The Art Newspaper covers the growing design fair’s recession-induced identity crisis:
If the Dutch dominated contemporary sales, the ballast of the fair was provided by Paris dealers showing classic French modernist design. Jacques Lacoste sold a Jean Royère Ours Polaire (polar bear) sofa and armchairs, around 1957, to a private US collector for €480,000 in the first hour.
Among the buyers of classic French work was UK collector Frank Cohen, who bought a pair of concrete outdoor lamps designed by Le Corbusier for the city of Chandigarh in India, 1952-56, for €22,000 each from Patrick Seguin. “I’ll put them in my garden,” Cohen said, adding: “I used to buy contemporary design, but the market moved too high, too fast. Why should I buy Marc Newson furniture for hundreds of thousands when I can buy work by great modernists for €20,000-€30,000?”
Although the fair has a special exhibition devoted to Newson, few examples of his work are on view with dealers. Ron Arad and Zaha Hadid, two equally sought-after designers in recent years, are also hard to find, and some in the field lamented their absence.
“The most important designers aren’t even here,” said Loïc Bigot of Tools Galerie, Paris, a contemporary specialist showing in Basel for the first time. He expressed his disappointment that the majority of galleries were not dedicated solely to contemporary design. “It is supposed to be a contemporary fair,” he said.
Design Market Finds New Vigor (The Art Newspaper)