Lofty Ambitions

Urban Eclecticism: Fisher Grey expertly mixes vintage classics with custom furniture and the creations of friends and neighbors.

As Published in Interiors Philadelphia, October 2018

An appealing arrangement of newly-upholstered vintage Ward Bennett tufted leather chairs and a custom sofa designed by Fisher Grey alongside a custom live edge wood coffee table by John Struble, Saporiti Onda lounge chair and an Arredoluce Triennale floor lamp.  Photography by Gregg Krantz

An appealing arrangement of newly-upholstered vintage Ward Bennett tufted leather chairs and a custom sofa designed by Fisher Grey alongside a custom live edge wood coffee table by John Struble, Saporiti Onda lounge chair and an Arredoluce Triennale floor lamp. Photography by Gregg Krantz

In the heart of Philadelphia’s Callowhill neighborhood, on the fourth floor of a former industrial building that overlooks the new Rail Park, a world of treasures awaits. Down a hallway lined with smart Harvey Probber chairs upholstered in a fabric from David Adjaye for Knoll Textiles, the light-filled offices of design firm Fisher Grey (fishergrey.com) look move-in ready. Partners Joshua Thibault and Gregg Krantz relocated to this spacious loft about 18 months ago.

After launching their practice in 2012—the moniker may sound like something you remember from a Gilded Age novel, but it’s crafted from Krantz’s mother’s maiden name and the fact that Thibault’s hair went the way of gray early—they often found that they needed the perfect vintage accent chair or piece of art to give a room its final polish. But instead of an overflowing storage space, the pair opted to style this welcoming showroom. “When we lead our clients through the design process, it’s exciting to show them how a two-dimensional fantasy can transform into a three-dimensional reality,” says Krantz. The chance to experience “objects, textures and forms in a large open space can be really inspiring,” he adds.

The space, like their business, is a mix of interior design and curation of both vintage pieces they’ve collected and new ones they’ve designed or made. Krantz, who trained in art history as well as photography and printmaking at Boston University and Tyler School of Art in Rome, created some of the eye-catching prints that line the walls of their showroom.

Thibault, who studied interior design at Drexel, worked for local firm Fury Design before striking out on his own. His familiarity with Philadelphia’s architecture both old and new has taught him that eclecticism—harmonizing pieces from different time periods and different styles—is just what today’s living spaces require. “People don’t necessarily want—or need—an all-1950s interior,” he says. “They want a place in which their own collections and personalities can shine through, designed in a way that makes sense in their home.”

Harry Bertoia’s Bird chair for Knoll cozies up to stone- top tables designed by Fisher Grey and a rattan ottoman by Franco Albini.  Photography by Gregg Krantz

Harry Bertoia’s Bird chair for Knoll cozies up to stone- top tables designed by Fisher Grey and a rattan ottoman by Franco Albini. Photography by Gregg Krantz

Their loft makes that process a visual treat. An exquisite Cartouche sofa designed in 1978
by Ward Bennett is so perfectly geometric that it looks as though it were somehow carved by hand out of silvery mohair. (In fact, it’s just beautifully upholstered.) A graceful 1960s Arco lamp designed by Achille Castiglioni confidently anchors one corner of the space. An extra-deep gray sofa of the company’s own design is inspired by the wide- armed pieces at the Peggy Guggenheim Palazzo in Venice, Italy. Furniture by their downstairs neighbor and friend, woodworker John Struble, looks right at home with inventive ceramics by Trish DeMasi, a Philadelphia-based artist.

Another friend and neighbor, Michelle Liao, helped organize a pop-up installation in her gallery
in December 2015, in which Fisher Grey’s modern furniture was paired with Liao’s Asian antiques. The success of that event inspired them to try it again in early 2016 in the form of the “Design Collaborative” at interior designer Marguerite Rodgers’ Kensington space. Now that Fisher Grey has a creative room of
its own in which to think through what might come over the horizon next, the possibilities for the duo are as limitless as the view from their aerie. “Every piece in our collection has a story, and it’s a joy to help clients find the ones that they love and can’t imagine living without,” says Krantz.

Bennett’s Cartouche sofa in gray mohair is adorned with custom-made vintage textile pillows and set before a series of antique Chinese bamboo screen panels.  Photography by Gregg Krantz

Bennett’s Cartouche sofa in gray mohair is adorned with custom-made vintage textile pillows and set before a series of antique Chinese bamboo screen panels. Photography by Gregg Krantz

The artwork is by Krantz, who is pictured above (standing) with Thibault at a Florence Knoll table.  Photography by Gregg Krantz

The artwork is by Krantz, who is pictured above (standing) with Thibault at a Florence Knoll table. Photography by Gregg Krantz