We can think of no one in recent years who has changed the event landscape of the Hamptons as much as Rick Friedman
, whose inaugural Hamptons Contemporary Home Design + Decor Show opened on Friday at the Southampton Elks Fairgrounds. He brought these concept grand scale shows to the East End more than ten years ago, when he created the Hamptons Home and Garden Show. When the building boom receded, Friedman sold it, and "retired." He began collecting art, got serious real fast and decided the Hamptons was ripe for an art fair. Thus was born ArtHamptons
, actually the idea of longtime gal pal Cindy Lou Wakefield. The ancillary art fairs followed.
Simon Doonan and Jonathan Adler. (Photo: Lisa Tamburini)
"I'm always trying to stay a step ahead," he told Hamptons.com. "It's not fun following people. I really wanted to be a pioneer."
Rick had just sold his ArtHamptons, and its sister Aspen, Palm Springs, Houston and Chicago
art fairs and "retired, again, for a weekend," he said. With fine art firmly ensconced in the Hamptons, he shifted to luxury decor.
"The home becomes the canvas here," he said. "We are showcasing the most beautiful home furnishings in the world, stunning design inside and outside the house. There are 160 galleries from around the country and the world. I call them galleries, but they really are companies that provide the best and most beautiful interior design solutions."
Friday's opening night preview was hosted by Architectural Digest, Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons
) board president Lisa McCarthy
, and ARF board member Alex Papachristidis
, along with Jonathan Adler
and Simon Doonan
, Chesie Breen
, Thom Filicia
, Alexa Hampton, Celerie Kemble, Scott Nelson
, Ann and John Pyne, Elizabeth Pyne, and Vicente Wolf, to benefit ARF.
Highlights included Abby Modell
's Contemporary Art Glass, AGS Stainless steel railings, Southampton Masonry and Tile, Dragonfly Landscape and Design in Westhampton, Armac Martin cabinets from the UK and Aerolux Shades from India. We drooled over the Wolf, Sub-Zero and Thermador kitchen appliances. It's all about "integration," we were told, to make your Sub-Zero, microwave etc. blend into the cabinetry.
Since old habits die hard, there was fine art on the Hamptons Contemporary walls, even an Eric Fischl
from Cindy Lou Wakefield's house.
Cindy Lou Wakefield and Rick Friedman. (Photo: Lisa Tamburini)
"I'm so proud of everything Rick did," Cindy told us. "And now he's moving on and moving things in the Hamptons: changing it up and changing it out by broadening the spectrum. Hamptons Contemporary is more interactive than the art fairs. People can participate and be part of it because it's in their home not just on the walls."
For more information, visit www.hamptonscontemporary.com.