Homage to Vladimir Kagan (1927 – 2016)

A 28 year old Kagan in his Two Position rocker and ottoman, 1955. Image by Herman van Ness, courtesy of Vladimir Kagan Design Group Photography by Hans van Ness.

28 year old Kagan in his Two Position rocker and ottoman, 1955. Image by Herman van Ness, courtesy of Vladimir Kagan Design Group 

Ondine chair in walnut, designed 1958. Image courtesy of Vladimir Kagan.

Ondine chair in walnut, designed 1958. Image courtesy of Vladimir Kagan Design Group.

“I am evolutionary, not revolutionary. I’ve always designed to fill a void in the lifestyle of the modern home”. Vladimir Kagan

The design world lost the inimitable Vladimir Kagan last month. His highly individual biomorphic forms and powerfully sculptural pieces were his signature marks. His designs are in the permanent collections of the V & A Museum and Vitra Design Museum, among others and he was inducted into the Interior Designers Hall of Fame in 2009.

Serpentine Sofa.

Serpentine sofa, designed 1949. Image courtesy of Vladmir Kagan Design Group.

A custom Serpentine sofa, 2007, in a New York town house by Julie Hillman Design. Photography by Bärbel Miebach.

A custom Serpentine sofa, 2007, in a New York town house by Julie Hillman Design. Photography by Bärbel Miebach. Image courtesy of Vladimir Kagan Designs.

A proponent of the adage ‘form follows function’, Kagan put the comfort and functionality of his pieces in the forefront when designing furniture. Talking about his revolutionary Serpentine sofa in an interview in April 2015 Kagan said, “A curved shape makes more sense so that you’re not sitting like birds on a wire, lined up. People like to sit out in the open, away from the wall. A sofa should float in space, like interior landscaping”. His work is infused with a deep sensuality and a sense of the joy of life, avoiding the austerity that was the hallmark of much Modernist furniture. Fluid and seductive, the inventive sensuous shapes and undulating lines of his work speak of his sheer delight in the beauty of form.

The German-born son of a cabinetmaker, Kagan studied architecture at Columbia University before joining his father in the family business, and opening his own shop in New York in 1949. His breakthrough commission was for the Delegates Cocktail Lounges in the UN Headquartes in Lake Success in 1947-48. He infused his sleek and inventive designs with the pragmatism of the craftsman, calling his work “vessels for the body”.

Ralph Pucci International have produced licensed re-editions of some of his designs and Kagan was working at the time of his death on new designs with them. You will find the authorized international showrooms where KAGAN CLASSIC collections are available, made to the exacting specifications of original Kagan Designs, at www.vladimirkagan. You can also find his beautiful recently revised book ‘A Lifetime of Avant Garde Design’ on the site.

Vladimir Kagan book

Tri-symmetric 412 glass coffee table. Designed 1950. Image courtesy of Vladimir Kagan Designs.

Tri-symmetric 412 glass coffee table. Designed 1950. Image courtesy of Vladimir Kagan Designs.

175E Contour Lounge Side Chair. Designed c 1958.

175E Contour Lounge Side Chair. Designed c 1958. Image courtesy of Vladimir Kagan Designs

Vladimir Kagan armchair, c1953. Brooklyn Museum.

Vladimir Kagan armchair, c1953. Image courtesy of Brooklyn Museum.

Vladimir Kagan Stool, c 1960, Brooklyn Museum

Vladimir Kagan Stool, c 1960. Image courtesy of Brooklyn Museum

The Lotus chir, c 1970 Back in production. Available at Vladimir kagan Designs

The Lotus chair, c 1970 Back in production. Image courtesy of  Vladimir Kagan Designs

Unicorn sofas in a private London home by Vladimir Kagan. Image courtesy of AD.Unicorn sofas in a private London home by Vladimir Kagan. Designed 1960s. Image courtesy of AD.

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Vladimir Kagan (1927 – 2016)

France’s unique and thrilling Hôtel Drouot

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Drouot has always held an allure for collectors, amateurs and tourists alike and we also know it can also feel rather daunting. This week we explain what exactly ‘Hôtel’ Drouot is and how this operation works. Next time you’ll be ready!

First thing to know is that The Hôtel Drouot itself isn’t an auction house. It’s a building that looks and feels like an American mall with florescent lighting and a central escalator connecting several floors, which opened in 1852 and today hosts about 75 small, private Paris-based auction houses, each with its own auctioneer.

There are 16 salerooms and outside of each one is a screen telling you which auction house is offering what sale is inside. It also list all of the specialists that worked on the sale. There are over 200 independent specialists that assist the auction houses to identify and authenticate every single object offered for sale.

About 1,300 sales take place in the Hôtel per year and on average about 500 objects sold per day – 6 days a week. Hotel Drouot is open Monday – Saturday.


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Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Lithograph

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Flowers low table,  with colored silkscreen on paper after Andy Warhol, Edition SundayB Morning.

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Pair of Jacques-Emil Ruhlmann (1879-1933) ash wood bergères, model ‘Bas Ducharme’, circa 1927.


Who can go? Just like all auction houses Drouot is open to the public and anyone can attend and participate in an auction.

What is for sale? Everything. From box lots that can contain vases, incomplete sets of Limoges dishware, fur coats, silvered trinkets, pin boxes, etc … with estimates of 10-20 euros to the most important/valued furniture and art in the world. France, having been the wealthiest country in the world during the reign of Louis XIV until the 19th century accumulated a lot of riches and cultural objects that are still uncovered in homes to this day. The quantity and quality of objects is unique to France and consequently the treasure hunt is alive and doing very well here at Drouot!

You can certainly feel the energy of the hunt! We were recently there before opening hours for a private view and the moment the doors opened to the public at 11am the escalators were packed. And people were on a mission! Don’t get in their way. Everyone seemed to have done previous research and knew what they were there to see. Some people pulled suitcases behind them anticipating leaving with treasures. Others carried flashlights to use when they pull out drawers to examine construction, and still others examined silver stamps. One thing for sure – the objects for sale are sold as is – authenticity is a matter of wording, which can be tricky for the unseasoned browser. We noticed that many people were saying good morning to each other tipping us off that they are regulars and mainly dealers.


