing, and a cheap one is Ii ke I he poster you gel at the III useum giro shop, a Friedman sol;' would be like a signed prim-e-not one of a kind, but still one of anywhere between 20 and 2,000 copies. Friedman believed I h is new model would be perfect [or the customer who had outgrown lkea and West Elm but wasn't will ing or able 10 shell our Design Center money to furnish her horne. II c would also be happy 10 draw 1 he

Tompkins Wal kcrs of the world, who ron pay 1'0'one-ot-a-ki nd pieces but who would also buy somelhing lc .. ss rare if it was extraordinary and they didn't have to wail many mont hs 1.0 receive n.

Friedman launched his experiment of sell'ing luxury brands on a grandish scale two and a ha I r yea I"S ago, but beca usc Restoration Il ardware is privately held, il'S difficult to ga 11 ge th c response 0 f the market. Even SO~ Friedman has already

I ransformcd 85 of Resto's

If a luxury sofa is like an original painting, and a cheap one is like a giftshop poster, a Friedman sofa is like a signed print

rcmaini ng 91 stores! and he claims tile com pan). is doing bcuer than it has in ils entire history.

[n person, friedman

e x udes a 'Vi sic na l"y 111 e: ic uta u sness~n 0 won der on e of his idols is Steve _j obs, and Apple's "Th ink Different" is a [avorite expression of his. And he's 'rying 1'0 in lusc his whole COm paIl)' wil h 'he same spiril of iconoclasm. He gOI k irked OlIL or junior college, claims to have read only IWO books in his life, didn't travel to Europe until he was 35, and didn't live in his own house until he was 1'1. "I don't know what can't be

done! because I wasn't brough L up or I rained in a certain way;' Friedman Sil)IS, referring to the benefits or his uncon-

vent ional design lh1.ckgrotllld. "I migh L see th i ngs 01 her peopic don't see because they've seen it it I housand times. I n it sense, I can have I he perspective or <1 elo ild."

Vel ~ he's also a Inaniacal perfectionist. When planni.ng his 011'1) house, he rejected three architects because they told him thai p" (ling a perfectly centered, symmetrical: building on a Belvedere h ill overlooking the Golden Gale Bridge was a problem I hey did not want \0 solve. (fried man's fussiness paid orr: His horne appeared in AnhilecJ",.ai Digesf in 2008.) •

co CO

SAVOR YOUR DAY

Sip & N.ibble . Drink & Dine. Shop & Taste. Stay & Play ...

Whatever the reason, Rendezvous at GSQ and discover

an urbon escape 01 wine bars, reslcuronts, boutiques, & cafes.

GhirardelliSQcom

. I Gl"iiraraelli Square Wine Festlva

-

~~ UNCORKED!'

.. ~rrt7_;· #7.:>..,.._ - C' n_ \...~

, " • r; ---S~tllrday, May 21, 2011

1:00pm - 6:00pm . m

·1 ble 01 G hi rc rde I hSQ.co

T «kets a re now ova I CI

900 North Point Street ot Beach & Larkin Street, I Phone 415.775.5500 Onsite validated parking I 2 block, West of Powell/Hyde Cable Car

AI Resto, Friedman oversees the slightest details of every piece of turnu ure he sells. down to the width and finish of a me lal ba n don th e woode n tru n k wh ere h is I em h er briefcase now rests (he sa)', he spends only five minutes a month at his desk).

1\, controlling a, he is, he has earned the right to have hi, way. Resto will live or die on Fried man's drive and eye, ami he knows it. "What'5 so grcm about th is, ami why I've had more fun limn ever, is because, for the first time in Ill}! career, I was able 10 make a business 100 percent personal," he explains, "What YOLI sec at Restoration Hardware is an expression or what I believe, what 1 like, and what 1 think is a grem way to live:'

FRIEDMAN'S LAUNCH OF HIS .RECONFIGUREC STORE LAST September was a potent symbol of [he brand's reinveruion-« and the event of the '''''50n [or a design community still in the 1'051.-2008 doldru "'5_ J nstead of choosing Corle Madera,

where Resto already had a store and its headquarters, Friedman decided (0 open in the 5,000-square-loOl, Palladian-style building in San Francisco Ihal housed anuque king Ed Hardy's

b usi ness [or 16 yea rs, The 'pace, d iscreeily set back lrom the street behind a

"People said

I was crazY,' Friedman says of his decision to create a new luxury brand right after the

recession

began.

crushed granite courtyard guarded by 14-100I-high wood e n ga tes, h ad served as an anchor to the design district, and Hardy had been famous lor the lavish ihemed pan ies he hOSl~",,1 [here. B UI during the downturn, he'd decided '[0 close.

