MEET THE TEAM
Washington DC born, Zemel received her BFA from the University of Pennsylvania in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. She later completed her MFA at Penn’s Graduate School of Fine Arts, studying painting under Neil Welliver and printmaking with Hitoshi Nakazato. Zemel spent three years on the faculty at Penn, having launched a collaborative and public art program that continues to this day.
In the mid 1990’s, Zemel left academia and later moved to New York with her partner Adam Brown to explore fine art and antiques in the post-communist Czech Republic. There she was captivated not only with the Biedermeier style, but by her first encounters with the modernist art traditions of Eastern Europe. Informed and inspired by these new idioms, Brown and Zemel would share their zeal as collectors and purveyors of Czech and Hungarian modern art. In 2000, the two opened ILIAD Antik in the heart of Manhattan’s midtown design district to become one of New York’s premier dealers in Biedermeier and continental Art Deco furniture and decorative arts. Zemel would later draw on her experience as sculptor and draftsman in 2001 by launching ILIAD Design, and has since created an extensive portfolio of bespoke commissions for distinguished clients at ILIAD’s comprehensive atelier in Prague.
She is actively involved in the curation of the repertoire of ILIAD’s Contemporary Art collection, which includes a selection of allegorical glass and ceramic mosaic works from her own studio. As lead designer and founder of ILIAD Design, she currently collaborates with leading international architects and interior designers to produce some of the world’s finest bespoke furniture and decorative arts commissions. As a seasoned interior decorator, she is currently involved in a number of comprehensive residential projects with leading architects here in New York.
Born in Philadelphia, with a BA from Temple University in Japanese and Northeast Asian studies. After a period in the late 1970’s developing residential property in Manhattan’s East Village, in the mid 1980’s as a general contractor, bought and sold residential real estate in central Philadelphia’s gentrifying neighborhoods. As an entrepreneur and adventurer, in the mid 1990’s Brown made a series of trips to the post-iron curtain newly formed Czech Republic with his new partner Andrea Zemel, culminating in a series of strategic alliances in the field of art and antiques. In 1996 the pair met Leon Tsoukernik, then the premier dealer of Biedermeier furniture in Prague. Leon introduced the couple to the nuances of the style as only the connoisseur could, and soon partnered with them to establish a retail presence in Philadelphia. In 1999, Tsoukernik’s Prague/Washington D.C. based gallery Metternich Ltd. merged with Zemel and Brown to launch Iliad Antik New York on 58th street in Manhattan’s midtown east design district, combining in a single enterprise one of the largest collections of first period Austro-Hungarian Biedermeier, and one of the finest restoration ateliers in the world. In 2002, they acquired Tsoukernik’s interest in the company and maintain their warm affiliation to this day.
An ardent antiquarian and a student of Classical, Near Eastern, and Bronze Age Aegean culture – as platform for the pursuit of art, culture, impeccable taste and adventure, Brown has combined his love of the ancient world with his passion for the modernist ideal to achieve an ambitious vision at Iliad.
Barney Haughey, Director
Born and raised in London, Barney is third generation in family of antiques dealers in the UK and has worked in the art, antiques, and design industry for more than 20 years. With prior expertise in art handling and international logistics, Barney has been with ILIAD since 2005.
Having spent more than five years training with accomplished masters at ILIAD’s Prague atelier, Barney learned the art of period furniture restoration and the subtleties of fine French Polish finishes from one the top workshops in the world. There he gained valuable expertise with continental furniture of the Biedermeier and Art Deco era while developing his familiarity and deep understanding of construction methods and techniques employed by the craftsmen of those periods.
With this experience under his belt, Haughey is currently ILIAD Design’s Director of Project Management, overseeing and micro-managing every detail of ILIAD’s bespoke and period inspired furniture commissions executed both in Prague and in the United States. Collaborating in close relationship with the teams of many of the nation’s leading architects and top interior designers, Barney is point person and primary liaison between client, workshop, and the ILIAD Design team.
Sara Fergenson, Design Associate
Sara holds her BFA in Interior Design from Kean University’s Michael Graves College of Architecture and Design with a minor in Art History. Coming from a family of artists and with experience in high end furniture sales – Sara has a great understanding of both sides of the market.
Having experience in high end residential design in Manhattan, as a design associate, she brings a broad range of skills to the team including comprehensive space planning, AutoCad, Photoshop, and 3D rendering. As a seasoned accounts manager at ILIAD – Sara holds down the fort by interfacing with our many vendors, craftspeople, and design industry clients.
Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Studied at the Prague Academy of Building and Technical arts. While attending the academy as a young man, Jirka apprenticed in a restoration atelier where woodworking became an obsession. He later decided to continue his master studies at the Technical College in Prague in the special field of artistic woodworking. While at the Technical College Jirka started his first restoration workshop where his full concentration was on furniture from the Biedermeier period. Employing precision and traditional techniques and technologies, his workshop became recognized for its high standards of craftsmanship and it’s aesthetic vision for period furniture restoration. Jirka was later approached by the Czech/American company Metternich Ltd., which was then exporting Biedermeier furniture for their Washington DC showroom. When Metternich joined Iliad Antik in 2000, that union would forge the basis for the long-term cooperation. As artist and master craftsman, Jirka became the chief of his own atelier. Under his guidance, twelve journeyman, apprentices, and polishers restore period furniture to an ideal seldom reached in commercial enterprise. Inspired in spirit by the great woodcraft guilds and ateliers like the Wiener Werkstätte or the Danhauser workshop, Iliad’s creed is for Biedermeier furniture reach it’s full aesthetic potential, to make evident the truth and aspiration of the makers original vision, plainly revealing the inherent Modernist yearning at the core of the style.
Today, Jirka combines years experience with Central European antique furniture with his informed and nuanced artistry. With his poet’s sense for veneers, and working closely with sculptor/designer Andrea Zemel, he interprets, and then crafts rendered designs for Iliad to achieve unique and exceptional period inspired creations, both functional and beautiful.