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French black lacquered wood and silvered cast iron standing cabinet.


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Art Deco Glass and Silvered Metal Tray


How it works:

  • There are about 7/8 sales in Drouot every day.
  • Each sale comes and goes over two days. The first day is an exhibition of all the sale lots from 11am-6pm. The second day the smaller items are available to touch and examine from 11am to 12noon. During this time the larger items are moved to the edges of the room and an auction stand is placed in the room, chairs are slowly set up for the public who will bid on the items.
  • All auctions start at 2pm.
  • All sales are finished by 6pm and the next sale begins it’s set up at 7pm/8pm until about 10pm.

Whew! It’s very impressive! The energy is palpable. Drouot says that almost 5,000 people come through each day.


Unlike Christie’s and Sotheby’s there are no set bidding increments so you need to really pay attention!

  • Just like all the other auction houses there are buyer premiums to pay … 25% at the moment. There is often an expert fee to add on and there is always a 5% state fee to pay. It’s always important to keep in mind these fees when considering your top bid. You’ll need to add about 30% to the hammer price.
  • For property under 1000 Euros you can pay cash – just like in the shops.
  • The winning bidder pays on the spot and walks out with the smaller items purchased. (Hence the people pulling suitcases!)
  • If an item is too big to carry out there is a desk on the ground floor where you can arrange shipping. There is next day shipping in Paris and shipping is available worldwide.


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Set of four Tulip Chairs by Aero Saarinen (1910 – 1961) Edited by Knoll International


Some extra info:

  • Drouot produces a weekly magazine listing all of their sales plus many other sales around France including Christie’s/Sotheby’s to small regional auctions. It comes out every Friday.
  • There is a free monthly magazine as well (in French, Chinese and English) that highlights the important sale highlights and results as well as interviews, museum highlights and trend reports.
  • DrouotLive is for the online sales. All wine sales are on line and many other sales as well. You need to check on the website.
  • Catalogues are produced for the important sales. Sales without catalogues
  • Each first Saturday of the month a decorator is invited to create rooms using objects on view. It’s a project that takes place during opening hours. The idea is inspire people by putting the objects in context as a way to help highlight their value.

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Rosewood commode by Kurt Ostervig (1912-1986) Edited by KP Mobler

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Four gilt cast iron chairs by Rene Prou (1889- 1947)

Bon weekend!

All photos from catalogues for upcoming sales at Drouot.

Our Q & A with exciting young designer, Ben Storms


In Vein table - total view.
InVein table. Image courtesy of Filip Dujardin.
 In Vein table in use and against the wall
In Vein table by Ben Storms, 2013. Image courtesy of Luca Beel.
Inspired by trestle tables in the Middle Ages which were often painted with Biblical scenes on the underside for reflection when the table was not in use and placed up against the wall, Ben perpetuated the idea of a mobile table. Under the 3mm slab tabletop of grey Ardennes marble is the ‘belly’ of polished stainless steel formed into a convex shape by a technique called hydrofoaming (water pressure gives it its organic shape) which can be used as a reflective mirror when stood up against the wall. When in use it is placed on two steel legs connected by beautiful leather straps.
A marble top trestle table. A low table made of a massive slab of marble snugly resting on an inflated metal pillow. A table made of glass panels with no structural support. These are challenges to test the most experienced of designers – both logistically and aesthetically – and yet young emerging Belgian designer, Ben Storms has magnificently created and mastered all three. His approach is all about matter, and respecting and exploring materials, pushing the boundaries, and incorporating new techniques with such ancient materials as marble and glass.
We caught up with Ben at PAD Paris last week where his In Vein table won the prize for Best Contemporary Design. If you missed it at PAD you can see it in the movie ‘Criminal’, a CIA thriller due for release this year! Despite his tight schedule (he has been completing his prototype InStock glass table for ‘Belgium is Design’, Fuorisalone in Milan this week, 12 – 17 April), he graciously found time for a Q & A with us. Enjoy learning about this exciting new talent.
All images courtesy of Ben Storms unless otherwise stated.
Ben Storms with the InVein table.Ben and the In Vein table. Image courtesy of LRS photography.
What inspires you? I like to experiment with a lot of different techniques and materials. I have a need to explore, to push the limits as you can see in my piece In Vein. I love to start with a given material and look for the boundaries, limits and characteristics of a specific material. When I have that information I can start working and experimenting, and after this process I end up with a certain shape, aesthetic or design (in the best case scenario!)  

On the other hand, nowadays, I notice that I can just have a sudden image in my head having been inspired by something that I see. This is different and much quicker.  I don’t find myself running to the library anymore to dig into a certain problem/technique/material like I did when I was a student. Furthermore I am tending more towards sculptural work, as you can see in my work InHale low table and I am working on a new collection called InStock which was inspired by glass and the pallets with reclaimed building materials which I grew up with.  I realize more and more that my designs are very personal, my background has got a huge and positive influence on my work.

The plastic arts are super inspiring to me in many ways: aesthetically, dramatically, in the exploration of materials, shapes, aesthetics and feelings. There are no boundaries, as in function for design.  Materials, their boundaries and their possibilities also inspire me profoundly as well as techniques and technical challenges. Old crafts and new innovation and playing around on the boundaries of these techniques fascinate me. I use old techniques on other more contemporary materials. And the other way around too –  today we have CNC techniques and machines that we can use with those old materials giving us more possibilities than ever. To me those 3D and CNC techniques are the contemporary crafts.


In Vein table, reflective mirror

The In Vein table up against the wall. Image above courtesy of Filip Dujardin

In Vein table detail

Detail of leather strap on the In Vein table. Image above courtesy of Luca Beel.

