Contemporary Living with Collectible Design

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Fernando Santangelo, interior designer for Bette Midler and for the Chateau Marmont curates the upcoming Contemporary Living Sale at Sotheby’ NY on 28 July.

He states: “I thought it would be in a way like working with gouaches or writing poetry … in which you sort of create a group of works or images to mean something beyond the actual objects themselves.”

In this statement he touches on a fundamental aspect of collecting material culture – the idea of creating a narrative through composition. We all collect design in one way or another. And what makes this ‘material culture’ collectible is the meaning we give it.

Very often it starts with an instinctual aesthetic experience, which compels us to explore other attributes … sometimes it’s about form and craftsmanship, sometimes it’s about supporting and aligning ourselves with the intention of the designer, it might be about associating ourselves with former owners of the same object, or a philosophy represented by the object.

There are many characteristics to every object. By combining objects we can create more elaborate and personal ideas and expression  … and our choices reflect our own characteristics!

For examples Santangelo seeks “the best of a period, concept, philosophy” … to create an eclectic interior.  Some ideas he mentions he is drawn to creating with interiors are expressed in the following images:

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He says, “There are shapes that relate and there is a moment there that is held still.” Can you fell this idea in the image above?

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There is a “musical” element to this ensemble he suggests. Do you experience this? Consider how the movement expressed in each object that tends to compel your eye to move from one object to the next creating a sense of movement.

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Dynamism and secrets are the themes he points out in this composition. With these two words the idea of a genie (suggested by the movement or ‘dynamism’ of the print) rising from chest of the silver flasks seems quiet obvious, tangible and magical.

Click on any of the photos above to watch a video of Fernando Santangelo speaking about this project.


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