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Special Fall Home Design Issue | Display

The big easy

September 28, 2003|Barbara Thornburg | Barbara Thornburg is senior home design editor for the magazine.

Paintings by Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha, Robert Ryman and other top artists hang in Eugenio Lopez' West Hollywood pied-a-terre. Co-owner of Chac Mool gallery in West Hollywood and listed by Artnews magazine as one of the top 200 collectors in the world for four years in a row, Lopez wanted a neutral backdrop for his collection of post-World War II contemporary art.

James Magni of Magni Design in Los Angeles obliged by stripping the walls, which had been covered with mirrors, stainless steel and grass cloth. He assembled a collection of sleek contemporary furnishings--silk rugs, cashmere-upholstered sofas and chairs, African ebony tables--in an understated palette of taupe and sable hues. "Creating a streamlined environment really allowed the art to take center stage," he says.

Of the 40-plus pieces in the apartment, Robert Gober's plaster-and-wood "Flying Sink" sculpture proved the most challenging. Weighing more than 400 pounds and nearly eight feet long, the unwieldy piece took six men to lift and slip over cleats anchored into the wall. "We couldn't just look for a stud and put a few nails in," Magni says. To reinforce the wall and disperse the load over a wide area, the drywall was removed and the entire wall surfaced with 3/4-inch plywood. Although Lopez, whose personal collection exceeds 1,200 pieces, likes moving his artwork around, Magni says, "the Gober piece isn't going anywhere else."

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Resource Guide

Magni Design Inc., Los Angeles, (323) 866-0600. Carre dining room oak chairs with cashmere upholstery, $1,390; Jones 60-inch round African ebony dining table (with four leaves), $12,000, at Magni Classic Inc., Los Angeles, (323) 653-8228. Chac Mool Gallery, West Hollywood, (310) 550-6792. L.A. Packing, Crating and Transport, art shippers, installers and storage, Los Angeles, (323) 937-2669.

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