Auction, Design, London

PHILLIPS London – Diego Giacometti, top lots in the Design Auction – Thursday 2 May 2024

Phillips Announces Highlights from the London Design Auction, Featuring Exceptional 20th Century French, Brazilian, and Italian Design

Sale on 2 May to be Led by Diego Giacometti, and Include Iconic Works by Joaquim Tenreiro and Ettore Sottsass

LONDON – 15 APRIL 2024Phillips is pleased to present highlights of the London Design auction on 2 May. Featuring a curated selection of over 140 lots and led by two Diego Giacometti works, the sale includes further examples of French design, an exceptionally rare and important group of Brazilian works, alongside iconic mid- century Italian design and British Studio Ceramics from Hans Coper and Lucie Rie. The sale will be on view at Phillips’ London galleries on Berkeley Square from 26 April until the auction on 2 May at 2pm.

Mattia Bonetti, ‘Polyhedral’ chest of drawers

Alessandro Mendini , ‘Kandissi’ sofa

Diego Giacometti
‘Grecque’ low table, designed circa 1965, produced 1968 Estimate: £200,000 – 300,000

Joaquim Tenreiro and Regina Bolonha
Unique coffee table, circa 1957 Estimate: £30,000 – 50,000

Domenico Raimondo, Senior Director, Head of Design, Europe and Senior International Specialist, said “We are delighted to unveil our Spring auction which highlights an extraordinary and diverse breadth of material. From rare and unique pieces by Joaquim Tenreiro and José Zanine Caldas to the fantastical craftsmanship of Diego Giacometti and the distinctive designs of Ettore Sottsass and Gaetano Pesce, this tightly curated group highlights iconic works by some of the most celebrated architects and designers of the 20th century. We look forward to welcoming visitors to the preview exhibition which opens on 26 April.”

Diego Giacometti’s enduring fascination with Antiquity, stemming from his youth, profoundly influenced his iconic designs, exemplified in his ‘Grecque’ low table and ‘X’ form stool, conceived at the pinnacle of his artistic career. These meticulously crafted pieces demonstrate Giacometti’s mastery of bronze casting techniques and keen attention to detail, resulting in sophisticated works that seamlessly blend ancient inspirations with modern sensibilities. These works epitomise Giacometti’s playful nod to Antiquity, and boast impeccable provenance, having been acquired directly from the artist and remaining within the same family ever since.

Diego Giacometti
‘X’ form stool, troisième version, designed circa 1960, produced 1967 Estimate: £80,000 – 120,000

Line Vautrin
‘Soleil torsadé’ mirror, circa 1960 Estimate: £30,000 – 50,000

A further French design highlight of the sale is Line Vautrin’s ‘Soleil torsadé’ mirror. Initially a jewellery maker and later a designer and decorative artist, Vautrin gained recognition at the 1937 Paris International Exposition, leading to the establishment of her boutique on Rue de Berri and later moving to Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. The designer’s groundbreaking talosel, crafted from cellulose acetate and mirrored glass, allowed her to expand beyond traditional accessories to create unique, exuberant designs reminiscent of ancient relics.

In the mid-20th century, Brazilian design experienced a period of growth. It was a pivotal moment that laid the foundation for a distinctively unique modernism, spearheaded by pioneers such as Joaquim Tenreiro and Lina Bo Bardi. Their legacy endured, and Brazilian design has garnered international recognition. Leading the group in this sale is a unique coffee table designed by Joaquim Tenreiro and Regina Bolonha circa 1957. Steeped in history, the table remained in the collection of the Profili family for over three decades. The family are descendants of Arturo and Enrica Profili who migrated from Italy to Brazil in the post-war era, leaving a significant mark on São Paulo’s cultural landscape. When Walter Gropius and Oswaldo Bratke designed and built the Profili’s home in the late 1950s, Bratke chose works designed by Tenreiro, including the present work. Further highlights of the Brazilian design group include Tenreiro’s ‘Mesa triangular’ dining table, José Zanine Caldas’ ‘Namoradeira’ rocking love seat, and Fernando and Humberto Campana’s renowned ‘Sushi’ sofa.

José Zanine Caldas, ‘Namoradeira’ rocking love seat

Gio Ponti, Rare wall-mounted cabinet

Fernando Campana and Humberto Campana, ‘Sushi’ sofa

Ettore Sottsass, Jr., Rare mirror

A highlight of this sale is a rare mirror designed by Ettore Sottsass in 1960. An architect by training, Sottsass’ artistic journey was influenced by unconventional spaces and painters, leading him to view design as a means of discussing life rather than merely shaping objects. The present work was designed for Collezione di cornici e oggetti di legno, an exhibition at Galleria Il Sestante that opened in May 1960 in Milan. Further Italian design highlights in the sale include a writing desk and a rare wall-mounted cabinet designed by Gio Ponti, Alessandro Mendini’s ‘Kandissi’ sofa and Gaetano Pesce’s prototype sideboard. This sideboard was only produced once more for the Nobody’s Perfect exhibition at the Wolfsonian-FIU Museum, Miami for the first edition of the Art Basel Miami Fair in 2002.

The selection of British Studio Ceramics featured in this sale includes a rare white ‘Cycladic Arrow’ form by Hans Coper, and a footed bowl by Lucie Rie. Following the immense success of the Lucie Rie and Hans Coper, Exceptional Ceramics Auction in November 2023, a further six lots formerly in the Collection of Cyril Frankel will be included in the sale this May.

Auction: 2 May 2024
Auction viewing: 26 April – 2 May 2024
Location: 30 Berkeley Square, London, W1J 6EX
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