Friedman was concerned that some 01" the design I oca Is wou Id grec I the new Resto 'with a "there goes the neighborhood" auitude, But instead, his Septernber 22 opening bash drew 800 people-and a line thai wrapped around the block lor two hours. The pany was rohosted by Archil,dw-,,/ Dig"/', new editor in chief, Margaret Russell, and it was auended by a headline-worthy mix of socialites, i nd "ding ronnel' Gap chair Bob Fishel' and his wife, Randi Fisher; the ageless Denise Hale; and Harper's Bazaar conuibmor and haute couture collector Tatiana Sorokko, plus boldface interior designers like Paul Wiseman, Ken Fulk, and j effry Weislnan_tli fanner fixtures of Bardy's exuavaganzas.

"I wanted the pany to create H kind of aspirational platform,' Friedman says, "10 signal io the designers. and archirecrs 'lloal this is a very different Restoration Hardware." It sec m 5. to 11 ave worked, l4TI1C ne w store h as bee n i III pCfGl bl r done,' says Gabriella Sarlo, whose own showroom is down the street, "The space is phenomenal, lind they've really cnp-

co CO

o " '" u

z

ffi

z

'" '"

iured a look thai appeals to I he general public." I ruerior designer Suzanne Tucker says thai the whole area is feeling th e love, "There' So re I1C wed fool tn.tH i.e 1 a 11 ew cons u rn er, and a new buzz within the trade."

I n a sense. fried man's entire life and career propelled him toward this moment of cOllvergcllC::e between iligh design and mass markering. At the age of I J, he had his first

e nco U ruer wi th cI a y-a nd IV h ilc his peers were rna king ashlruy:s and bowls, he carne up with an impressive Rodin-like "Thinker" (see Back SLOry, page 128). He would always be better at seeing and sketch ing than at listening a[1(1 reading, SO with college out of I he picture, Fried 'nan decided 10 Iocus hi, energies 011 a job at a Gap in Sarna Rosa. That's where he was mentorcd by :)dickey Drexler, the San Frnncisco retailer who turned the Gap from a small chain inro a massive worldwide SuCCeSS. (Drexler eventually moved back to New York and engineercd]. Crew's meteoric rise.)

Drexler shares Friedman's famously hands-on approach to hi, business-eat J. Crew, he set up a company-wide PA system, over which he blasts random question, and thoughts Iror ... his office. Friedman claims Drexler calls him his "best knockoff in the world"; Fried man, in turn, credits Drexler

w ith giv ing h im th e ronfid enre to shake off h is 'parse resu III e. "I started to think maybe I did know what I was talking about, even though I didn't go to college and get an MIlA." Indeed, Friedman say' he eventually became the youngest

m anagel; the you ngest dis tr ic I on" nager, ami lhe yOll ngest regional manager in Gap h isrory,

Aller that came hi, first foray "no horne design-and hi, second spectacular success. In 1988, at the age of 30, Friedman was lured to Williams-Sonoma by CEO Howard Lester, another Bay Area retail legend. I t turned Out that Fried man had the merchandising magic that Lester was looking 1'01; and during his 14-year len urc there, he opened the first \Villiams-Solloll1,a Grande Cuisine store, with its famous central kitchen, food halls, and tasting bar Ami when Lester wid him lO either 44f1x, closet or sell" Pouery Barn, Friedman chose the former=-aod transformed the chain into the fastestgrowing, most successful horne company in the world, taking il from a S50 million to a S 1.2 billion business in under seve n yea rs,

But then, in 2001, alter having been groomed for the position, he was passed over [or the role of CEO. "It broke my heart," Friedman says. Lester urged him 10 slay-iflle

didn't, he would lose up to 550 million in stock options, But it wasn't about the monc}'~ Friedman insists, "1 wanted to do what I loved. I 1'1 stayed, I he people who worked lor me would know I'd wid my soul."

