Remastering the Past. Reacting against the artificial sheen of the modern world, GSL samples past glories in The Decorative Arts as might a music producer. These fragments of design history are spliced together to create original schemes, harnessing the production values of both the past and the present. The resultant creations elicit a double-take – works that feel both eerily familiar and strikingly new.
Borne from the experience of working closely with Europe’s finest ateliers on commercial projects, Masterworks™ aims to bring fresh creative thinking to time-honoured materials and techniques. GSL's debut collection celebrates Venetian smalti, and the Orsoni atelier, which has operated the city’s last functioning glass furnace since 1888.
Working from the belief that the interiors of the past are heirlooms of the present, GSL are committed to their preservation, and where possible, to their revitalisation. Following intuition to decide upon where to intervene, GSL embraces the passage of time and the patina it leaves behind. Each restoration is imbued with a cinematic atmosphere, inviting contemporary stories to play out against a sublimated historic backdrop.
Finding the sublime in the ephemeral. GSL collaborates with brands in order to bring to life narratives that showcase a moment in their history. Freed from the rational constraints that permanence imposes, the installation is a rare opportunity for pure, unbridled creativity. Each artistic expression explores the brand’s heritage and articulates it in a contemporary manner.
Treating commercial images with the same meticulous approach as a design or restoration, GSL works with fine art photographers to elevate the work above the mundane and the disposable. The resultant works are more artistic than an advertisement, carrying a weight of emotion that ensures that the work endures once all commercial objectives have been met.
Seeking to document The Guild's inspirations for posterity, John Whelan has teamed up with regular collaborator Oskar Proctor to produce their first title, 'Ateliers of Europe'. A visually striking monograph that pulls back the curtain on the Decorative Arts, it was published in February 2023 by Prestel.
GSL GALLERY is a new venture by The Guild of Saint Luke, located in a former factory north of Paris. Here, under immense industrial skylights, they will conduct aesthetic explorations of then and now.
The Guild of Saint Luke is a global affiliation of architects, artisans and artists. In thrall to the Decorative Arts of Europe, GSL conducts its operations across the continent, mining its collective archives for inspiration. By embracing the idiosyncrasies of each country in which they work, the Guild create locally sensitive projects that rhyme with the past and chime with the present.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY OSKAR PROCTOR