Yesterday, Sotheby’s held its Fine 20th Century Design sale in London and made £576,750 by selling 47 out of the 87 lots on offer. The Sotheby’s sale had very few big ticket items with the top estimate level barely making it into the five figures. But Phillips de Pury goes to market tomorrow with a much bigger–168-lot sale–that has a broader mix of higher-value lots including Marc Newson’s tent-pole lot, the Lockheed Lounge. Here’s Bloomberg on the sale:
“It’s the seminal piece of contemporary design,” Kenny Schachter, a London-based dealer in contemporary art and design, said in an interview. “Everything in the market is measured against this. It’s traded as regularly as an IBM share.” [ . . . ]
Another version of the Australian-born, London-based designer’s 1988 limited-edition divan ignited the auction market for contemporary furniture in June 2006 when it sold at Sotheby’s, New York, for a record $968,000. Another pushed the record up to 748,500 pounds at Christie’s, London, in October 2007. [ . . . ]
“The market for cutting-edge design has paralleled the contemporary-art market,” Alexander Payne, Phillips de Pury’s head of design, said in an interview. “Buyers and sellers have been affected by the wider economic picture. We have to edit sales and only offer rare, fresh works that are conservatively estimated.”
The Independent took a deeper look at the source of these limited-edition design works:
Like many autonomous designers, Newson, Dixon and Jongerius view limited-edition design as part of a much bigger picture. It represents ideas from the research departments of their studios – real prototype design – but it is never the be-all and end-all of their professions.
“As an industrial designer,” says Australian Marc Newson, “I work to briefs, but in the case of my limited- edition works I have no boudaries, so I can create my own parameters. I can let my imagination run free and express my enthusiasm for materials, processes and techniques – but on my terms.” Tom Dixon, an equally experienced and established British designer, echoes his sentiments. [ . . . ] “I’ve taken full advantage of the market changing to do exactly what I was before, but in a slightly more attractive way. I’m using it as somewhere I can experiment rather than trying to make everything work from a commerce view.”