You won the Prize for Contemporary Design for your brilliant ‘In Vein’ table at PAD Paris this year. Could you take us through your thinking behind the design of it?  This table took me about a year to develop (2013). The starting point was marble, a material that is very familiar to me and I wanted to use it for my end project on the VOMO course in Design at Thomas More in Mechelen. I literally summed up all characteristics that come to mind when thinking of marble : ‘Heavy, expensive, cold, kitsch, breaks, hard, old, thick, …’ After a while I decided to make a lightweight marble table supported by trestles because it goes totally against all these characteristics. You can feel this on very first sight of the table. I believe this is the strength of this piece, everyone is immediately struck by the fact that this is ‘impossible’. The In Vein table is probably one of the lightest marble tables ever made: the 3m version is about 65 kg. Another important thing is that every choice in material, construction, shape was like an obligation and absolutely necessary for constructional reasons. This resulted in a well balanced material mix that works really well in terms of aesthetics. The aesthetics are a result of choices made in order to have a perfect construction:  ‘aesthetics follow construction’.  To me this work is all about design, pushing the limits of materials and techniques to realize a new kind of table.


  InHale tables in marble with metal bases inflated using the hydrofoil technique, 2014 

InHale low table..

InHale low table...

InHale low table closeup

Image above courtesy of Tom Van Remoortere

InHale table.

Image above courtesy of Filip Dujardin

InHale detail.

Image above courtesy of Filip Dujardin

Could you show us another of your pieces and tell us about it? InHale came right after In Vein and was partly inspired by it. I use the same technique of hydroforming the metal as I did for InVein.  For InHale I started with a rough block of St Anne marble from Belgium. This marble is very exclusive since the quarry closed half a century ago. My family bought the left over stock which was rediscovered 4 years ago in the quarry under a big pile of earth when they were expanding their infrastructure.

I wanted to find a way to lift this heavy block and, while analysing a previous little test I did to experiment with the hydroforming (which resulted in a little metal pillow), I found my solution. The block is supported by a blown metal pillow, giving an interesting contrast in terms of heavyness/lightness, hardess/softness, polished/roughness of the marble. What is interesting in terms of design is that the metal pillow balances the marble in a way which means it becomes perfectly level, so fulfilling its function as a low table.                                                                                    


This is the prototype (below) which Ben completed this week of ‘Instock l Glass’. It is being shown now in Milan at ‘Belgium is Design’  (‘Belgian Matters’) at Fuorisalone, Palazzo Litta (12 – 17 April 2016). 

Prototype of InStock glass table

unspecified copyImage above courtesy of Julien Renault




You have just completed the prototype of your new piece from the ‘In Stock l Glass’ collection for ‘Belgium is Design’ in the Palazzo Litta in Milan, curated by Damn Magazine. The objective of the exhibition was for each designer to work with a new, unknown to them, material. You chose glass and this prototype remarkably has no structure in another material – just glass! Tell us about this piece.  The title for the collection, Instock refers to the amazing stock of materials my father has accumulated throughout his career. My parents had a business in reclaimed materials and stone masonry. I love the patina of these old materials. Objects can become more beautiful while aging, and some of the objects I’m working with have been around for centuries. The materiality of these objects will be the vantage point for every new piece in the collection. And the context they were found in is decisive too. The geometric aesthetics of  the title ‘In Stock l Glass’ refer to the way the material was piled up on the wooden pallets when my father found it. This prototype wouldn’t exist if my father hadn’t stumbled across a pallet of beautiful translucent glass tiles from a glass factory that had gone out of business in a small village in France.

To me the function of this piece isn’t really defined, it could be a low table or a bench. I prefer to see it as an object playing with light and displaying the beauty of the material and it’s properties. I refer to a certain or possible function thanks to or via the dimension. I didn’t want to use any structure to carry the material, just glass so the glass panels, which are 1,5cm thick, are stuck together very solidly with UV-glue. The glass tiles are cold-casted, the type which are normally used by architects to provide visual obscuration while still permitting light to pass through. Only these tiles did not have a vacuum inside. Just like stone and marble, glass has its own properties. Each piece has its own unique character. Glass tiles contain residual internal stresses introduced during the manufacturing process. I am trying to do something with that tension. I want to display that tension and make it work in my favor. I have been working on the prototype for 3 months and was finalizing it last week.
We have a feeling we’re going to be seeing a lot more of the powerful work of Ben Storms.
Wishing you all a great weekend!

AD Collections at the Hotel de la Marine, Place De Concorde



The newly renovated entrance hall of the Hôtel de la Marine

Coinciding with PAD Paris last weekend was the opening of a fast growing 10-day event called AD Collections. We have reported on various versions of this exhibition over the past few years. This year it includes 40 interior designers, craftsmen, architects and designers for large luxury houses. Each were asked to present three pieces emblematic of their philosophies.

The work is presented by Architectural Digest and Mobilier National through Sunday in the Hôtel de la Marine on the Place de Concorde.or

Newly refurbished interiors …

The Mobilier National’s primary mission is to furnish the official buildings of the Republic around the globe and promote French culture. The government agency is also charged with maintaining the French national collection of important furniture dating to the 17th century as well as the creation of new tapestries, carpets and furniture through through the national Manufacturers (Gobelins – tapestry and and cabinet makers) that the agency oversees. The ‘atelier for Recherche et de Creation’ (ARC) is responsible for producing furniture prototypes . The ARC was created in 1964 by the current Minister of Culture, Andre Malraux, and concides with the end of France’s reconstruction and modernization period beginning in the 1950s. The atelier ARC, has since enabled the Mobilier National to evolve into the 21st century. Its mission, amongst others, is to ‘promote contemporary techniques in furniture design.’ To date, the ARC has created over 500 prototypes since its inception, calling upon nearly every accomplished French designer one can think of: from Pierre Paulin and Olivier Mourgue in the 70s, to Garouste and Bonetti and Martin Szekely in the 1980s and the Bourroullec brothers Ronan and Erwan in the 1990s.

Here are some highlights incase you can’t make it this weekend!

