Life & Culture

Jermaine Gallacher, the Off-Kilter Design Dealer and Interior Designer

For the Autumn/Winter 2019 issue of Another Man, Jermaine Gallacher talks to us about the things he likes, the things he doesn’t and a lost night out with Grace Jones

Design dealer, interior designer and wine bar founder Jermaine Gallacher loves objects with a weird story and weirder silhouette that wouldn’t look out of place in an 80s hair salon.

Buying and selling furniture at Old Spitalfields Market while studying at Camberwell College, Gallacher’s singular aesthetic first began to make sense when a tutor commented on how his squiggly zigzag paintings resembled Memphis designs. It’s a mix of kitsch, abstract and outsider strangeness that defines the off-kilter mood of his showroom, as well as the made-to-order wavy Moroccan rugs he creates with producer Sabrina Kraus López. A crude edge that reflects his renouncement of all things lovely.

The first to admit he has a chip on his shoulder about not being taken seriously as an artist in his own right, Gallacher talks to Another Man about waging war on the eBay know-it-alls, and a lost night out with Grace Jones.

“I’d just finished at Camberwell and was doing the grand tour, and I remember seeing an Eileen Gray show at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and that was a big turning point for me. I was like, fucking hell, this could be a job!

“Set designers and artists really influence me, as well as people whose work I sell or collaborate with. But they’re my friends, without meaning to sound nepotistic. I’m not really into seeing what other dealers are doing – I might like some of their things, but I don’t look around and get jealous. If I took notice of that I’d just be stressed all the time.

“With what I do you’re always trying to create a narrative. And when you find something you want it to have a story. I’m not interested in things that are well known, I don’t want that, I don’t care because a story just stops. I like things that are a bit more ambiguous. It’s more interesting, and you can charge more for it! I don’t really want something that you can find on eBay; something that some smart Alec can tell me how much I should be charging for it. It’s very boring. Sometimes, I burst out laughing thinking about the absolute nutters that must have made some of the things that pass through my hands, and I love to imagine their stories.

“I like things with a silhouette. Things with strength. There’s a real danger at the moment of everything being lovely, a bit too fucking lovely. I hate plain, and minimalist, and lovely. If clothes can move you and art can move you, then why can’t an interior?

“Spaces like those stores in the 80s, like the old Thierry Mugler and Gaultier stores. Anything that Andrée Putman did, but the stores in particular. They just went fucking mad in those old Parisian stores. They gave designers carte blanche to do whatever they wanted. Today it’s all about commercialism, but it used to be about the interior designer’s taste. Now the client knows best, even though they clearly don’t.

“The story about me that I always bore people with is actually set in Paris, I had dinner there with Grace Jones, then went partying with Kate Moss. I can’t remember how it came about exactly, but I was out with the artist Matthew Stone at a fashion party, and they were playing Chaka Khan and Sister Sledge. There’s this amazing photo somewhere of me and Grace Jones stepping out of Brasserie Lipp together, so it really was quite fucking glamorous. Usually I find other people’s stories quite tiresome though. I just zone out. Drunken and drug-fuelled stories are very tedious. Unless they’re my own!”

GROOMING Mark Hampton at Julian Watson Agency using L’Oréal Professionnel & MAC Cosmetic HAIR COLOURIST Harriet Muldoon at Larry King Salon SET DESIGN Paulina Piipponen PHOTOGRAPHIC ASSISTANT Stewart Capper STYLING ASSISTANT Fergus O’Reilly HAIR AND MAKE UP ASSISTANT Mizuki Kida

A version of this article appeared in the A/W19 issue of Another Man.