The market for important works of design has gone from strength to strength in recent months, with outstanding results at Sotheby’s design sales in New York and Paris in 2016.
The May sale at Sotheby’s Paris, led by 18 works by Alberto and Diego Giacometti, achieved €7.8 million (est. £4.1- 5.7m), the highest-ever total for a Design auction in France. The second-edition of a dedicated Design sale for London is underpinned by pioneering works of Post-war Scandinavian, Italian, French, American and Contemporary Design, including superb examples by Studio Job, Nacho Carbonell, Gio Ponti, Arne Jacobsen and Gerrit Rietveld. The sale takes place just days ahead of the landmark opening of a major new home for London’s Design Museum, further evidence of the city’s evergrowing status as an influential hub for the international design scene.
Arne Jacobsen, Desk, 1952 Stainless steel, lacquered Cuban mahogany, leather, ebony Estimate: £40,000-60,000
Designed the same year as his iconic ‘Ant’ chair, the present model, along with a low table and armchair, were made for the offices of the American-Scandinavian Foundation in New York. Although intended for American export, the present lot has remained in Denmark from the time of its execution. Only the third time that this model has ever come to auction, this piece belonged to a collector who was close friends with Jacobsen. At the time of acquiring the desk circa 1953, the original owner resided in a home designed by Jacobsen himself, located in the Danish town of Hellerup, close to the architect’s home.
Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, ‘Zig Zag’ Chair, 1939 Oak, brass Estimate: £15,000-20,000
This is a rare and early example of Rietveld’s iconic ‘Zig Zag’ chair was produced by Gerard van de Groenekan in 1939, four years after the first model was made. Rietveld, renowned for his ‘Red and Blue Chair’ and the ‘Schröder’ house, was a leading figure in the artistic movement known as De Stijl. This particular chair has remained with the same family since its production and comes with a signed certificate from Gerard van de Groenekan.
Ico Parisi, Monumental Bookcase, circa 1955 Rosewood, glass, enamelled copper Estimate: £20,000-30,000
This monumental bookcase by the Italian architect and designer Ico Parisi was created in collaboration with the renowned enameller Paolo de Poli, who produced the handles. Over the course of his 50-year career, Parisi – who considered himself a ‘Renaissance’ artist – mastered a wide variety of discipline, including architecture, design, painting, and photography.
Peder Moos, Daybed, circa 1944 Pine with Alpaca skin upholstery Estimate: £8,000-12,000
This bed is one of five pieces on offer designed by Danish master cabinet maker Peder Moos for the Østrupgaard manor, Denmark, between 1944 and 1945. During World War II, Østrupgaard manor was used as a hideout from the Gestapo; in this period, Moos produced around 20 pieces for the estate. Using the humble materials available on-site including pine, teak and beech, the results are deceptively simple and beautifully understated. Displaying a high degree of craftsmanship and fine attention to detail, each unique example bears testament to one of the greatest Danish cabinet makers of the 20th Century.
Hans Coper, Monumental ‘Spade Form’ Vase, circa 1970 Glazed stoneware
Estimate: £50,000-70,000 Hans Coper, Large ‘Disc Form’ Vase, circa 1965 Glazed stoneware Estimate £35,000-45,000 Hans Coper (1920–1981), the German-born studio potter, who fled from Nazi Germany for Britain in 1939, revolutionised British ceramics. These two large scale vases, ‘Spade Form’, created circa 1977, and ‘Disc Form’ made circa 1965, are hugely rare and important examples of Coper’s work, and very rarely seen on the market.
Gabriella Crespi, ‘Gothic’ Mirrored Cabinet, circa 1977 Brass, mirrored glass
Estimate: £6,000-8,000 This rare mirrored cabinet by Gabriella Crespi has a functioning storage compartment and drawer below.
