Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Antique Dealer/Designer I Love: Darin Geise

With the opening September 30 of his brilliant new COUP D’ETAT design, antiques and art showroom in San Francisco’s design district, Darin Geise becomes a major icon for trend-hunters, and for antiques thrill-seekers and design adventurers alike.

Coup d’Etat, with this dazzling new gallery, is a major must-see studio for designers, architects, collectors, and curators of style. 

I’ve known the great Darin Geise since he first opened Coup d’Etat, his antiques company, to sell a fresh selection of quirky industrial findings, highly original upholstered pieces, along with confidently selected lighting, antique and new furniture, silvered mirrors, and grand-scale English or American pieces to add panache to any interior. 

It was all put together with care, thought, insight, focus and great style. And it always looked provocative, modern and alluring. A jolt!

Best of all, Coup d’Etat vignettes and collections did not look like anything you’d ever seen before. Decorators flocked to acquire his wing chairs, orb-shaped rusted metal lighting, barrel chairs, chrome lamps, medical diagrams, fetishy sculptures, found objects (lots of those, his eye is fantastic), velvet-upholstered ottomans, lush silver, and a bit of weirdness and lots of wonder. 

I’ve taken design students to study his gallery on Rhode Island Street in San Francisco and they were mesmerized. They were also intoxicated by the fragrance, oh, so alluring, from his Cire Trudon candles and the whiff of history from all those club chairs and whacking big chaises longues. I imagined that Darin might find some of the students the next morning, curled up and fast asleep, smiling still in their dreams, on his tufted sofas and over-stuffed armchairs.

Antiques galleries today should look like this—no theme and no ‘look’, but lots of action and elegance and rough contrast and shock and perhaps even terror. At first.

Darin moves you forward. You move with him. 

Now Darin has thrown a big party on September 30, and launched his newest iteration of Coup d’Etat, right next to his former gallery. This time bigger, and with Erin Martin’s great collections.

Darin changes the way you see design, opens up new possibilities, and makes even the most knowledgeable designer re-think and re-consider everything they know and like. Rough and smooth, industrial and refined, old and new, handcrafted and machine-made, it all comes together with provocation and deft placement. 

Darin made a big leap into the decorator world in 2008 with a superb room he designed for the San Francisco Decorator Showcase. He selected the tiniest of wine-storage closets, a mere wisp of a room, and turned it into a breath-taking cabin of dreams. See the images here. Please note that this grand-looking retreat, so romantic and original, is actually about a seagull’s wingspan wide. Matthew Millman’s photography makes it look grand. It’s miniscule, but so imbued with style that you can’t look away. 

This year, Darin Geise was invited to design the wood-paneled study at the San Francisco Decorator Showcase. His design proposal was bold and witty, and the completed room has great charm and an elemental feeling. Visitors and designers perched themselves in the chairs and did not want to leave. 

Now Darin is a designers’ darling, diving into his newest venture, a magical new and larger gallery and a fresh setting for his ideas and inspirations.

There are new lighting pieces, and lots of upholstered chairs and settees to capture attention. As I write this, it is all coming together, but is not camera ready.

Make a beeline to see it. And if you are in San Francisco—or can get on a plane—be sure to visit and spend time there. You’ll linger over the massive tables and refined velvets and lovely wood pieces that he does so well.

No doubt you’ll be intoxicated by the fragrance of Cire Trudon candles. I think you will not leave empty-handed. Definitely, you should not.

Bravo to Darin Geise. He’s an unstoppable force of concepts and daring moves and his style creates shivers and shakes to move design forward.

I can’t wait to see it all pulled together.

Congratulations to Darin and his team. 


Year Coup d'Etat was founded: 2004 

New address: 111 Rhode Island Street, Suite 1, SF CA 94103 

Coup d'Etat is on 1stdibs.com: www.coupdetatsf.com (redirects to 1stdibs.com launching an updated website soon.) 

Photo credits: 

Portraits by Devon Elizabeth Butler
Constructionist Design Studio, 300 Bella Vista Way, San Francisco CA, 94127
(917) 291 1781 

Showroom images by Devon Elizabeth Butler.

