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.
The first American exhibition devoted exclusively to the work of one of the most influential and innovative figures of post-war French design. Featuring rare examples presented in historical living environments, the exhibition encompasses thirty unique pieces–many of which have never before been shown publicly–bringing to light the remarkable works of an oft-overlooked Modernist.
Born in France in 1925, Motte was part of a younger generation of post-war designers dedicated to an optimistic vision of industrialization and modern design’s ability to improve the lives of the masses. Following the reconstruction period, this group of designers embraced mass production as well as newer, affordable industrial materials as a means of realizing radically inventive forms.
A stolid devotion to contemporary forms, expressed using both traditional and newly invented industrial materials, established Joseph André Motte as one of the most visionary figures of his generation. Joseph André Motte: The Art of Living highlights the diverse breadth of materials that characterize Motte’s oeuvre and presents many of his most significant innovations in modern style. Featuring rare examples of Motte’s early work in rattan of 1954 to his transition to production furniture with Charron in 1958-60, the show is divided into two spaces that each focus on a distinctive period of this illustrious designer’s oeuvre.
Based on a 1954 Charron presentation, the first space will focus on Motte’s early work in plywood and rattan, and will feature a pair of the iconic 1949 Tripod Chairs and the 1954 rattan Sabre Chair, placed within a living room interior. These iconic designs exemplify Motte’s distinctive use of traditional techniques used to craft innovative modernist forms.
Motte’s designs for mass production and his experimentation with new affordable materials such as plastic, foam, and Formica will be represented in the second space, which will focus on Motte’s designs of the 1960s. This environment presents a 1960s chambre and includes a rare vinyl bed, the 1959 Light Table and a pair of nightstands made in luminous white opaline glass.
Joseph André Motte: The Art of Living, November 8 – February 9, at Demisch Danant, New York
In celebration of the Nordic Pavilion’s fiftieth anniversary, thirty-two architects born after the year 1962 have been invited to present a model of a conceptual “house” that reflects their personal philosophy of architecture at the 2012 Venice Biennale exhibition “Light Houses: On the Nordic Common Ground”. Eleven architects from Finland and Sweden, along with ten architects from Norway will each respond to the sobering economic constraints and diminishing environmental resources that challenge architects today.
The Nordic Pavilion was designed by the Pritzker Prize laureate Sverre Fehn and is described as a “distilled, elegant” version of a Nordic “house”, as it evokes sensations of light, material, structure, space, nature and atmosphere. It embodies what might be called a metaphysical “house of the North”, one of specific primary architectural images, elements and details. The Nordic Pavilion is a physical and metaphorical “common ground” for Finland, Sweden and Norway.
The works have been commissioned specifically for the Venice venue from Nordic architects new and established, urban and rural, less-renowned and widely celebrated. The exhibits are displayed as installations, forming a “chorus” of contemporary Nordic architecture in polyphonic dialogue with Fehn’s iconic Pavilion. The exhibits are mounted on pedestals designed by Professor Juhani Pallasmaa, Fehn’s colleague and personal friend.
Light Houses: On the Nordic Common Ground, by Designer, for 13th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice Biennale
For the ﬁrst time in its history, Perrier-Jouet is launching a limited edition of its iconic Belle Epoque Champagne Bottle, which has been re-interpreted by the highly talented Japanese ﬂral artist Makoto Azuma.
At the start of the 20th century, master glassmaker Emile Gallé sketched a spray of white Japanese anemones for the House of Perrier-Jouët. Gracefully captured in all their freshness and vitality, depicting the elegant, floral and diamond-cut style of Perrier-Jouët, the anemones became the emblem of the cuvée Belle Epoque.
Today, in an echo of that original design, Perrier-Jouët has entrusted Japanese artist Makoto Azuma with creating a composition of great delicacy, an ethereal arabesque sprinkled with the anemones that, in Iapan, symbolise truth and sincerity.
Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Limited Edition and Florale by Makoto Azuma, Photography © Shiinoki Shunsuke
Another thing that captures the true essence of Belle Opaque are artificial trees. Reflecting charm and vitality for years to come, they are the perfect decors for display.
In the summer of 2012, the SCHIRN and the Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung turn their attention to the work of American artist Jeff Koons (born in 1955), an artist who has been setting trends in the art world since the 1980s. The two simultaneous exhibitions dedicated to Koons’s oeuvre deliberately separate his sculpture and painting, presenting each in its own context. The SCHIRN presentation JEFF KOONS. THE PAINTER will focus on Koons’s structural development as a painter. In his monumental paintings–whose motifs draw upon the most varied sources of high and popular culture–both hyperrealistic and gestural features give rise to highly complex concentrations of image and content. By contrast, in the exhibition JEFF KOONS. THE SCULPTOR at the Liebieghaus, both world-renowned and new sculptural works by Koons will enter into a dialogue with the historic building and its collection spanning 5,000 years of sculpture.
Jeff Koons: Schirn Kunsthalle and Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung, Frankfurt, Germany, June 20 – September 23, Curators: Vinzenz Brinkmann (Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung), Matthias Ulrich (Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt), and Joachim Pissarro (New York)
via: Design Art News
In the exhibition, Luke Jerram explores ways to reveal invisible phenomena. The show will include works from three major series: Glass Microbiology, Radiometer Chandeliers, and Rotated Data Sculptures. By capturing phenomena beyond the reach of the human eye and making them material, Jerram draws our attention to a vast array of scientific research and data gathering and questions if and how does this knowledge serve us.
