Design isn’t precious in the world of Patrick Parrish. That’s pretty clear the moment he sits down on a tufted aubergine Ward Bennett sofa in his new Tribeca space and plops his iced coffee, still dripping with condensation, on a 1930s blue nude bronze.
A casual vibe pervades everything about him, from the way he easily mixes art and design to the way he encourages visitors—that’s right, not just collectors—to come in, pick something up and chat for a while. There isn’t even a display case in sight.
“The stuff I sell, you’re not going to go home and put it in a showcase. You could, but I think you’re going to go home and use it, or you’re going to go home and put it out and show your friends,” says Parrish. “But I will say, I could not have gotten here without Murray Moss locking the eight-dollar pen up.”
Parrish opened his new location on Lispenard Street this summer after 14 years doing business at the cult- favorite Mondo Cane shop and gallery. With the new location came the new name: his own. And when you realize how personal this project is for Parrish—there’s no dominant style or era represented here, just what captures his curatorial eye—the name change seems almost overdue. He admits, however, he sometimes still answers the phone “Mondo Cane” out of habit.
The dealer is slowly stepping into the spotlight after working his way up the design-world ranks from picker to personality. His quirky and informative blog, Mondoblogo, has attracted more than 19 million hits and his Instagram account boasts thousands of attentive fans. “I used to be just kind of in the back, kind of hidden, and no one ever saw me,” Parrish says. “And then the blog changed, I started interacting more. I’ve enjoyed being out front a lot more than I thought I would.”
With this open, educational ethos, visitors to the brick-and-mortar are invited to peruse through design books, while a collection of under-$500 offerings is intended to spark curiosity in young collectors. Parrish also champions young artists, like the ceramicist Cody Hoyt, whose work the gallery will present in a show this November. Giving artists like this their big break is one of the biggest perks for Parrish, one reason he was determined to keep his doors open.
“I really thought hard about opening another space and signing another 10-year lease,” Parrish says. “Some people think I’m crazy to have a shop like this again, but I was like, if this isn’t going to work, I’m going to go out until it doesn’t work.”
Portrait by Jeremy Liebman