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How Karine and Virginie Glustin, the Sisters Behind Paris-Based Galerie Glustin, Are Continuing Their Family Legacy

The sisters behind Paris-based Galerie Glustin continue a family legacy of prestigious design for discerning, global clients

Photo: Bastien Lattanzio

In St Ouen, located on the northern edge of Paris at the Vernaison market – the largest antiques and secondhand market in the world – sisters Karine and Virginie Glustin are continuing their parents’ storied business. Together, they are elevating Galerie Glustin with creations from the 20th and 21st centuries across three sumptuous floors to bring an old-world charm to the present. “Our grandfather was a cabinetmaker who started to work at the flea market in the 1960s, shortly before our father, Serge Glustin, alongside our mother, established the gallery,” says Karine, now head of communication at Galerie Glustin. Together with Virginie, the duo joined the company 25 years ago as the third generation to embark on a new chapter for the family business.

Chandelier in brass and antique glass. Photo: Bastien Lattanzio

At the time, the gallery specialized in French antiques, mostly from the 18th and 19th century. “A decade ago, we took a turn and decided to deal in French midcentury design antiques from the 20th century. When all these pieces were sold, we then showcased French and Italian vintage pieces,” Glustin remarks.

Pair of vintage ceramic lamps, France, 1960. Photo: Bastien Lattanzio

As many of the pieces at the gallery, including art and decorative items, were rare and difficult to find, the team decided to create in-house collections of furniture and lighting in limited editions made by French artisans. The legacy of the gallery has always depended on the master craftsmen from France and Italy, who use materials like wood and metal such as bronze to maintain the heritage of traditional methods from the past. The sisters have continued their partnership with these artisans and maintain close ties even as the brand delves deeper into a more contemporary aesthetic. “Today, we don’t like to limit ourselves to a specific category. We offer a large selection of pieces from the 19th century mixed with contemporary pieces of French and Italian designs,” Glustin says, adding that the gallery houses a wide variety of products and items, such as chic tables, seating, and intricately designed mirrors, as well as modern lighting and lavish chandeliers. A range of art-centric items are also on offer, including paintings, tapestry works, and sculptures.

Panoramic Colisée sofa, vintage painting with custom- made frame, France, 1960. Photo: Bastien Lattanzio

“We also offer a selection of decorative wall panels and sculptures that met with great success with some of our most exclusive clientele. Our top customers are decorators from all over the world, as well as celebrities, and princesses from the Middle East,” Glustin says.

Built on family values and closely linked to its customers, the gallery depends on its loyal and trusted client base, offering customization and personal consultations. What makes the gallery unique to its clientele, however, is its products, which showcase organic materials and a selection of semi-precious stones, including rock crystal, lapis lazuli, and jade set coffee tables.

Photo: Bastien Lattanzio

Themes at Glustin this year include coffee tables in rock crystal made in-house or signed and numbered by French artist Erwan Boulloud, colorful chandeliers, a resurgence in bronze furniture, and a collection of bold sideboards. These bring a touch of vintage allure while incorporating contemporary elements, such as the Pollen sideboard in brass marquetry, sculpted concrete, and rock crystal inlays within a four door design – yet another limited-edition piece signed by the artist Boulloud. The Miose sideboard is also a popular piece in burnt oakwood with doors in patinated bronze, further iterating the metal’s popularity in recent collections. The most eye-catching pieces are the gallery’s intricate and colorful chandeliers, which incorporate metallic materials, bringing a vintage touch to a modern product. Take the Sputnik chandelier in brass globes of opaline and blown Murano glass, another creation signed Studio Glustin.

Pair of vintage wooden armchairs. Photo: Bastien Lattanzio

With a long family legacy and storied studio location in the heart of Paris, the sisters look to expand their network. “We would like to insist on the fact that we stay focused on our Paris-based gallery, which our customers love to visit, and we don’t intend to expand with a physical space anywhere else,” Glustin says. “At the beginning, when we dealt with antiques, we already had a strong Middle Eastern clientele, who remained loyal as our gallery moved into selling vintage. Customers from the region do not hesitate to challenge us when seeking out their visions for their beautiful houses and projects – and we are more than capable of realizing these visions with our wide selection of distinctive design pieces.” There is no doubt that Galerie Glustin will continue to innovate for generations to come.

Half Moon cabinet in brass with rolled Serpentine jade stones. Photo: Bastien Lattanzio

Fatboy sofa upholstered with an ivory fabric. Photo: Bastien Lattanzio

Antique turtle shell on brass socle. Photo: Bastien Lattanzio

Originally published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of Vogue Living Arabia

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