Graziella Semerciyan of Art, Craft & Design Gallery fashions a unique place in the world of vintage design


Based in Paris—and more recently part-time in Hyères—Graziella Semerciyan specializes in sourcing distinctive vintage art, design, and craft from across the globe and presenting her finds to new audiences in a seductive new light. The whole of her professional journey has been defined by developing ever deeper connoisseurship, but her uncanny flair for curation and styling seems to come naturally from within.

Graziella’s path has led from auctioneering studies to brick-and-mortar gallery ownership, onward to a director position at Piasa auction house and Art History instruction at the University of Paris VIII-Vincennes Saint Denis. But her latest incarnation—the (mostly) online Art, Craft & Design Gallery—is the full expression of her vision. Dedicated to, as she explains, “rare objects, carefully chosen and appraised to represent different creative universes,” every piece the gallery offers is beautifully photographed and expertly described—tailor-made for seriously savvy culture consumers like herself.

Graziella Semerciyan Photo © Karen Roze Reyes
Since last year, Graziella has been sharing her finely honed tastemaking skills with the buzzworthy, Pierre Yovanovitch-designed Villa Noailles Boutique. In collaboration with Yovanovitch, she has been charged with selecting the shop merchandise, both contemporary and vintage, and art directing its display. Drawn to the beyond-the-ordinary quality of her work, we reached out to Graziella to learn more.


How did you get into vintage art, design, and craft?

As a child, I used to cut and collage images from the auction catalogues that my father brought home. I enjoyed organizing the vintage furniture papers cutouts as if it were an interior. As a teenager, I decided to study to become an auctioneer, because I was thrilled to identify and appraise all kinds of artefacts. When I finally became an auctioneer, I chose to open a boutique gallery to have the ability to curate pieces to show and sell. I specialized in craft and furniture of the 20th century, because it was what inspired me most. Then, after a few years, I became the director of the Italian and French design department of an important auction house in Paris.


When did you launch Art, Craft & Design Gallery? What was the vision?

After five years in my own gallery followed by my experience at the auction house and another gallery-style website, I knew I wanted to do something different—on my own and in my own way. I launched Art, Craft & Design Gallery almost two years ago with a very precise vision: to present each creation through a strong art direction accompanied by precise descriptions about the context. Beyond the shop of this online gallery, I added a dedicated section for publishing texts about my favorite subjects, such as being a collector, artists’ studio collections, and the link between art, craft, folk art, and design.


A vignette of Graziella Semerciyan's globally-sourced collection Photo © Art, Craft & Design Gallery
How do you choose the pieces in your shop

I am very focused on exploring pieces that move me; pieces that tell a story about the makers and the owners and the rediscovery of forgotten artworks. I like to create sets of pieces that will highlight the formal link that exists between them, even though they are often not from the same culture or period.

I have several personal interests, but it’s been quite important for me to show craft and design from Japan. I am particularly familiar with and fond of Japanese culture and have studied at length the Mingei movement, which is rooted in the European Arts & Crafts movement that I also love. This inspires me to showcase craftwork and folk art from all over the world. When I like an object, I am willing to understand its function in everyday life and create the best environment for its presentation.

Apart from this, I have also a deep passion for French interior designers of the 1940s. Their creations represent a very theatrical way of approaching interiors, and I really appreciate this sensibility.


What are your favorite pieces that you live with in your own home?

I live with many of the pieces I propose in the gallery. I don’t want to have everything just languishing in storage. But because I don’t have a very large living space, I rearrange the pieces very often. I don’t like when my home has the same display every single day.


Graziella Semerciyan's curation at the Villa Noailles Boutique in Hyères Photo © Luc Bertrand
What trends do you see in the vintage market?

I think that the vintage market has explored everything from Scandinavia to Brazil, while passing by Japan, America, and more throughout the last decades. The aim is now to rediscover the most recent periods and to include them in the vintage domain.

As I am also curating the Villa Noailles shop in the South of France, I am very up to date and involved in the works of living designers, artists, and craftsmen. I think that it’s important to build a collection widely, with a large sense of curiosity to find interesting links between vintage and contemporary artworks.


What plans do you have in the works?

I am working more and more on craft and folk art from different areas. I am also deeply involved in this subject with several artists, editors, and galleries. I think that it’s time for us to collaborate to make everything more appealing.