“I think there’s a song by Future that really talks to the philosophy” is how Robert Keith, the founder and creative director of the California-based fine jewelry collection, Hoorsenbuhs, explains the way he and right-hand-man slash brand ambassador, Kether Parker, manage to keep their luxury brand high on A-listers’ radars while keeping a decidedly low profile. In the song “Low Life,” Future stresses the importance of remaining humble. Humility and authenticity are two qualities that have allowed Keith and Parker to grow their covetable line, which this month set root in New York City with the opening of a hybrid gallery and retail space in downtown Manhattan that, within days of opening, has already welcomed the likes of such notable clients as soccer star David Beckham.
The Hoorsenbuhs gallery, at 458 Broome Street, is impressive, but your run of the mill jewelry boutique it is not. The design recalls the eclectic, polished vibe of its Soho neighborhood: Beneath lofted ceilings, hundreds of hand-cast bolts line the massive walls of a room where display cases full of baubles have been artfully integrated. The centerpiece is a colossal structure standing on what looks like a physics-defying lone chain of steel. Talking to Keith, you learn it’s actually a feat of engineering achieved by collaborators who trusted his vision. “You have to kind of weed out the naysayers,” he says, “and then hopefully the more adventurous or evolved minds will come together somehow, and you’ll get it.” A shopable collection of limited edition clothing hangs in the back of the gallery, on the way to an open-air “vault,” built specially for the space, where Keith and Parker see clients. And, behind a massive metal counter, hangs a commissioned piece by another friend and collaborator, the artist Damien Hirst.
According to Keith, Hirst was a key factor in the gallery’s creation. After moving his business to the lower level of the same building, the artist’s vacant space became the canvas for the Hoorsenbuhs retail concept. Like most of Keith’s creative endeavors, the New York brick-and-mortar started with a sketch. Seeing that firsthand, its resemblance to the finished product is uncanny. “It’s the moment when you can see something actualized,” Keith says, “no matter what you went through or the process that it took to get there, you finally arrive at what you were envisioning.” Like the work they do regularly at Hoorsenbuhs’s Santa Monica Atelier, no stone went unturned nor detail spared in creating what Parker calls the “giant bespoke project.”
Arguably the biggest change for Keith and Parker in their new endeavor isn’t geography, but rather the transition from operating a single, exclusive atelier to running a public shop. So far, they’ve met this challenge with a strategy that appeases both kinds of customers their different spaces attract. Gesturing to the colossal gold vault, furnished with custom velvet-lined steel chairs, Keith says, “I’m realizing that this here is for our clients that want to come in and relate and enjoy the experience.” Moving his attention towards the rest of the space, he continues, “But there are also people that want to come in quickly, look, buy something and get out.” Parker adds, “We wouldn’t have known this until we got some customers in here and saw the flow of the place.” So, as Hoorsenbuhs embraces a different kind of luxury retail, its proprietors don’t plan to sacrifice the private, dedicated approach they built their business upon. Case in point: While the gallery is open to anyone, they still suggest calling ahead to book an appointment for the true Hoorsenbuhs experience.
Connect with Hoorsenbuhs on Instagram @hoorsenbuhs, or by calling the 458 Broome Street Gallery at 646-755-8869.
All Photos Courtesy of Hoorsenbuhs