Elliot Barnes, the American interior designer in Paris known for the Ruinart Champagne headquarters projects and many private partmentain Paris and hotels such as Ritz Carlton in Wolfsburg Germany and many private apartment, created an ‘undressing’ mirror because ones needs are different at the end of an evening … It is constructed of panel of stained glass, a hand stitched shelf for a watch of earnings and a black lacquered structure inspired by work of fashion designer Azzedine Alaia. His hand blown glass tabouret, Les Sables du temps, marks every half hour in time, and his console Zuma, is inspired by waves in California and incorporates seaweed that influences the feeling of movement.


‘Meubles Bijoux’ by Kam Tin, a designer from Hong Kong who made a very limited production of his work. His brand was purchased by Maison Rapin and today it flourishes with creations like those above covered in pyrite and turquoise. Other creations include rock crystals and amber.




This is the fauteuil ‘Cerise’ by Eric Schmitt in Black-lacquered wood, polished bronze and velvet (L82 x l82 x h78 cm). Schmitt recently opened atelier in the Marais for private clients.


Desk by Noé Duchaufour Lawrence in oak, linen and leather, Made for the Atelier de Research (ARC) by Mobilier National



Coffee table by Emmanuel Bossuet, a graphic artist and artistic director in Pars who has been involved in fashion and creates furniture collections.


A hand sculpted marble-yop table by interior designer Stephanie Coutas.





Patricia Urquiola’s Swing Chair and stool for Louis Vuitton



18th century tassels ….



Fauteuil Racket by Humberto and Fernando Campana for Carpenters Workshop Gallery



Beautiful pattern and patina!



Some highlights from PAD Paris 2016.

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Abstract stain glass panel with patinated metal by Jacques Le Chevalier (1896-1987). Special commission for Societé Bobson, Paris 1965.  It won the prize for Best 20th century piece this year at Pad. Galerie Jacques Lacoste, Paris. Image courtesy of Jacques Lacoste Gallery.

This week we’ve been at PAD Paris which celebrated its 20th anniversary year in grand style. There were spectacular pieces to see, beautifully curated stands and a wide variety of contemporary and more historic works. With predominantly French galleries exhibiting, there were a few foreign galleries present. Here are a few of the pieces we especially loved.

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Rare standing light ‘1049’, 1951-1952 by Vittoriano Vigano and Gino Sarfatti, Kreo Gallery. Image courtesy of Kreo Gallery.

Kreo Gallery exhibit at PAD London and we were delighted to see them this year at PAD Paris. They showed a fabulous selection of iconic lighting from the 1950s. This rare standing light by Vittoriano Vigano and Gino Sarfatti is tall and imposing, the dual colors of red and black adding a dynamism and energy that is palpable.

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 09.45.10‘Elizabeth’ chairs and tabouret, Kofred Larsen, 1956, Modernity Gallery, Sweden. Image courtesy of Modernity Gallery.

A pair of these chairs, in rosewood and original leather, was bought by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip on a visit to Stockholm many years ago – hence the name! The buttery caramel leather and rich rosewood, so characteristic of Scandinavian furniture of this period, speaks to the aesthete in us.

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Tete a tete chair by Alf Wallander for Giobbel’s workshop, 1900. Modernity Gallery. Image courtesy of Modernity Gallery.

The exquisite forms of this beautiful chair are further enhanced by its touching history. It was a special commission for Carl A. Wahlin as a gift from his daughters Wera, Elsa, Orla and Aina December 8th 1900. The original tapestry seats were embroidered by the daughters to Alf Wallander’s sketch. The curving forms and masterful carving of the solid oak frame is echoed in the smooth line snaking along the base. Really special.


Pair of chairs in Jacaranda wood, Jorge Zalsupin. James Gallery

Brilliant Brazilian design.


Large Quartz rock crystal ‘Waterfall’ table with steel frame. Chahan Galerie, Paris.

Love the crystal, love the shadows it produces.

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 14.26.55‘Supine’ desk in bronze 2013 by Charles Trevelyan, Carpenters Workshop Gallery. Image courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery.

Carpenters were showing the work of young Australian designer Charles Trevelyan. The elongated ethereal forms of this piece belie the massiveness of its solid patinated bronze. We loved the detail on the table top – a small discreet panel which opens where you store things, rather like a long ink well but more likely these days for computer plugs!

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 Xiangsheng shelving unit in brown oxidized bronze and brushed bronze 2016, BSL Galerie, Paris. Image courtesy of BSL Galerie.

Design MVW (Chinese born designer Xu Ming and French architect Virginie Moriette) is a Shanghai-based design company whose work subtly connects contemporary Western and Eastern aesthetics. In the West a solid object is valued for its form and solidity while in Eastern Taoist philosophy, the void is charged with meaning as a space of contemplation and reflection.


Spectacular decorative panels in resin polyester by François Chapuis, c1970. ‘Wing’ console by Gerard Kuijpers, 2015.  Galerie Gastou

This theatrical ‘Mur lumineuse’ by François Chapuis stands 4 metres high and contrasts dramatically and superbly with the stark ‘Wing’ console with its chunks of roughly hewn white Aubert marble by Gerard Kuijpers. Chapuis was a renowned stain glass artisan responsible for the reconstruction of many French churches when he began his experiments in resin during the 1960s.

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‘Crystal’ commode in nickel plated metal and wood. Limited edition of 6. Garrido Gallery, Madrid. Image courtesy of Garrido Gallery.

Second generation silversmiths, Juan and Palomo Garrido have taken up the mantel of their father, Master Silversmith Damien Garrido, in employing the traditional techniques while creating contemporary forms. With a reverence for the past and a great knowledge of the artisanal processes involved in the trade, they have moved resolutely forward to create spectacular pieces like the commode above. The play of light created by the contrasting surface planes is invigorating and pulses with energy.


Invein table by Ben Storms, 2016. L’Eclaireur, Paris. Image courtesy of Ben Storms.

