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Barnebys design report shows that top designer furniture now rivals art as a collectable investment
A unique and important table by Isamu Noguchi was sold at Phillips in New
York for £3m.

LONDON.- Barnebys’ second Online Auction Report, is a special edition focusing on 15 leading furniture designers of the 20th century. Barnebys is the leading search service for arts, antiques and rarities.

Based on popular searches on auction aggregator Barnebys (the Google of the Art World covering 2,000 auction houses), three designers have been singled out from each of the five of the most important markets Barnebys cover today. The graphs presented in this reported are based on Barnebys’ realized price database, with more than 31 million lots, gathered from 315 auction houses in 29 countries.

There is no question that the market is growing, both in terms of inventory and turnover. Barnebys’ data shows a growth of 330% in the 15 designated designers’ accumulated turnover in the period of 2009 to 2016. According to the recent TEFAF report for 2016, the auction market for design in Europe and the US is worth a total of $343,6 million (€322,6 million).

Co-founder of Barnebys, Pontus Silfverstolpe says: “Collectors are paying considerable attention to design, with prices on a limited supply of unique high-end pieces boosted to fine art market status. It is clear that when prices and the novelty of a certain designer have declined, the market moves on to the next. So it is important for auction houses, as well as dealers, to continuously explore and collect new information on intriguing designers. The whole process is reminiscent of the early days of the now long- established market for art and antiques, which goes to show that design is more than a short-lived trend. Just like artists, great designers can fall into oblivion. Just like the art market, there is great potential of finding these forgotten masters. The addition of new names combined with new markets, like Asia, will lead to a growth in the design market for a long time to come.”

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