Tucked away on an anonymous street in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood, the storefront and gallery The Index Ltd is almost as rare a find as the objects it harbors. The space—home to the work of Jonathan Roquemaure—represents the culmination of his healthy obsession with sourcing and documenting materials and objects that have singularly fascinating purposes, characters and origins.
While each object’s uncommon looks are compelling enough on first blush, the history behind their materials and past utility often requires a little digging. Reflecting Roquemaure’s own ingenuity in finding and learning, his catalog comprises a carefully considered index of objects—from an eerie surgical table to children’s fencing masks and rare Mexican pottery (recently acquired through an iPad swap) to an 18th century Japanese dye-shop ledger, and so much more. Currently hanging from the pressed tin ceiling, a remarkably brilliant and ultra-rare seven-tier Italian Crystal Venini chandelier from the ’50s weighs in at over 300 pounds.
Thanks to his quest for these obscure commodities, Roquemaure has become a walking tapestry of intriguing stories, arcane cultural knowledge and craft expertise. His search for tribal textiles, for example, took him to the isolated area of Xieng Kok in Laos, which he describes as so remote “the last foreign traveler they had seen was six months prior.” Traveling from Switzerland (where he lived for a time), the journey took eight days and included a combination of air, bus, taxi, rickshaw, collective bus, walking and then hiking into the hills before reaching his final destination.
Roquemaure, who traces his unusual interests to merchant ancestry, has a natural insatiable curiosity but also cites a roster of talented professionals and peers as interests, such as Paula Rubenstein, Roman & Williams, Bob Melet, Josef Koudelka, Graciela Iturbide and the man behind Wyeth Home.
More than just a fascinating gallery of extraordinary objects and materials, the range and depth of Index doesn’t just respond to current trends but makes its own contribution to the language of interior spaces.