At the opening evening of PAD we spoke to this exciting young artist, whose table won the PAD Prize this year for Best Contemporary Work. The design is brilliant. The surface of the table is grey Ardennes marble while the underside is polished mirror. When the table is not in use the top can be easily removed and placed against the wall as a mirror. We loved the leather incorporated into the design.


Suspension copper light, 3D printed resin, and LEDs, 2014. Ilkka Suppanenen. Limited edition of 8 pieces + 4 AP. Galerie Maria Wettergren. Image courtesy of Maria Wettergren.

Spectacular suspension light created by Finnish designer, artist and architect, Ilkka Suppanenen.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Collecting from the Perspective of Art Advisor Andrea Hazen

AH #1_0139[1]This week we take a look at the world of collecting from the perspective of Andrea Hazen, an art advisor based in NYC and Paris. She’s a personal friend and I’ve also been her client ! (She guided me to my first contemporary art acquisition – a Marilyn Minter photograph, which is my favorite piece in my home!)

This interview is prompted by a desire to explore the idea of approaching acquisitions – whether they are art or furniture – as expressions – even inanimate extensions-  of ourselves, our goals, our aspirations.  Hope you enjoy it!

What drew you to this métier?

As a child I was drawn to architecture and interior design (spending more time arranging my Barbie’s homes than playing house), as well as art. I started taking private painting lessons very early on. Later at St. Mary’s College I double majored in Studio Art and Art History. I was also passionate about Architecture and completed the first year curriculum at the University of Notre Dame during my sophomore year.

A couple of years after graduating my moment of providence appeared when I got a job working for an Art Advisor in Chicago. I worked with her for 9 years building an incredible business. During that time I did go back to school and complete a degree in Interior Architecture. In 2002 I decided it was time to spread my wings and I moved to New York City where I started my own business. Et voila, here I am, some 22 years into this most unusual of “métiers” and I still love it as much as the day I started.


Andrea Hazen Candida Hofer 2

Candida Hofer photo in a private residence in NYC.

How do you approach collecting?

There are different approaches when it comes to collecting and installing art but I find I like to take a holistic approach; being respectful of both the art and the context in which it is installed. Some people dismiss this approach as “decorating with art” but that’s not the way I see it. It’s taking into account the interior space as a whole and thoughtfully incorporating the art. Museums curate and thoughtfully hang their exhibits and I try to do the same. And yes, aesthetics play into this and are very important to me.

Sheila Hicks Saw Walking Andrea Hazen

Sheila Hicks

What is your philosophy on collecting?

Collecting art is a very personal venture and I believe a collection should reflect the owner’s personal interests, vision and taste. I do not try and push my own agenda on my clients.  I work with them to build collections that are meaningful to them and that they’ll love and continue to build upon over time. I try to push them out of their comfort zones as their tastes develop and evolve. I think this is one reason why my clients still love living with the artworks they purchased in their early days of collecting

Rob Pruitt Andrea Hazen

Rob Pruitt

What is the best way to start collecting?

If someone is interested in starting to collect, education and experience are key. The art world is big and it’s hard to know where to start and who to trust. One should begin looking at art by visiting galleries, museums and art fairs while reading art publications, getting exposure and figuring out the things he/she is drawn to and why.

Peter Liversidge Everything is Connected Andrea Hazen

Peter Liversidge

What services does an art advisor offer?

We help shortcut this daunting undertaking and get you “there” faster and take the sting out of it.

A good advisor will meet with you to talk about your interests, level of art knowledge, budget, and interior environment. Education is a huge component to my approach. There are a lot of mistakes that can be made. There is a lot of overpriced, expensive art being sold that will not hold its value.  I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard over the years of people being seduced by a sales agent at a commercial art gallery, spending big money on a work of art made by an artist who is only represented by this gallery (or gallery chain) which they will never be able sell for close to the purchase price should the need/desire arise.

Due diligence is key. By this I mean it’s important to know where an artist fits into the overall art world landscape; is the artist showing in and being collected by museums, showing in international art fairs of note, and is the gallery reputable?

Diana Thater - OneEleven

Diana Thater, OneEleven Chicago, The Related Companies

In your opinion, how does collecting art impact your life? What are some benefits of collecting art and objects? 

Collecting art impacts people’s lives in much the same way as music, film, and literature. It’s culture. Years ago I posted a statement on my website, “Culture is not a luxury but a necessity. It is very personal venture, one can be interested in art that reflects one’s time; art from the past with references to history, religion or allegory; art that reflects ones emotions and feelings, etc.

I think the greatest benefit of collecting art is that it enriches one’s life greatly. There is the art as investment aspect also to consider. Art has proven to be a great and solid asset. And in countries such as France, there is an added tax benefit.

Andrea Hazen L'Oreal Valerie Belin

Valerie Belin at L’Oréal headquarters, NYC

Tell us the story of one of your favorite jobs/professional experiences?

One that comes to mind is a project where I was asked to help a beauty related corporation with the art for their headquarters in NYC. For my presentation, I put together a range of different directions, from very conservative and “expected” to incredibly interesting, cutting-edge contemporary art that reflected the brand.

At the end of my presentation, the president of the company asked me, “What would you choose? What is your favorite option?” My heart started beating a little faster when I pointed to my favorite and he said, “Let’s do that then. It makes the most sense.” He didn’t say this because he didn’t have an opinion of his own, but because he trusted mine as the person he hired to find art that reflected the company’s values. Clients get the best and most interesting results when they respect this process. Consequently they invested in world-class artists whose names are only getting bigger, leading to increased and more stable value. It was an incredibly rewarding project and the art they purchased is still relevant and looks great many years later.

Andrea Hazen Dirk Skreber Joseph Kosuth RKF

Dirk-Skreber and Joseph-Kosuth in a private residence in NYC.

How often are you in France? Will you be available to meet clients during FIAC? Would you give tours of this fair?

I divide my time between New York City and Paris. My travel schedule is based on my work with clients and the art world calendar, meaning art fairs, museum exhibitions, biennales and art world holidays (galleries shut down in August).