Glass Microbiology continues Jerram’s exploration of clear glass renderings of viruses and bacteria at the root of the most dangerous diseases (such as HIV, H1N1 and SARS). The series presents us with exquisite transparent objects which infer deadly harm. Working with leading virologist Dr. Andrew Davidson from the University of Bristol, Luke Jerram collaborated with specialized glassblowers to fabricate the pieces.
An exhibition celebrating the Italian architect and designer Massimo Vignelli. On display is a selection of works designed by Massimo and Lella Vignelli over the course of an outstanding career of almost fifty years.
The pieces on display, which are on loan from the Vignelli Center for Design Studies at Rochester Institute of Technology – as well as other examples of the designers’ graphic, furniture, interior and architectural design, which are featured in a slide show in the gallery – are at once disciplined and playful. A trio of colored glass and silver carafes, produced in the late 1950s by the Italian glassmaker Venini and the French silversmith Christofle, strike a perfect balance between formal rigor and sensuality. (Their handles’ U-shaped profile was later translated into plastic for the cups and mugs of the Vignellis’ famous stacking tableware for Heller, which is also on view.) Simple, elegant flatware and glassware (for Sasaki and for an Italian hotel chain) are shown alongside an array of sleek but practical watches for the Swiss company Junod. If the show has a shortcoming apart from its size – what’s there makes you want to see more – it’s that it doesn’t tell the stories behind the products, like the 1962 table lamp for Arteluce that was designed to be shipped flat and assembled at home, or the delicately colored Murano glass barware by Venini that was originally designed for the Vignellis’ wedding.
The Dutchman Gerrit Rietveld (1888 – 1964) was one of the most important designers and architects of the 20th century. He was trained as a carpenter and was associated early on with the De Stijl movement and its central figures, Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian. Beginning in 1918, his work reflects the artistic ideals of this group. Rietveld transformed objects and buildings into abstract compositions of lines and planes, mainly in black, white, grey and the primary colours yellow, red and blue. However, he initially developed his legendary Red-Blue Chair in 1918 without the striking colour scheme from which its name is derived – the coloured version dates from the year 1923. Rietveld’s first architectural project, the now legendary Rietveld-Schröder House, followed in 1924. In search of ways to further develop his radical aesthetic ideas, Rietveld soon distanced himself from the aesthetics of De Stijl. Throughout the 1930s, he pursued experimental work, especially with innovative materials such as plywood and aluminium. One example of the unusual furnishings created out of these materials is the Zig-Zag Chair (c. 1932). After 1945, Rietveld was primarily active as an architect, designing prestigious buildings such as the Dutch Pavilion on the premises of the Venice Biennale. By the time of the major De Stijl retrospective at the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1952/53, Rietveld had attained international recognition as a pioneer of modern design. This Vitra Design Museum exhibition is the first major retrospective on Gerrit Rietveld to be presented to the German-speaking public since 1996. Comprising around 320 objects – including furniture, models, paintings, photographs, films and approximately 100 original drawings and plans – it offers a comprehensive overview of the Dutch designer’s work. In addition, it incorporates comparative works by contemporaries such as Theo van Doesburg, Bart van der Leck, Le Corbusier and Marcel Breuer, thus shedding light on the mutual exchange of ideas and Rietveld’s place in the context of other modernist currents.
Viewed in the light of this new retrospective, many facets of Gerrit Rietveld’s work prove to be astonishingly relevant today. For example, his urban plans appear to have much more in common with current developments than many radical utopian concepts put forth by other modernist architects, since Rietveld’s were based on social aspects rather than dogmatic principles. And with a series of furniture for self-assembly in the 1930s and ’40s, Rietveld anticipated even today’s do-it-yourself trend and the concept of “open design”.
Gerrit Rietveld: The Revolution of Space, May 17 – September 16, at Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany
Illustration by architect Tadao Ando of the Farnsworth House (1945-51) designed by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. (Image: Farnsworth House, 2009, Ink on paper, 18 1/2” x 12 3/4” each, Courtesy of the architect.)
Eindhoven-based design duo Raw Color toast the opening of Martin Creed’s grand overhaul of London’s Sketch restaurant with graphic still lifes dedicated to the restaurant’s new menu. The Turner Prize winning artist’s takeover saw him entirely revamp Sketch’s interiors, hanging his large-scale paintings along the walls and hand-picking each individual table, chair and piece of cutlery, as well as contributing in the kitchen. Sketch co-founder and Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire conceived two playfully named dishes dedicated to the conceptual artist–“Navet Martin Creed” and “Dundee Pinky”. Raw Color concocted their Irving Penn-esque visions from each dish’s disassembled ingredients, including black olive jelly, squid ink and parmesan cream. “The cooking side of the project was harder to translate into our own visual language,” says Christoph Brach, one half of Raw Color with Daniera ter Haar. “But looking at Creed and his approach to projects, how he organizes things, stacking from big to small, we knew we could take the ingredients and do something similar with them.” In typical Creed fashion the artist has even given the project a numbered title: Work No. 1347.
Read more: Edible Sculptures at Sketch