The brainchild of seasoned gallerist Amauri Aguiar and illustrious architect Bryan Young, Verso is a new kind of iterant gallery averse to the sterility of a standard white cube. For just over a year now, the fresh-faced platform has taken the industry to task through a series of unconventional shows at its Manhattan flagship, a space co-managed by equally innovative lighting brand Lambert & Fils.
Dissolving traditional definitions of mass and limited-edition production has allowed these expert purveyors to bring conventional furniture manufacturing and exclusive collectible design together under one roof. Arranging showrooms like lived-in homes is not necessarily groundbreaking these days, but Verso takes this concept one step further: Placing one-off functional sculptures in direct dialogue with quality products by companies like Paola Lenti and Tacchini, as well as heritage and emerging brands, provides buyers with a fully-immersive, one-stop experience. The hypothetical collectors of Rosie Li’s Bubbly 03 Floor Lamp might better understand how it can accompany a Gebrüder Thonet Vienna’s Targa Sofa, conceived by Swedish/Italian duo GamFratesi. This experiential, IRL approach is matched by an equally robust online presence, too, where customers can continue to shop.
“Verso was born to be a flexible, mobile, data-driven, and customer-focused operation, created to respond to these new market realities and opportunities,” Aguair said. Nowhere is this multi-pronged strategy better demonstrated than in the Bridge exhibition mounted at the experimental venue, Six Square House. Designed by Young and his team and completed in 2021, the 2,600-square-foot guest house clusters together six interlocking volumes. This spatial composition makes for a unique program of both common and private spaces, cleverly encircling a central courtyard. While a lattice-structured wood facade undulates into gabled peaks, intersecting interior walls are beveled for a perfect finish. “For the second time, we invited a group of designers and brands to help us create a showroom experience within a very specific architectural environment at the Six Square House. It’s something that would be impossible to achieve within a traditional white-walled gallery context,” he added.
On view through the end of summer, the dynamic Bridge showcase makes ample use of the home’s open-plan layout. A somewhat obstructed, curvilinear enfilade of living room, kitchen, and den—intersected by cathedral ceilings from time to time—provides the perfect backdrop for different visual vignettes. In one instance, a Lambert & Fils Silo Atelier 02 chandelier hangs above a vintage Pierre Chapo solid wood dining room table and chairs set. This minimal yet neotenic formal vocabulary is accentuated by Objects of Common Interest’s double torus volume Tube Chair. An Office of Tangible Space Niwa Rug adds a touch of whimsy to the storyline. Nearby, Sagarika Sundaram’s compressed fiber wall tapestry, Fingerprint, brings a bold, almost pixelated infusion of color into the equation. Zoe Mowatt’s cubically adventurous Tome Shelf of textured laminates helps transition the showcase from the den into the kitchen area.
The more intimate bedrooms, bathrooms, and built-in-storage alcoves that radiate off this core are also carefully staged. Yukari Hotta’s corporeal ceramic vessels take pride of place in a wooden clad pantry cut-away. A lawn, gardens, and an adjoining pool house are outfitted with equal aplomb. While Fango Studio’s Ibuju collection—woven by Colombian master artisans—serves as unexpected poolside furniture, Portuguese lighting producer Wentz’s outdoor flood light Fungi Series emerges like sunflowers from the courtyard.
Aptly, this year’s 25 exhibitor–strong presentation centers on the theme of common connectedness; the underlying appreciation of materiality combined with a cultivated aesthetic sensibility. One could even argue that this home—with no detail left to chance—embodies this philosophy to a tee. Like with Clara Jorisch’s Glass Chair, experimentation is championed at every turn.
Ever the scouters of new talents, Aguiar and Young are the first to exhibit Brazilian practices Estúdio Rain and Palma in the United States. While the former’s sculpted-wood Solida tables, stools, and benches reflect a radical simplicity with their subtly stacked elements, the latter’s cone-shaped Pinheiro Floor Lamps soar as high as the Six Square House itself, promotionally, of course. Along with a strong program staged in its Manhattan storefront and other unique venues farther afield, Verso will continue to activate its Bridgehampton outpost in the months and years to come.