That's when he landed at Rcstornticn Hardware. He had passed the Cone Madera SIOre many times while overseeing the consrrucuon 01' his own house, ami he decided to call up the founder, Stephen Gordon, who had opencd rhe first Resiorauon Hardware in Eureka in j 980, 10 SCOUI OUi potential job opportunities, II turned out that Gordon was ready to hand over 111e reins, and soon Friedman was assembling investors and kicking in his own resources to resuscitate the brand and rescue it from ncar bankruptcy

For I be next five years, Friedman went about upgrading the store (when he bought it, Resto's catalog featured Oxydol

detergent on its cover}, but lhe big move came in 2008--0<ldl r enough, righr alter President George W. Bush gave his speech warning of economic calamity. The next day, Resto "ales dropped 30 percent, and [he future ofLhe company was in jeopardy, but the one thing Friedman did nDI want 10 do was im uate his competitors by dropping hi. price, and compromising 011 quality. He llgured there were still enougb people at the higher end of the market who weren't in serious trouble, so he decided that [he smart thing to do Was to creme a brand-new market niche ... People thoughl I WaS crazy," Friedman says, "bill there was really no premium luxury Grand that had brought home design together with a lifestyle view,"

DEFINING ONESELF AS A ·CURATOR" RATH'ER THAN A retailer, one's Mores as "galleries,' and one's catalogs as "publicauons' may seem. like purring on airs, yet there's substance beh ind Resto's metamorphosis. Friedman has lapped a team of professionals tluu includes old-world artisans and antiq uarians and even Ed Hardy himself. who now consults on a part-i ime basis, Resto still sells familiar oflerings, such >1S bath fixtures and Italian bedding, but the emphasis is on the reproduced antique furniture. For example,

at :Vla(i}sonry, the Napa shop owned by One of his best friend" Michael Polenske, Friedman round a burlap chair lor 57,000, copied ii, and now sell, it for $1,295. ("You can't tell the difference, except maybe the burlap isn't quue a, worn," he says). In San Mateo, he lound an elegant pair of 18th-cen! ury tables lor 53,000 that became Resto's Linn's Head Side Tables, The smaller one sells for $795; the larger one, lor $995.

The idea of reproductions may sound declasse, but the techniques have come a long way since the days of the industria] revolution,

IV hen his torica I mod els were allen re I' rod uc ed IV i til c xcessiv e ornamentation. Revival-style houses, so popular in this country during the early 20lh century, were ellen filled with such overdesigned pieces. The backlash began when modernists decided thai rna" production could be a noble means of spread ins good design. Wh y would "om eon e want a cop y of" s tyl e lrom a b ygo nc era

when more relevant, 11 igll--collcepl design was available at an affordable price?

Friedman's approach is somewhat hybrid, embracing the artisanal and the democratic. SOIne pieces. arc Friedman's (or anot her designer's) take on an original design, but most are more Or less exact replica, of the real antique. The challenge, he says, is to caplure the essence of an original without making il look fake. "Even rhough many or these piece, were passed down through multiple genera[ion, and len in the barn, and t he min got through rhe roof and washed off the finish, the design, the proportions, ami the beautiful patina are all there," Friedman explains, "They lived a life and have a soul, which we lry to convey,"

He's helped by an array or European artisans working "round the globe-in BeUing, Vietnam, Poland, Italy, and Turkey. Resto's Maylalr Steamer Thinks, for example, are crafted in I he Chinese workshops of Timothy Duhon, a London antiques dealer and Iurnuure reproductionist. Each of the trunk> lakes three days 10 complete and feature. such hand-finished details as 3,000 hammered-brass nail heads. The price: from 5 1,'195 LO $2,995. ~

Karet Designs.

San Francisco Planning and Urban Research (SPUR) is a public-policy think tank that engages thought leaders and citizens in planning for the future of San Francisco. Funded with Koret support, SPUR's new street-level gallery space offers a range of dynamic public programs. Its trendsetting Young Urbanists initiative is designed t develop the next generation of civic leadership.