I will be available in Paris during FIAC to meet with clients. Private tours could be arranged if scheduled in advance.

August Sander Andrea Hazen

August Sander

How do you work with your clients? 

We begin with an initial meeting to discuss collecting goals, budget and visit the space or go over floor plans. It is essential to understand the client’s interests, aesthetic sensibilities and the purpose of the client’s collection as well as the context of where the art will be placed. Based on that first meeting, I develop a collecting strategy that suits the client’s budget and schedule and I start to cull a “broad stroke” of ideas of different artists that I think will be appealing and suitable for the client. We have a second meeting to go over the ideas I’ve put together and at that point, I have a good understanding of the direction and artists the client wants to pursue and I use my far-reaching network to source available works. As we continue to edit and hone our direction, we visit galleries and art fairs to view works in person and the client begins making purchases. It is an organic process; we start from the macro and work to the micro. I work from helping to procure artworks, helping to select framing, to arranging the delivery and overseeing the installation.

From my experience, private collections build and grow over time, and I have worked with most of my clients for many years. Corporate projects always have an end goal so we work accordingly.

 What advice would you give to new clients/collectors?

I would say it’s important to educate yourself, be open minded and to collect works you love. At the end of the day, it’s you who is going to be living with it, not the persuasive sales person.

You can learn more about Andrea Hazen one her website:  http://www.hazenpartners.com and her blog: http://sublimespy.com

All photos courtesy of Hazen Partners.

Furniture restoration – our Q & A with Philippe Bayol of Arz Men, ebenistes and restorers


The ‘After’ image! An American desk in elm, 1990s. Revarnished and tinted with vegetable based tint


The ‘before’ image!

This week we spoke with Philippe Bayol of Arz Men Ebenistes and Restorers about the most frequent projects he works on and the common problems he encounters. Philippe is an ébéniste by trade who specialised in the restoration of 20th century furniture 14 years ago. Before that he worked for 10 years mainly on 18th and 19th century furniture.

How did you start working in the restoration field?                                                                                                                 Having worked with 18th and 19th century furniture for several years, I had the opportunity to work with a gallerist who specialized in 20th century pieces. This was a new period for me and an enriching discovery and definitely gave me a taste for more. The basic techniques are the same but the materials are different. I now do restoration work for about fifteen 20th century galleries, five for whom I principally work.


Commode, ash veneer by Gio Ponti, restored by Philippe

What are some common issues you face when it comes to restoring furniture?                                                                                     One of the most frequent restoration projects I work on with 20th century furniture are damages to the wood veneer and the finishes. The veneers on these later pieces are very different from those of 18th and 19th century furniture. The main problem is often the lack of thickness of the veneer which is far thinner and more delicate than that on older pieces. In some instances it is as thin as a cigarette paper. In order to repair the veneer, we need to make sure the substrate beneath is flat (in case that has caused a problem) and the veneer is then very very carefully put in place with a very thin coat of vegetable-based glue. For the finishes on 20th century pieces, these are in 80% of the cases varnish and 20% wax-based finish. These can obviously be gently stripped off and reapplied but the technique has to be very carefully handled and done with a great deal of patience.

Apart from varnish finishes, I also do a fair amount of restoration relacquering of 20th century pieces, particularly French from the 1970s when it was very in mode. The process of relacquering is long as it is done in stages. I start by correctly removing the old lacquer (if the whole piece needs entirely relacquering), fill in any faults in the surface and sand the surface, apply the primer (up to 6 layers, each of which must be sanded), and then apply 6-8 coats of lacquer (with sometimes a light sanding to remove any dust particles). Then in order to get a brilliant surface result I sand the surface with water added to the sanding paper. I use paper with several grain strengths – 360, 600, 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000. And finally, the last stage is the polishing to get a brilliant shine.  The whole process can take from 30 to 200 hours, depending on the size of the piece.





What kind of restoration problems are the most difficult to deal with?                                                                                                   There is no one specific problem, but the techniques and aesthetics are very different for pieces depending on where they come from. The region of origin means that pieces are often made of very different woods and consequently need to be treated differently. Scandinavian furniture designers used a lot of teak, mahogany and rosewood, American designers liked American walnut and elm, and a lot of French and Italian pieces are made of European walnut, ash, oak and sycamore. Actually now that I think of it, there is a type of restoration job that is often very difficult and can take a long time to complete. Sometimes people bring me pieces which they have tried to restore themselves at home and they are brought to me when they have either gone too far in their efforts or have simply made mistakes.  Then the damage has to be undone before the work can start! Im always very happy to help as people can be distraught when they realize they have made the problem worse, but there is almost always a solution! Restoring furniture is not like painting a wall and requires real training and skill so save yourself the heartache and expense of having to have work undone and started again by finding a real restorer.

What is a particularly satisfying or interesting restoration job on which you have worked?                                      Several pieces over the years have made a strong impression on me but its true that certain Italian ‘meubles d’architects’ have utterly seduced me! In their conception and design, and once restored, they are spectacular. I had the wonderful opportunity once to restore a 19th century Russian piece which was hugely satisfying. Another project which fascinated me was working on a pair of armchairs by the legendary Carlo Bugatti. The marquetry and the mix of materials was absolutely breathtaking. I restored the marquetry and the wood structure and although it was delicate and painstaking work, Bugatti’s technical skill was so remarkable that every moment spent on the chairs was a marvel for me.


Above you see an old very poorly executed restoration on the marquetry of one of the feet. The marquetry has been half covered and this is the state in which Philippe received the chair.


 Working on the marquetry and wood structure of the Bugatti chair



And here’s the chair back in top condition!

