by Felix Burrichter

Patrizio Chiarparini, founder of Duplex Gallery, photographed by Felix Burrichter for PIN–UP.

Tucked away in the Mill Building in Williamsburg, at the end of a long corridor filled with shipping crates and Amazon boxes, is Duplex, a hidden gem of New York’s design scene. Somewhere between gallery and showroom, the 1,000-square foot white cube space hosts varying design exhibitions, often group shows that celebrate classic Italian design combined with contemporary creators, like Faye Toogood or Duccio Maria Gambi. Founded in 2015 by Patrizio Chiarparini, a six-foot-four Italian with the suaveness of a Venetian nobleman, Duplex is also the U.S. representative for many European design brands, such as Acerbis, cc-tapis, and the Swiss leather manufacturer de Sede. It was Chiarparini who connected de Sede with PIN–UP HOME, resulting in the eye-catching HARLEQUIN collection which launched earlier this year at MATTER and SHAPE in Paris. We checked in with the Chiarparini as he prepared the space for HARLEQUIN’s New York debut during NYCxDESIGN, on view till June 30th, 2024.

The DS-2011 HARLEQUIN photographed by Sean Davidson for PIN–UP.

Felix Burrichter: What is your background, and what led you to design?

Patrizio Chiarparini: Growing up in Asolo, Italy, in the Veneto region at the footsteps of the Dolomites, my aesthetic was not only dominated by the works of Andrea Palladio and Antonio Canova, but also by Carlo Scarpa [1906–1978]. Scarpa’s Brion Sanctuary was completed just around the time I was born, and its dreamy scenery of raw concrete and bodies of water captured my imagination and provided me with endless places to play. Later, when I moved to Venice to study business, the Pinacoteca Querini Stampalia — another Scarpa project — would be my go-to place. It wasn’t until I moved to New York in my mid-20s and worked for the Italian luxury furniture brand Giorgetti that I realized what an outsized influence Scarpa had on forming my design aesthetic.

How and why did you start Duplex?

While at Giorgetti, I refined my aesthetic sensibility and business skills working with some of the most prominent actors in design, architecture, and hospitality in America. By 2015, I had the urge to create my own brand, Duplex, which I consider a sort of microcosm of my personal idea of design — a Cabinet of Curiosities — that I can populate, grow, and share. The initial goal was to promote brands I felt particularly attracted to which did not have proper exposure to the U.S. market.

How would you describe the Duplex aesthetic?

Duplex has its roots in postwar Italy, when the country produced an unparalleled amount of work in the field of industrial design and architecture. Italian designers embraced new materials and technologies to create products that reflected the country’s radical social and political environment of the 1960s and 70s. There is a utopian quality to their creations that mirrors the extremes and contradictions of Italian society at that time, and their designs feel more vibrant and contemporary than ever. I particularly love to work with contemporary brands that capture that spirit and juxtapose old and new, past and future.

Patrizio Chiarparini photographed by Felix Burrichter for PIN–UP.

You live between L.A., New York, and the Veneto region of Italy. How do their design landscapes differ?

Cities have become more globalized as the shared cultural components increase, but there are still ways in which design manifests a place’s individual energy and culture. L.A. has a fantastic variety of vintage and historical pieces and a bustling scene of new galleries of collectible art and design. It’s a city very open to what is new. New York is America’s hub for design, a hyper competitive global vitrine for contemporary creations. Though Milano is the historical capital of design, the collectible design scene there has become more international and upbeat in recent years.

You work mostly with European brands, such as cc-tapis, de Sede, Acerbis, etc. What do the brands you work with have in common?

Many have a long history in their respective fields, with decades of experience and  highly developed craftsmanship that contribute to their reputation for quality and excellence.

What motivated you to connect PIN–UP HOME with de Sede?

de Sede is one of the true originals in the design and collectible furniture world, one that younger brands continue to look up to. PIN–UP readers are very intentional about original architecture and design, so I thought PIN–UP interpreting de Sede could be meaningful and exciting. Among de Sede’s most iconic designs are the DS-600 “Nonstop” or the DS-1025 Terrazza, but it is interesting to see that PIN–UP HOME chose a quieter house staple, the DS-2011, for reinterpretation. It is the perfect dialogue between a classic de Sede original and the buoyant, youthful spirit of PIN–UP HOME.

Installation view of Utopia, a Duplex exhibition that celebrated “the spirit of the second postwar Italian Design Revolution,” featuring works by Luigi Caccia Dominioni, Carlo Scarpa, Faye Toogood, Nanda Vigo, Cini Boeri and more. Courtesy of Duplex.

Patrizio Chiarparini walks around the exclusive Faye Toogood Roly Poly armchairs with cushions made from the ancient Casentino cloth from Tuscany, Italy of the Duplex X exhibition.

Faye Toogood’s Roly Poly armchair in the Duplex X exhibition. Photo courtesy of Duplex.

Who is the most underrated designer alive, and why?

Chiara Andreatti has a lot to offer. I like her cultural references and understated sensibility — what she creates is timeless. I would love to dedicate a show to her work at Duplex. Her potential has yet to be exploited.

Who is the most underrated designer who is no longer alive, and why?

How about the artist, architect, and designer Nanda Vigo? Her work often explored the relationship between light, space, and perception through a minimalist aesthetic with a highly poetic sensibility. Super modern and influential; certainly not mainstream.

If you had to live in a space furnished by only one designer, who would you choose?

Carlo Scarpa, of course. Architectural poetry. I wouldn’t mind Luigi Caccia Dominioni either.

The DS-2011 HARLEQUIN photographed by Sean Davidson for PIN–UP.

The DS-2011 HARLEQUIN photographed by Sean Davidson for PIN–UP.

The DS-2011 HARLEQUIN photographed by Sean Davidson for PIN–UP.

Do you have the urge to design something yourself?

I love designing settings and experiences. Duplex is the white cube where I can experiment. Ca’ Itzel, a property I recently acquired in Asolo, will be a special destination where Duplex will combine design, culture, and hospitality. It will be a platform for more selected clients to experience a more authentic, in-depth personal relationship to the work while transcending just the realm of products — it will be a way to share local culture, history, and architectural jewels.

What is your motto for life, and for design?

Good design, good life!

Patrizio Chiarparini photographed by Felix Burrichter for PIN–UP.

The DS-2011 HARLEQUIN is on view at DUPLEX until June 30th.