Knowing shoppers watch Warren Street with all the urgency that baseball fans bring to the World Series. Something exciting seems to happen there nearly every day, but no day outshines the recent one when designer Chris Lehrecke opened his eponymous shop. Lehrecke's work, which normally is available only to-the-trade through the prestigious Ralph Pucci showrooms, is art historical. His name will go down in the annals of furniture-and-lighting design alongside the giants who inspired him—George Nakashima, Hans Wagner and Jean Prouve. He shares his space with two no-less outstanding talents, jewelry-and-decorative-object designer Ted Muehling and Muehling's former pupil (and Lehrecke's wife) jewelry designer Gabriella Kiss. All three artisans' work is inspired by
nature, so, despite the disparity in scale, everything in the store seems to be of a piece—a refined forest of trees, stumps, rocks, shells, insects, and eggs. Their presence on Warren only cements the improbable notion that this 2-mile thoroughfare in the seat of a rural county in upstate New York has become a world-class destination for connoisseurs.
Apart from the evident influence of the mid-20th-century modernists, Lehrecke work reflects African, Japanese, and Shaker design traditions. "All the woods I use are collected from within a 50-mile radius of here," he says.
Gabriella Kiss studied sculpture at Pratt Institute, where she learned the wax-model casting technique that makes her jewelry so distinctive.
Ted Muehling's oxidized bronze candlesticks offer 17 variations on three basic shapes—an egg, an attenuated rod, and a trumpet. The darkened bronze accentuates the silhouette.
Lehrecke's shop is filled with spare, well-made things, such as his lamps with translucent shades made from wood veneers 1⁄42-inch thick, that appear to be neither the product of this moment nor any particular one in the past. The handmade mirrors by Old Chatham resident Maureen Fullam, for example, are spartan and frameless, yet their silvering is cloudy and mottled, making them appear at once poetic and antique yet modern.
Lehrecke and Kiss live and work in the Dutchess County hamlet of Bangall, and the shop is part of the couple's recent effort to be more connected to the area. Red Devon, a locavore restaurant in Bangall, commissioned Lehrecke to design lighting fixtures for its dining room, a project he found particularly satisfying. "I'd like the store to turn into a lab, where I can try new things," he says. "Even now, there are a lot of one-of-a-kind pieces there."
428 Warren Street, Hudson; 845.802.6187
Thursday - Sunday, noon - 5 p.m.