Can you give us some tips on preserving the condition of furniture.                                                                                                         20th century furniture suffers, in the same way as 18th and 19th century works, from temperature variations, particularly in homes which are too well heated or the atmosphere is too dry. Exposure to the sunlight is equally harmful and can lead to discoloration and to the detachment of and other damage to, the veneer. In the case of sun damage, 80% of problems are simply a discoloration of the varnish. In these cases we simply carefully remove the varnish, polish the wood and reapply the varnish. However sometimes the decoloration has extended to the wood itself so we would apply a very thin coat of a vegetable based polish in very slow painstaking movements so as to create a totally uniform color and then reapply the varnish. So make sure the room in which you place your pieces is not overheated or too dry and that the pieces are not subjected to direct sunlight for protracted lengths of time. These are the main problems you need to be aware of which can lead to condition problems for your pieces, and with which I am frequently faced!


Pair of low tables by Guy Lefevre, 1970s, relacquered


Arz Man, Ave Jean Jaurès, 94100 Saint-Maur-des-Fossès, France


Quality and Understanding vs the Superstar Phenomenon

This past year we have been questioning the title ‘collectible design’. It seams to have come to stand for a very small, high-end part of the design market.

What we believe in and want to share and encourage is the understanding of the objects we invite into our lives. Objects tell stories about our values, aesthetic and aspirations.  These inanimate objects are incredibly social if we ‘listen’ to them.  They all speak of a time, a place, a point of view, an intention, and consequently represent certain values, goals and aesthetics. Engaging with them is a investment in ourselves. It is an investment in our collective material culture. It matters – because it is a statement, whether we are conscious of it or not, about what we stand for and believe to be important.

While we are still digesting Dr. Clare Andrew’s TEFAF Art Market Report for 2015, that was just released with the opening of this annual fair, we have noted that a main trend coming out of this report and from some of the companies analyzing it, such as Vastari, is what the report calls the ‘superstar phenomenon’.  This is the idea that certain artists/designers who have reached a superstar level status now guide the market. The public follows the name and the money, feeling safe buying a big name for a big ticket price. Likewise, this places museums and auction houses in a less risky position because they know that the big names/brands attract the most attention and will sell very well.  Vastari goes on to question whether, ” this strategy, both with auction houses and museums, is actually mitigating risk or just avoiding the more difficult job of education?” In our own talks with several auction house specialists recently we have been learning that indeed a few big names are driving the sales, which has lead to several cases where important objects have been overshadowed by this ‘superstar phenomenon’.

Educating ourselves about quality is the fun part! Discovering the skills and techniques used to create a work along  the stories that accompany great design is endlessly fascinating. This is what makes it a worthwhile endeavor!

And this is where the initial love that comes through beauty turns to something more sustaining.  The story of the objects connects with the story of your life.  This connection gives us the confidence to follow our instincts rather than the trends.

Next time you’re in Paris we would love to take you to see inspiring new design, in galleries, ateliers, markets or museums. What interests you? Let us know and we’ll tailor visits for you.

Have a great weekend!


These are some photos from the design section at TEFAF this year. This fair has an independent committee that evaluates every single object that is presented at the fair for authenticity. It has such a strong global reputation for a reason! These objects are good studies of quality and grace.


Cathedral table by Pierre Paulin (Paris 1927-2009 Montpellier)Aluminum and glass


Lamp, Jean-Michel Frank (1895-1941), Cross-shaped entirely covered with mica
Stamped and numbered, Circa 1930


Lustre Aomitsu #494 , Hervé Van Der Straeten, 2015, Anodized blue aluminium
Hauteur: 160 cm – cage : Ø 102.5 x H. 104 cm

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Pair of Deck Chairs, Hans Wegner (Made by cabinetmaker Johannes Hansen), 1958,  Oak, halyard, steel and canvas
73-91 x 187 x 62 cm (adjustable in height)

Read our Q & A with Béatrice Saint Laurent of BSL Gallery Paris; and a preview of some of the pieces galleries will be showing at PAD Paris 2016

Enjoy our Q & A with the enigmatic Beatrice Saint Laurent of  Galerie BSL, Paris:

What is your philosophy?

Wonder is the keyword to me: I want to be surprised, amazed, enchanted – and why not disturbed! This is the reason why the artists and designers that I work with each have a unique, strong and intriguing creative universe. Often the viewer wonders about the objects, about what they are made of, about how they are made as well. Design Art is questioning and involves a dialogue which is part of  what makes its wealth and innovative quality.

The works shown by the gallery have to instill the unexpected into the heart of the functional. Carol Egan’s work is a very good example of this. Her minimalistic design baffles reason by twisting wood up to 180 degrees. The viewer is amazed by what appears to be the impossible, a 90 or 180 degree twist contortion of a wooden plank. What seems to be a miraculous bending technique is in fact obtained by the ancient art of wood-carving.



Sculptural hand-carved walnut  180° wall ‘Twist’ console, 2012 by Carol Egan

Another example is Nacho Carbonell’s work, which I first discovered at Design Miami/Basel in 2009, the year he was named ‘Designer of the Future’  in Basel. I was struck at once by the way he experimented with shapes and textures to produce unique, handmade creations that are actually more creatures than mere pieces of furniture. Since 2011 Galerie BSL has developed two collections with him, ‘Luciferase’ and ‘Time Is A Treasure’, that testify to his strong narrative and visual language which is always recognizable in his work. This is to me the mark of true, unique artistic talent.


Luciferase VI light 2015 by Nacho Carbonell. Epoxy resin, colored pigment, sand, silicone, steel structure, LEDs. Unique piece.

What trends do you see in contemporary design in France at the moment?

I would say one of the main tendencies is a revival of the Memphis style, with designers working in the line of Ettore Sottsass and Michele de Lucchi, with a love for colors, graphic lines, and liveliness! Among the designers working with us, Charles Kalpakian represents this tendency very well. His ‘MOON’ armchairs are contemporary, while having a vintage twist. Their unusual high back and width make them particularly comfortable. While being a reinterpretation of some classics from the 50’s, they also refer to the Memphis’ 80’s with their soft, graphic and flexible lines, as well as their color combinations. Charles Kalpakian’s ‘Cinétisme’ wall cabinets which we presented at PAD London last October are also unexpected, and immediately eye-catching in the true sense of the word.