Friedman uses the Sail francisco space as a laboratory for these reconstructed pieces as well as f01' his real auuques. He'll install new finds, like tile mirror that was once two ,eparate architectural brackets holding lip a ceiling in a Parisian theater, lind wait 10 see customers' reactions. Once sud, an item has been displayed, it has gOlle into "development." which means dHlt artisans are ready lO create One especially lor you; all )'01'1 have [0 do is put your name on a list and wait, Even if no one bites, Friedman will ollen make One reproducuon all)'wa)" JUSt because he has fallen in love with the piece himself And his Belvedere home is filled with the originals, So at least there's a place lor them 106'0 jf Friedman decides LO keep them.

WAn STREET IS UNMOVED BY PERSONAL STORIES OF perseverance and against-all-odds success. It warns to be shown the money. But since Resto's financials aren't publicly available, ,,1OS1 analysis we asked would corn mern only generally on the company's Iuture prospect'.

Jerry Eppersou ] r, , a furnhure industry analyst with Mann. Armistead & Epperson, in Richmond, Virginia. thinks the economy is actually starting to Javor Friedman's decision, 'Atthe time, il WIlS i1 daring IHOVCr" he sa}ls. "But if you look at what's happened with the stock market since then-we just hit 12,OOO-itlooks like it was the correct one. The wealth ier customers are less likely 10 have their homes foreclosed and more likely to have their money in the stock market. AH those things are making him look preuy smart." lie pred ins that the cOlllpany will likely go public OIKe housing stocks improve! a trend that, in his estimauon, isn't tOO IhY" ofT. "When there', good news in the housing sector, the home builder stocks move, "lid then so do the home furnishings stocks, The owner, of Restoration Hardware will lISC that as an opportunity 10 hit the market with a good story."

But Cordon Segal, the cofounder- of Crate & Banel and its CEO [or 16 years, who has known Friedman since II is \>Villiams-..'>onoma days, worries that even if all that happeIls, the market for Friedman's aesthet it just IfI'igll1. 110t be large enough. "It's a veq' interesting new look, but you have to have a very big horne or a very big apartment,' be sa~. "Gary's grem skill is rcconceptualizing II is stores, bUI we don'[ know how it will urrn OUl."

Congenitally uninterested in the pack, Friedman is moving full steam ahead. Nexi moruh, he's opening a swanky East Hampton store, find he's begun consrrucuon on a 20,OOO-square-roOl store in the heart 0[' Los Angeles's design district. He is also heavily involved ill the creation of a coffee table book, i-limncily: The Natura! Q,-de.- of Desig«, that will codify the Resto brand', upscale look and reflect his personal design interests, "'1'1 ich include the theories of the Roman architect Vuruvius, a master of ~)'ml1lelry. And he would love to one dar sell French reproductions in France, England,

and Spain=-whh Asia beckoning on the horizon.

'·'N'e!rcjllSl warming up," he says .•

o " '" u

z

~

" '" '"

JOA,N~ E FUR 10 IS A CONffilSUTlNG 'lNHITE.R. FOR THIS 'SSIW E. SI-IE ALSO WROTE 'OFF TI1E WALL" [PAGE 50).

Gary Friedman, the m ind steering Restorauon Hard ware', bold new makeover ("Pie.ces of his Mind," page 82), is a whiz at selling, but his true gifts, which were apparCtll at 11 vcry young ageJ have always been visual. When he made I h is Rod i n-] i ke sculpt» re lor a n an class, he was only in seventh grade. "If I can see th ings, I have an almost photographic memorj," SIlYS Friedman, who never pursued ""I rorrnalll' bill has always been good 111 sketch: rig. "I'm jusl oriented that way," "OW he's ban king on his eye LO propel the new Resto: l le personally decides on all 0[' the piece, the 91·store chain makes and sells. And 10 this day, Friedman's "Th inker" sus ill 1'1 is home office in his Belvedere residence overlook: ng the Golden Gate Bridge. _

BY JOANNE RJRIO

PHOTOGRAPH BY ALEX FARNUM

Right-brain CEO

co C\I

-

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful