IN A PRE-WAR TENEMENT BUILDING in Harlem, Paul Johnson of SoHo’s Johnson Trading Gallery renovated an apartment from scratch. Take a look here into his private collection of boundary-pushing works.
It started for the 34-year-old Johnson, a Toronto native, on a weekend trip to New York in 1999, when he visited the now-vanished 26th Street flea market. His first big find was a four-piece Raymond Loewy plastic bedroom set, which he scored for $1,000 and sold for $17,000.
Dropping out of grad school, he lived out of his van for two years, traveling the country in search of material. At first he sold privately, then opened Phurniture in NoHo, which he shuttered in 2007 in favor of the new Johnson Trading Gallery on Greenwich Street.
Above: Tobia Scarpa sofa and chairs and Willy Rizzo coffee table, 1970s Italian
In Johnson’s cutting-edge gallery, there are pieces by leading lights like George Nakashima, Wendell Castle, and Paul Evans, which act as akind of historical springboard for limited editions by emerging artists like New York-based architects Benjamin Aranda and Chris Lasch, whose work is informed by crystalline structures found in the natural and digital worlds and Max Lamb, a young British artist who works in pewter, stone, and foam.
Below: Paul Evans cabinet
Right: Rare Isamu Noguchi galvanized chair, 1938
Below, top to bottom: Mario Bellini floor lamp, 1970s
Paul Johnson on Shlomo Harush aluminum chair, 2007
Mario Ceroli plywood chairs, 1970s
Kitchen with custom stainless cabinets, laundry sink