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Sotheby's London to Hold Inaugural Sale of Modern and Contemporary Design in October
Marc Newson, Orgone Stretch Lounge, estimate: £400,000-600,000. Photo: Courtesy Sotheby's.

LONDON.- Sotheby’s London is delighted to announce that on Saturday, October 18, 2008, it will be staging its first-ever dedicated sale of Modern and Contemporary Design to coincide with its October series of Contemporary Art sales. The sale has also been scheduled to overlap with the ever-popular London Frieze Art Fair and the second Design Art London.

The sale – of some 46 lots – will trace the course of modern Design over the last century and its core is formed by works from influential living artists like Marc Newson (b. 1963), Ron Arad (b. 1951), Zaha Hadid (b. 1950), the Campana Brothers (b. 1961 and 1953), and Tom Dixon (b. 1959). These are juxtaposed with pieces by the avantgarde designers of the 20th Century, namely Le Corbusier (1887-1965) and Pierre Jeanneret (1896-1967), Alvar Aalto (1898-1976), Charlotte Perriand (1903-1999), Harry Bertoia (1915-1978), Shiro Kuramata (1934-1991) and George Nakashima (1905-1990), whose prescient visions of Modernism continue to shape aesthetic sensibilities around the world. The sale is expected to fetch in excess of £2 million

Jeremy Morrison, Head of 20th Century Design, Sotheby’s London, comments: “We’re delighted to be offering our first dedicated sale of Modern and Contemporary Design in London to be aptly timed with our October Contemporary Art sales, Frieze and Design Art London. Contemporary Design is one of the fastest growing and most exciting fields in the international art world and London has established itself as the undoubted heart of this market. We’ve curated a tightly edited sale of the highest quality, from both the 20th and 21st centuries; contemporary creations will be juxtaposed with those by early design pioneers. The masterworks - which have incredible ‘floor power’ - will be exhibited alongside the art in our major Contemporary sales given the huge overlap between the two.”

The cornerstone of the sale will be the Orgone Stretch Lounge by the Australian-born designer, Marc Newson, and this ranks among the most important works by Newson ever to appear on the auction market. The sale of this piece follows the successful sale of the designer’s Lockheed Lounge at Sotheby’s New York in June 2006, which realised $968,000. The Orgone Stretch Lounge, executed in aluminium and enamel, was designed in 1993 and is the second artist’s proof from an edition of 6. Talking about it, Newson states: “The form is one that I was striving for when I made the Lockheed Lounge but, in those days, I didn’t have the knowledge or the resources to make it.” The Orgone is estimated at £400,000-600,000.

Israeli-born Ron Arad combines playful forms and experiments with advanced technologies and he will be represented in the sale by four masterworks, the most valuable of which is a woven polished bronze work entitled Looploom. Designed in 1992, Looploom is the second piece of an edition of 6. It is estimated at £100,000-150,000. A blue stainless steel work designed in 1990, entitled A.Y.O.R. (At Your Own Risk), is a second highlight of the Arad offerings and this is expected to fetch £40,000-60,000. Furthermore, his Rolling Volume is estimated at £40,000-50,000 and Big Heavy at £30,000-50,000. Arad’s international standing is illustrated by a solo exhibition opening in November at Paris’ Centre Pompidou – Beaubourg before moving to MOMA in New York.

Miss Blanche armchair, a poetic piece designed in 1988 by Shiro Kuramata - one of Japan's most important designers of the 20th century - is expected to fetch £100,000-120,000. This armchair transcends the laws of gravity as imitation roses appear to float within a block of acrylic, giving an illusion of weightlessness to an object of serious substance. It is witty, graceful and thought-provoking and ranks among the designer’s most sought-after pieces.

Three works by the former Creative Director of Habitat, Tom Dixon, are sure to be notable highlights; the more valuable of these is a unique CU29 Armchair. The prototype for an edition of 8, the chair (illustrated right) was grown in a tank from electroformed copper over polystyrene. In its original form as a monoblock polystyrene shell it was first released as an installation in Trafalgar Square in London in 2006, where the first batch of 500 were given away free of charge during the London Design Festival. The chair was initiated as part of a project to test the extreme of value in the field of design product, and to challenge the way that furniture is made and distributed in this country. The two additional works by Dixon are a unique Mak Armchair, estimated at £10,000-15,000, and a one-off prototype of S-Chair, estimated at £3,000-5,000.

Spearheading the works on offer by the Brazilian Fernando and Humberto Campana - who are famous for their sophisticated reimaginings of Brazilian street culture - is Sushi Sofa, which they designed in 2003 and produced in 2005. This piece is estimated at £80,000-120,000 and talking about it, the Brothers commented: “In the favelas of Brazil, they make mats and bedspreads of all sorts simply by overlapping pieces of fabric. We began with this and we thought of sushi – textiles of different types all rolled together.” Other highlights of the Campana group are Banquete Chair with Teddy Bears, number 1 from an edition of 20 and estimated at £30,000-50,000, and also a Sonia Diniz Chair, with an estimate of £40,000-60,000.

Zaha Hadid’s Aqua Table, produced in gloss white laminated polyurethane resin with blue silicon top, was designed in 2005 and produced in 2006. It is estimated at £100,000-150,000. Belu Bench is a second notable highlight by Hadid and the fiberglass bench, estimated at £60,000-80,000, was created for multi-functional use. Talking about this latter piece, Hadid states: “Belu is now just an object for display, but a dynamic gesture that spatially defines its surroundings whilst serving a variety of functions.”

Hella Jongerius (b. 1963) represents the bold and dynamic creativity thriving in Holland today and two `Jackpot’ Vases from the `Layers’ Collection by her are estimated at £45,000-60,000. The vases – executed in earthenware and cast bronze medallions – are from an edition of 6 unique pieces.

Among the earlier Modern works in the sale are an ash veneer and brushed aluminum bookcase by Charlotte Perriand, estimated at £100,000-120,000, and `Minguren I’ Coffee Table by George Nakashima – a spectacular maple burl slab with dramatic free edges which was acquired directly from the artist by the vendor. The coffee table is expected to fetch £100,000-150,000.

An occasional table by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret is estimated at £50,000-60,000. Dating from 1955, only a few examples of this table were produced and this example comes from the private collection of an employee of the design duo. The table is made of Indian rosewood and wrought iron.

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