Mass-produced midcentury furniture by the Italian modernist Carlo Mollino can cost a few thousand dollars per piece, and his prototypes and custom works cause greater market stirs.
In 2005 and 2008, Christie’s in New York got seven-figure prices for 1940s oak and maple tables that Mollino created for a marquis in Turin. The designer worked in a vocabulary of hairpin turns, spikes and flanges. He was also notoriously moody and obsessive, and a daredevil who flew experimental planes, scaled mountains and raced cars.
His colorful biography adds to the appeal of the objects. “They have a huge aura about them,” said Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, the founder of the Salon 94 galleries in Manhattan.
A show with a few Mollino works from around 1950 (with five- and six-figure prices each) opens on Thursday at the Salon 94 branch on East 94th Street; display cases were designed by the British architect David Adjaye. The exhibition includes an ash bentwood chair and a resin-and-glass bookcase, made for a Turin publishing house, and aluminum boomerang light fixtures from a textile magnate’s apartment in Turin.
On Oct. 23 the Italian government blocked an auction at Christie’s in London that featured 30 pieces of 1950s Mollino furniture, which had long been installed in an Italian industrialist’s country house in the foothills of the Alps. The works, including oak and chestnut tables, chairs, cabinets and ceramic coat hooks, were deemed by the government to be treasures that could not be exported. (They were returned to their owner.)
On Dec. 10 Sotheby’s in New York will offer four 1940s oak chairs (estimated at $100,000 to $150,000 for the set) with split backs that a private collector found years ago at a Los Angeles tag sale. Mollino used the split-back design in ski resort and restaurant interiors, but no one knows where the tag-sale chairs originated.
Warp is a lightweight and portable side table for different opportunities. It is applicable in domestic as well as in public spaces such as hotel lobbies, waiting areas but also in bars or cafés. The top incorporates a handhold which enables the table to be moved around with ease. It’s ideal for working on a laptop or eating whilst comfortably installed on one’s settee.
Park Life is a complete family of furniture for outdoors, whose clean cut profile is adaptable to a wide range of different situations. Lightweight yet extremely durable, it’s easily stacked for transport or winter storage and its technical sophistication and careful consideration of ergonomics besides a lot of care over how it looks are all intended to ensure a long life, both structurally and visually.
“This is my first outdoor collection and it has taken some time to get here: about four and a half years! It probably took that long because we needed to discover the right codes for Outdoor Furniture, which is a category apart from other types of furniture. It has been an interesting process and we have been through many prototypes to get here but I think the result justifies the effort.”
- Jasper Morrison
Park Life, by Jasper Morrison, for Kettal
“Without question my favourite piece of interior design, and undoubtedly the most comfortable chair I’ve ever sat in. I like to retire to one with a cigar and a stiff drink as frequently as possible. I own four of them: an original from the Sixties at my London pied-à-terre and three in my house in the country. It’s composed of a fibreglass shell, a thin layer of foam and very high-quality leather, and not only does it swivel, but it also rocks.”
- Sir Terence Conran
Karuselli Lounge Chair, by Yrjö Kukkapuro, 1964, for Avarte
Inspired by construction and de-construction, which are based on the materials finishes. Comission work by Glocal Design Magazine and Masisa manufacturer of mdf, mdp and particle boards, for the oppening of the Design Week México 2012 with the exhibition “Hecho en México” (Made in Mexico).
Booleanos, by Joel Escalona, for Glocal Design Magazine and Masisa
First collection of the Sistema Midi which has a vital, colourful personality where the warmth of the textures and the new materials are felt right down to the finest details. Made from extruded aluminum the new collection consists of tables, cabinets and shelves.
Lounge Collection, by Pierre Beucler and Jean-Christophe Poggioli, Architecture & Associés
“It’s a small table with a moderate design, small dimensions and precious look. The 8mm thickness and the rounded edges give it a particular strength. A simple and creative solution to furnish every corner of the home with a touch of colour chosen among lilac, transparent, amber and red.”
Cup Table, by Ichiro Iwasaki, for Discipline
XTable is a manually height adjustable desk. A piece of office machinery that accommodates multiple working positions and daily reshuffling. XTable uses manual kinetic power instead of electricity for height adjustments — saves energy and keeps users active. All technical features are constructively integrated in the table top. It uses a century old principle known from carjacks, ironing boards and other iconic tools. The principle coupled with a desk is a radical redesign of the traditional office desk. XTable is designed with an optional storage solution for office supplies and other belongings.
XTable, by KiBiSi, for Holmris
Contained within a single tree is its unabridged chronicle
Year by year, never skipping a beat, it records its history slowly.
Some lines speak of seasons of plenty, while others cry of famine.
The size of the rings are never the same.
Each engraving bears witness to battles waged in the name of survival.
To observe such is to humble ourselves to nature’s love of life.
“This celebration was created by layering upon the chair’s beautiful geometric shape, a complex and organic graphic of life. My hope is that the Artek “Stool 60″ will evoke the bounty of nature as seen by the passage of 80 years of time.”
- Nao Tamura
Artek Stool 60: Alvar Aalto: Rings, by Nao Tamura, for Artek America, The Design Trust for Public Spaces Auction