Twentieth owner Stefan Lawrence has always existed in the creative space. “I grew up in an artistic home with work from both my parents on display,” he says. “From my earliest memories I was encouraged to participate and went on to receive a BFA in college.” After working as a commercial and editorial photographer in New York, Lawrence moved to Los Angeles, and founded the design gallery whose name was inspired by the mid-century modern aesthetic in 1999.
Since then, the gallery has evolved considerably, and in 2014, moved to a new building designed in collaboration with renowned L.A.-based architect Neil Denari, which marked a transition away from mid-century work and shifted its focus entirely to contemporary design.
Even before Twentieth’s complete transition to contemporary design, Lawrence was relentless in his search for new talent starting with Moooi, Tom Dixon, Established & Sons, and Droog in the early 2000s, and continuing today with emerging designers such as Christopher Boots, Julian Mayor, Bec Brittain and Videre Licet, among others.
Asked how he chooses the creative minds who are represented by Twentieth, Lawrence says, “We look for designers who are exploring new forms, new materials, and who have developed a refined vision that we feel has relevance to the international design community.”
And while Lawrence stays abreast of the changes in the design world, he has also witnessed first-hand the local market’s evolution over the past two decades. “Los Angeles has evolved from a Hollywood town to becoming a destination for creative people in many fields, not only as a place to visit but to relocate to,” he explains. “There has been an enormous influx of artists and creators here in the past five years, and a lot of the focus on culture in the United States is shifting from New York City to Los Angeles as a result.”
Always working on new concepts and projects, Twentieth expanded in 2016 with an exhibition space next door called THE NEW, co-curated by artist Daniele Albright, who was instrumental in bringing contemporary design to Twentieth as co-creative director since 2000. Rotating exhibitions are presented throughout the year with limited-edition pieces that reflect the blurred line between art and design.
THE NEW is currently showcasing works by Mattia Biagi—on view until May 15—and, starting June 1, will feature a series of rugs from Swedish rug company Henzel Studio designed by contemporary artists such as Marilyn Minter, Helmut Lang and Richard Prince.
With this space, “planning new exhibitions is an ongoing part of the development process and creates a dynamic of constant change and evolution,” says Lawrence. “We’ve been proud to have been a part of the evolution of Los Angeles as a city relevant to the international design community.” twentieth.net