PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity October 2023 Houston

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Blackman Cruz an exquisite push-pull, attributed to the co- owners' fundamental differences in tastes and backgrounds. Adam Blackman started his career in theater. He has a flair for the dramatic and a penchant for 19th-century animal automatons made in Paris by Roullet & Decamps. The obsession has evolved into a vast and charming collection of mechanical monkeys, pigs, polar bears, cats, tigers, and elephants. He travels across the country By Rebecca Sherman In 1 9 9 3 , w h e n A d a m Blackman and David Cruz opened their Los Angeles showroom on La Cienega Boulevard, established antiques dealers in the area referred to them as "the junk store on the corner." Despite the initial snub, Blackman Cruz quickly developed a following among top interior designers, art world professionals, and celebrities who were drawn to the eccentric mix of industrial pieces and curiosities, along with European and American furnishings. The store was known for its Friday-night speakeasies, extravagant window displays, and macabre collections of mug shots, coffin carts, and embalming slabs — all improbably balanced by rare pieces The influential and fabled L.A. design gallery celebrates a 30- year milestone with a book and appearance at Texas Design Week Dallas. by Frank Lloyd Wright, Jean Prouvé and Arturo Pani. In 2007, the showroom moved to Highland Avenue in a building once occupied by the storied gay disco Probe, where it has remained. The new space allowed for greater creativity, including the creation of exquisitely styled environments as a way to display their unusual and provocative wares. If Blackman Cruz's macabre-chic aesthetic was years ahead of its time, so were those environments, which spanned a variety of centuries and design styles. Interspersed between sumptuously styled vignettes of pre- Columbian Mesoamerica and 1950s Italy, you might stumble across a pair of French 19th-century mirrored brothel chairs or a sculptural display of antique barbells. It's Eighteenth-century Sicilian Baroque mirror Clarke & Reilly sofa upholstered with antique hand-embroidered manton de Manila at Blackman Cruz SIDNEY BENSIMON 74

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