Photography of rooms designed by Darin Geise at the 2009 and 2010 San Francisco Decorator Showcase by Matthew Millman, www.matthewmillman.com.

All photography used with permission. Special thanks to Devon Elizabeth Butler and Bob Wilms.


Madina Aryeh said...

Darin's room in the showcase this year made me come back several times and spend as much time there as I could due to the crowd. It was breathtaking!!!

Valerie Wills Interiors said...

I adore Darin's style and love nothing better than to wander around his store.

Claudia Juestel said...

I used to buy from Darin since he sold at the flea market years ago. He has come a long way since then, and his new showroom is fabulous. Love all the large-scale pieces!

Brillante Interiors said...

From the images and from your vivid description it looks like a must to visit. You have so much going on in San Francisco...I may decide to come down soon.

peggy braswell said...

Oh be still my feet. Can't wait to see Darin's goodies. Thanks for a wonderful post. xx peggybraswelldesign.com

Mark Newman said...

Dianne, I couldn't agree more! Darin's unerring eye is always inspiring, and the showroom is true design theater. I'm thrilled to see the SF design community embrace his vision.

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Hi Dear Design Friends-

The party was great (a crush of hundreds) and now Coup is up and running.
Darin Geise--with no great narcissistic push--has impressed the design world here with his sense of style, gravity, wit, grace and energy.
I believe that any designer visiting San Francisco must make a visit here.
Note the interior decor--by Erin Martin--includes handsome gray walls as well as a bare floor made from scaffolding timbers. Gritty and weighty, it looks fantastic.
Bravo, Darin--this is a fantastic addition to the California and international style scene.
cheers, DIANE



Grant K. Gibson said...

We are SO lucky to have SUCH talent in San Francisco.
It has been amazing to see Darin's style evolve over the years with each of his spaces.

The party was THE party of the fall!
The energy of people having the best time.

Bravo to Darin and his team.

P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

L O V E. Monumental & evocative. Where would I be without your "findings", certainly Less Than. again, thank you for that. pgt

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Hi Grant-

I agree. For designers, Darin is a key source. I've often said that if I encountered a gallery such as this in London or Clignancourt or SoHo I would be knocked out. He's here on the West Coast, somewhat hidden on Rhode Island Street, and of course every top designer finds him. I love the new space.

Hi Little Augury-

You would so love Coup. Darin has a certain formality in the showroom -- every vignette is a design lesson--and as you noted so perceptively, his sense of proportion is daring and dramatic.
He points in a new direction for the use of antiques. Note that he appreciates classic proportions and his seating arrangements are classic, and then there is a great whirling industrial light fixture, or a painting by Topher Delaney, or an abstract sculpture to throw all into wonderful confusion and delight.
LA--wish you could come and visit and I'd take you on a tour. Think about it.

cheers and all that--DIANE

Unknown said...

He definitely makes a bold statement. I love that! I could spend hours in these spaces. Rich and interesting.

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Hi Carla-

Thank you so much for your comment.
You are right--these are spaces to visit, to linger in, to view, to ponder. I like that.
They're shocking and surprising--and definitely
I hope you can come and visit in person.
very best, DIANE

vicki archer said...

Hello Diane,
Sadly I won't visit in person but these images are the next best thing. 'Deft placement'....could two words be more apt? I don't think so...xv

Unknown said...

looking forward to visiting darrin's gallery the next time i travel up north!

Velvet and Linen said...

Steve and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Darrin's gallery the day after his grand opening. He has an amazing eye for the unique and beautiful. We were both impressed by his ability to pair unusual pieces that compliment each other. Each vignette was a piece of art!


livingwithstyle said...

Hello Diane,

What a wonderful post on Darrin! He is just fantastic!

He was my first boss in the the design world, he hired me when I was 22 and had just move to SF from Boston. He is very talented, has always had amazing taste and is a very down to earth person -- and just fun to be around. I am so happy to see him going from strength to strength with his antique business! I certainly learned lots from him!

Best regards,