Considered by many to be one of the greatest Italian designers of the 1960’s and 70’s, Crespi was influenced early on in her career by Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright. Fontana Arte, Low Table, Model No. 1774, 1959 Lacquered metal, brass, mirrored convex glass, glass Estimate: £40,000-60,000 This table, with a striking mirrored glass top, is one of the most iconic works produced by the Milanese firm Fontana Arte. It was created in the late 50’s under the direction of Max Ingrand – a French master glazier and decorator, renowned for his stained-glass church windows.
Angelo Lelii, 9 Arm Wall/Ceiling Light, circa 1950 Brass, frosted glass
Estimate: £12,000-18,000 These rare nine arm lights by Angelo Lelii can be mounted on the ceiling or wall, and come with confirmation of authenticity from Arredoluce. Founded by Lelii in 1947, Arredoluce boasts collaborations with renowned designers such as Gio Ponti, Ettore Sottsass and the Castiglioni brothers.
T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings, Five ‘Klismos’ Chairs, circa 1965 Greek walnut, leather cord
Estimate: £7,000-10,000 Offered from a private collection acquired directly from the producer in the 1960s, the Klismos chairs by the British designer T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings take their inspiration directly from ancient Greek examples. Works by this maker are among the most soughtafter by interior designers; a set of six ‘Klismos’ chairs by RobsjohnGibbings, estimated at €8,000-12,000, sold for €73,499 at Sotheby’s Paris in 2014.
Andrea Branzi, ‘Piccolo Albero’ Bookcase, 2013 Polished stainless steel, beech
Estimate: £20,000-30,000 This intriguing work is the last of only six examples ever produced. A world record for a piece by Branzi was set in May 2015, when the same model sold for €81,000 at Sotheby’s in Paris.
Ron Arad, ‘Loop Loop’ Chair, designed 1992 Polished woven bronze
Estimate: £50,000-70,000 This fun and playful work – one of the Ron Arad’s most iconic designs – was produced by the Gallery Mourmans in a rare bronze edition. It is one of a number of collaborations between Israel-born industrial designer Arad and the Dutch gallerist Ernest Mourmans, with other examples including the ‘Thumbprint Chair’.
Nacho Carbonell ‘Evolution’ Bench 2008 Recycled paper, iron, metal wire
Estimate: £12,000- 18,000 The first example from an edition of five, this bench by the Spanish contemporary designer Nacho Carbonell allows one to seek solitude from the outside world. “Living in a time where we are saturated by information at a frenetic rhythm, I wanted to create a refuge were you can escape…” says Carbonell.
Terence Woodgate and John Barnard, Prototype ‘Surface Table’, 2008 Lacquered unidirectional carbon fibre, steel Estimate: £40,000-60,000 Only two examples (both prototypes) of this monumental, six metre-long table were ever produced. This is the sole remaining example, as the first prototype was discarded by Established & Sons. Despite its slight frame, this table is in fact strong enough to support a car’s weight.
Gio Ponti, Wall-Mounted Chest, circa 1959 Elm, brass
Estimate: £15,000-20,000 This wall-mounted chest embodies Italian designer Gio Ponti’s flair for quirky, asymmetrical patterning. One of the most influential designers of the 20th century, Ponti’s remarkable output spanned architecture, industrial design, art, and even publishing; his creations put Italy in the spotlight as a global design centre. This chest is one of 10 works by Ponti in the sale.
Amanda Levete and Future Systems, ‘West’ Bench, from the ‘Around the Corner’ Collection, 2008 Walnut Estimate: £70,000-100,000 This elegant bench was designed by British designer Amanda Levete and Future Systems, and produced by London-based Established & Sons. With its fluid and interwoven form, reminiscent of the infinity symbol, this piece appears to defy gravity. Works from the ‘Around the Corner’ series were designed to create a spatial relationship between the corners of a room and the pieces, as Levete was interested in filling the “lost spaces” created by corners.
Marc Newson, ‘Big Lathed Table’, 2006 Carrara marble Estimate: £70,000-90,000 This simple yet powerful table was carved from a single block of prized Carrara marble and produced by the Gagosian Gallery. Australianborn Newson’s pieces are characterised by smooth geometric lines, strength, and rounded edges.