Radical design of the 1960s, Vienna Modernism, contemporary design and Zaha Hadid. These will be the founding principles of the first design auction of a new kind called "Design First". The auction will be curated by specialist Gerti Draxler and is set to premier at Dorotheum
on 20th June 2017, where it will cast a spotlight on various objects that stand out in the history of design. On the same date, at 2:00 pm, the classic design auction will also be held, and on this occasion there will be an emphasis on Scandinavian and Austrian design. The Design First auction will have strong links with art, for example it will be offering seats, screens and beds by the Austrian holistic artist Heimo Zobernig, a lamp by Alberto Giacometti's and a shelf by Dadamaino.
The declared ambition of Superstudio, who were spiritual successors to the anti-bourgeois, emancipatory-euphoric 1960s and part of the aesthetic cutting edge, was to be nothing less than a parable for domestic anti-design (parabola per un antidesign domestico). The five-member group of architects/designers from Florence investigated new forms of coexistence and contributed a cover image for the March/April 1972 issue of the rassegna magazine. The cover image is based on a 1971 collage, depicting a group of hirsute people positioned between nature and technology, in a network of flowers, gridlines and wiring (60,000 80,000).
Danilo Silvestrin demonstrates purely radical design through his translucent hard polyester sofa that would not be out of place in space and which can be arranged in a seamless, and implicitly infinite circle. "Apollo 12 for the home", as Stern magazine described it in 1969. Indebted to the ethos of the ZERO Movement, Silvestrin worked as an interior designer in Germany where he became friends with Uecker, Mack, and Luther, and used their pictorial objects in his interiors. Dorotheum presents a rare object by this designer that seats two (36,000 45,000).
Kolo Moser's 130 by 110 cm design for the altar frieze of Otto Wagner's Steinhof Church failed to find favour with his patrons when he originally submitted it presumably owing to his conversion to Protestantism. Today, however, his works are certainly not overlooked by collectors (150,000 200,000).
Classic examples of Viennese Modernism also include several chairs by Adolf Loos, six chairs designed by Otto Prutscher which were exhibited at the 1914 "Werkbundschau" in Cologne (270,000 420,000), as well as an ensemble by Josef Hoffmann consisting of a bed, a nightstand, a washstand and a table. The ensemble is in its original condition and has an ageless appeal to it; it was originally designed for Hermann Wittgenstein in 1906 (60,000 90,000).
Architecture en miniature
Contemporary design in the upcoming auction is characterised by exciting new materials, futuristic optics, organic shapes, and a certain element of playfulness that some might call "dynamic elegance". This elegance is, for example, represented in Philip Michael Wolfson's mirror with integrated shelf (10,000 15,000). The mirror also recalls the spirit of Zaha Hadid, with whom Wolfson collaborated. Hadid herself contributes to the sale with a Woosh sofa, sheep-skin upholstered "Moon Soon" chairs from the Japanese restaurant of the same name, a rare "Project in Red" sofa dating to 1988 (65,000 90,000), and a silver tea/coffee service (50,000 80,000).
The auction will present some of the most exciting designers of their generation. Whether that is through the designs of the British designer Michael Young who worked in Hong Kong, or the steel furniture of Barberini & Gunnell who were discovered by star architect Peter Marino.
The multi-functional furniture of South African designer duo Adriaan Hugo and Katy Taplin, known as Dokter and Misses, is based on different kinds of architecture, for example that of a church, and evokes associations of a horseman on a bench. Equipped with hidden drawers "Kassena Horseman is No.1 in a limited edition of 8 copies. The hand-painted geometric zig-zag pattern evoke the aesthetics of the Kassena people from the Ghana-Burkina Faso border region, who are renowned for their black and white wall paintings of coloured loam and lime. Additional proponents of South African design include Gregor Jenkin, David Krynauw and John Vogel.