In Portland, A Design Office Doubles As An Art Gallery


On View: Front Of House Gallery

Portland interior designer Jessica Helgerson is well-regarded for her understated and cozy work in residential and commercial spaces, but she also doubles as a curator–in her very own workplace.

The aptly named Front of House Gallery is the welcoming threshold to her interior design office, which she fills with installations in a variety of mediums, such as wood, metal, video, textiles, dried flowers, and glass (as in Andy Paiko’s Refraction Monologue, shown above).

“I’m fascinated by installation art because of the intersection between it and interior design,” she says. “Both take an existing space and reimagine it. Our work as designers is always enmeshed in layers of practicality, whereas the gallery installations are a pure vision that don’t need to fulfill any practical requirements or be permanent.”

When selecting artists to present, Helgerson gives them free reign in the space. The resulting work, she notes, is “grounded and active, weighty and ephemeral.”

As for what’s on now, she says: “Our current show is by my dear friend Heather Watkins, an established Portland artist whom I’ve long admired. She created a dark, powerful installation of dyed ropes that are suspended from the ceiling. After that, Portland artist Christine Clark will be installing her beautiful ‘cloud brambles’ at the end of March.”