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The Grand Tourist Toasts Season 10 at Kasmin Gallery

With La Grande Dame 2015 Champagne in hand, a packed house of design leaders celebrated a storytelling milestone and the legacy of Les Lalanne.

May 13, 2024 By DAVID GRAVER

A limited-run poster created for the 10th season celebration of The Grand Tourist, designed by Matthias Ernstberger. Photo: Rebecca Smeyne

Within Kasmin gallery’s modernistic, StudioMDA-designed Chelsea space, The Grand Tourist hosted its 10th season celebration on May 8th in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood and arts district. Hundreds of visionary artists, designers, and editors packed the 3,000-square-foot venue to explore the current exhibition, Les Lalanne: Zoophities, itself a milestone commemoration. With glasses of Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2015 in hand, founder Dan Rubinstein and the design community toasted to the 100 episodes already released and shared anticipation over the season to come.

From left: La Grande Dame 2015 was served at the event; Designer Nicole Fuller. Photos: Rebecca Smeyne

One of The Grand Tourist’s dual podcast releases from May 8 was dedicated to Zoophities, the first exhibit of Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne’s works since the former’s passing in 2019. Curated by Paul B. Franklin from the collection of the French sculpting duo’s eldest daughter, Caroline Hamisky Lalanne, the exhibition aligns with the 60th anniversary of their joint solo debut in Paris circa 1964. Within the Chelsea space, the imaginative, artful works came to life—sometimes staged on beds of grass. 

From left: Kasmin’s Richard Buckley and Edith Dicconson; Julio Himede and Lee Broom. Photos: Rebecca Smeyne

Kasmin’s president, Nick Olney, explained “the Lalannes have been blurring the lines of art and design since the ’50s, playing between artistry and functionality. They’re not easy to categorize. To have an exhibition that delves deeply into their roots and the complexity of their artistic practice makes the perfect backdrop for someone like Dan who tells stories in a deeper way.” At the celebration, guests discussed the importance of design journalism and its changing landscape. “There is so much visual information shared about design,” Olney said, “but to be able to dig into the concepts, as well as the contextual and material underpinnings, you can begin to understand the stories that designers and makers are emerging from and the ones that they’re telling. To be able to do that in a format with the rigor and depth of real conversation, that’s critical.” 

From left: Zach Weiss, Charlotte von Hardenburgh, Jalil Johnson, Olivia Stutz. Photo: Rebecca Smeyne

In many ways, The Grand Tourist’s 10th season celebration was an ode to design dialogues at large—and the reality they seek to uncover across all creative industries, from style to art and travel. Amid the Lalanne works, acclaimed furniture and lighting designer Lee Broom said that, “Design journalism is a mirror of design itself. Journalists like Dan are the people out there during design weeks and at fairs talking to designers and manufacturers and looking at the works. Through them, you get an authentic assessment of what’s being produced, rather than what you’re seeing on social media.” Gina Ciancone of Moet Hennessy, an avid listener to the podcast, echoed the sentiment, “The Grand Tourist brings to life the stories of objects and brands that we interact with every day. Dan illustrates their backstory and informs us of who is behind them and how they are made. This storytelling makes your experience richer, your interactions more enjoyable.” 

From left: Casey Kenyon, Edith Dicconson, Gabriel Hendifar, Jane Keltner de Valle, Giancarlo Valle. Photos: Rebecca Smeyne
Dung Ngo and Nicole Hollis, center. Photo: Rebecca Smeyne

In ten seasons, across more than 100 episodes, The Grant Tourist has welcomed a diverse roster of guests ranging from design leaders Es Devlin, Kelly Wearstler, Paola Antonelli, and Pierre Yovanovitch to chefs Daniel Humm, Eric Ripert, and Thomas Keller. From powerhouse developer Harry Macklowe to pioneering architects David Chipperfield, Shigeru Ban, and Moshe Safdie, conversations have extended from design to our built environment. Artists, curators, and other innovators have lent their insights, as well. 

Rubinstein thanked them during the festivities. “A show is nothing without its guests,” he said, “and it’s nothing without our listeners. If you had told me five years ago that I was going to do a podcast from my living room during a global pandemic and then make it into a job, I never would have believed you—but here we all are.” As with each release day, throughout the celebratory, art-filled night, The Grand Tourist was once again at the center of the conversation.

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