Carlton bookcase (above), 1981, by Ettore Sottsass. Image courtesy of Dezeen


Kineticism III Wall cabinet in lacquered wood with mirrors, 2015, by Charles Kalpakian

Do you have a favorite piece that you could share with us?

‘Calligraphie III’ is Taher Chemirik’s last screen, and the first to mix steel and brass. It will be shown on March 9-12, 2016 at Design Shangai, in the ‘Collectibles Section’ curated by Jérôme Sans. Taher Chemirik was a renowned jewelry artist when we decided to work together and I was a total fan of his jewelry signature designs. To me, he is a poet of the object – whatever the scale may be. I proposed him to develop together his idea of « Bijoux d’Intérieur » – ‘Interior Treasures’ : pieces like jewelry for the home, possibly of large dimensions, involving materials that defy time and in line with the tradition of the decorative arts such as brass, wood, and rare hard stones. The first pieces were exhibited at Design Miami in 2012. The challenge with most of these pieces lies in their dimensions. His ‘Calligraphy’ III screen for instance is 450 wide and 230 high and unwinds like a swirl of flat bands in a magical structure defying gravity. One of these screens has entered the Museum of Arts and Design permanent collection in NY.


Calligraphe III screen in brass and steel, 2015, by Taher Chemirik

Look out for Galerie BSL at PAD Paris Fair 2016 at the end of this month (31 March-3 April)

All images courtesy of Galerie BSL,  unless otherwise stated.

BSL Galerie, 10 rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris


Sneak preview of PAD Paris Fair 2016

This year is the 20th anniversary of PAD Paris  which takes place in the beautiful setting of the Jardins des Tuileries.  There will be 55 galleries participating, the majority of which are French with a small number of international exhibitors from the UK, Europe and the States.  Its a jewel of a Fair and one we always look forward to. Here are a few images of what you’ll be seeing this year.


‘Toute Suite’ from The French Series by Glithero, 2015.  Photo courtesy of Fumi Gallery, London.


French curved bureau in chromed metal and Saint Gobain glass, 1935-37. Photo courtesy of Galerie Jacques Lacoste, Paris


Refectory table, c 1939 by Jean Prouve. Image courtesy of Downtown Gallery, Paris

Uniacke Gallery

Danish black leather and stained mahogany low wingback armchair, c 1935,  by Frits Henningsen. Image courtesy of Rose Uniacke, London                            

 g_Tuileries16PADParis04bChastel‘Pantographe’ hexagonal table lamp in brass, 1972 by Yonel Lebovici. Image courtesy of Galerie Chastel-Marechal, Paris

22a_Ny-1500x1200Pair of Danish rosewood and leather armchairs and footstool, 1956 by Kofoed Larsen for Christensen & Larsen. Image courtesy of Modernity Gallery, Stockholm

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Signed and numbered ‘Rainbow’ handwoven carpet designed by street artist JonOne. Manufactured by Boccara. Image courtesy of Boccara, Paris

Contact us for a complimentary (entrance ticket not included) private guided tour of PAD Paris Fair, 31 March-3 April 2016. Numbers are limited but there still are a few spots left.  Looking forward to seeing you there!

Inquiries : contact@arte-case.com

Brazilian Design in Paris!

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Above and below: new works by Zanini de Zanine to be shown in Paris in March.

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Brazilian 20th century design is an established category for collectors that is increasing in appeal as these collectors and more and more enthusiasts look for pieces that are minimal and organic but perhaps not as obvious as  the names that have lead the market for 20th century design.

This past week Artsy published an article on the upcoming 12th edition of the Sao-Paolo International Art fair, which will feature a section on design for the the first time this year. They report that each of the 23 design galleries represented are from Brazil. There is a rich history of design that is intertwined with the movements in the United States and Europe while remaining true to its roots thus revealing a group of work with a unified narrative about the development of Brazilian form.  From 20th century icons such as Oscar Niemeyer to the Campana brothers, a contemporary duo who have exhibited in museums such as MoMA in NY and the Musée des  Arts Décoratifs in Paris Brazilian design brings a sensual aspect to Modernism.

Julie Lasky (Deputy Editor of the New York Times Home section and writes the column The Details in the NYT on new design) also reported on Brazilian design this week for the Wall Street Journal. In it she identifies the growth of dealers such as Espasso (NY, LA, London and soon Miami) and demand for this narrative calling Brazilian design “A sexier take on Eames.”

A book on entitled “Brazil Modern: The Rediscovery of Twentieth-Century Brazilian Furniture,” by Aric Chen with an introduction by Zesty Meyers is due for release from Monacelli Press in March. The book is co-published by R & Company (co-founded by Meyers) who have been dedicated to sourcing Brazilian design for over 10 years now.

In Paris James Gallery, located in the Marais has been gaining recognition for their promotion of Brazilian design. Their next exhibition, which opens in late March, presents exciting new work by  Zanini de Zanine, grandson of Jose Zanine Caldas the great Brazilian architect. Two of these works are pictured above.


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Chaise Longue, 1947, Joaquin Tenreiro, Jacaranda, Woven Cane, 183cm x 71cm x 75cm

James Galley in Paris often presents this type of masterpiece. This work is really worth experiencing in person.

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Brass Sushi Buffet, 2011, Humberto and Fernando Campana, 55 × 200 × 40 cm

“Translating the Brazilian identity into design is the most important challenge for us,” Humberto told the Guardian, reflecting on their practice. Known for the color and playfulness of their work that reveals stories of Brazilian culture.

Alta chair and ottoman, 1970s, by Oscar Niemeyer copy

This is a photo you might have seen if you have been with us for a while. It’s a sumptuous Niemeyer Alto armchair and ottoman that we sourced to place in a private California home. (This is the before photo.)

Next time you’re in Paris we invite you to book a meeting with us about your design goals!  We listen and can guide you to the most exciting design: arranging gallery visits, meetings with designers and focused tour of Les Puces.

We look forward to sharing our knowledge with you!