Native New Yorker Gil Shapiro founded Urban Archaeology in the early 1970s, when the salvaging movement was just catching on. With a collector’s–and creator’s–eye and an entrepreneurial spirit, he began re-imagining architectural remnants as treasured additions to the home environment. This month the company has been preparing for an auction taking place on March 27th and 28th, handled by Guernsey’s auction house, when nearly 1,000 of their long-treasured pieces of history will be sold to prepare for a move to a new location.
First opened in Soho in 1978, the store’s early customers–including Andy Warhol and other denizens of what was undisputedly the epicenter of the art world–adored the unique and time-treasured aspects of Shapiro’s restored architectural salvage pieces, yet they would always find ways they wished they could customize their favorite items. Finding that he excelled at bringing a fresh perspective to pieces of historical and architectural importance, he started reproducing individual pieces as well as creating new lines of bath fixtures and lighting, many of which originated in places like the Plaza Hotel, New York’s Yale Club and the St. Regis Hotel.