Themes and Thoughts about Collecting Design

What are some of the characteristics that make a great collector?

Access – cultural and monetary, sustained interest, superior ‘taste’, patronage, and desire for self expression through objects are few that come to mind.

As design has been formalized into a market category since the turn of the century it has gained a much wider audience as we start to internalize and adopt the idea of living with design.

3D printing, vintage, up-cycling and traditional craft and human experience are five large themes leading the way in the 21st century design industry. They all suggest a generation with a growing awareness of the impact creating objects has on our environment and suggest perhaps the importance of aligning our personal environments with the larger themes impacting the world.

Commissioning and acquiring design that contributes to themes and naratives we believe in creates ultimate luxury.

This week we share some recent exhibitions and collections that inspire us to think about the impact each of our acquisitions has on the world around us and also propose glorious objects that align with some global goals for the a better world.



Scraps | Fashion, Textiles and Creative Reuse at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian National Design Museum. This exhibition explores uses for textile waste. Furniture production is confronting the same issues. In Paris we found a young company that is part of the solution.  Maximum Paris partners with manufacturers who provide their waste material – excess dye  and left over raw materials for example. Maximum then designs products to incorporate these materials thereby eliminating waste through up-cycling. Her are three currently available projects.


This perhaps doesn’t qualify as collectible design the way we have recently come to know it. But I would argue that this furniture has a very important place in the evolution of design and material culture. It is responding to a global issue.

If you’re looking for more exclusive design with an equally powerful message, Physical, a collection presented last spring in Milan by Kiki and Joost and presented by Nilufar at PAD London this week is an exciting project.20160519-_dsc0927 “We wanted to make physical things with our hands, with materials that you can touch and experience,” says Kiki. “We see how babies experience physics by playing with water and other things, and we were very inspired by this. It brings you back to the most important things in life,” she smiles. As reported in the Telegraph


Joost van Bleiswijk’s Meccano-inspired constructions with every single component handmade.


In Paris, preserving craft a major initiative for one of the most influential galleries: In 2015  Carpenters Workshop Gallery, opened Carpenters Workshop | Roissy, a 8,000 m2 space dedicated to artistic research and development, bringing together the elite of artisans, an homage to the heritage to French ‘Arts Décoratifs’. Vincenzo de Cotiis’ Pop Nouveau is the gallery’s present exhibition that is part of this project,  explores two themes: a rebellion against stereotypes and the liberation from mechanized forms using salvaged and reclaimed materials.


Side table


Large hanging wall cabinet


Coffee table

These are just a few of the projects and themes that design is tackling. Every couple of weeks we’ll present a company or designer whose works is forging links between our strong global themes and our individual instincts for aesthetic expression.  Is it collectible? Let’s discuss as we go!

Have a great weekend!







The work of René-Jean Caillette, a pioneer in modern French design

5-set-of-10-chairs-62-charron-edition-1962Set of 10 chairs, model ’62’. Edition Charron, 1962. Chromed metal, foam and fabric. Photo courtesy of Galerie Pascal Cuisinier.

“I consider design to be wanted, determined, thoughtful and assertive”, René-Jean Caillette (1919-2005)

René-Jean Caillette, the son of an ebeniste and graduate in 1937 of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Appliqués, was a pioneer of modern French design. With a focus on simplicity of line and functionality, and with the aim to make modern design accessible to everyone, Caillette’s goal was to create quality mass production furniture. One of his aims was to create signed furniture which would be sold at the same price in all of France. He was one of the founders of ACMC (l’Association des Créateurs de Mobilier de Série) which defended the rights of this budding movement. He experimented with new materials which became available at the time such as plywood, stainless steel, rattan and perspex. His work is characterized by clean, taut lines and rigorous shapes.

2-sylvie-table-charron-edition-1961Sylvie table, Charron edition, 1961. Rio rosewood and chromed metal. This model was presented at the Salon des Arts Ménagers in 1961. Photo courtesy of Galerie Pascal Cuisinier.

Caillette was very active in design circles in Paris in the 1940s and 50s. In 1949 he organized a prestigious exhibition between the rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré and the rue Royale in Paris. It gathered together young designers who became known as the group Saint Honoré. This movement created solidarity and cohesion and created a focus for the designers. And in 1954, together with George Charron, a French furniture manufacturer, Caillette formed ‘Groupe 4’ with fellow designers Alain Richard, Genevieve Dangles and Joseph André Motte.

IMG_3529Coccinelle stacking chairs for Steiner, 1957



Two standing lights, model B10, edition Disderot, 1958. White lacquered metal
Photo courtesy of Artefact Design
4-diamante-chair-steiner-edition-1961One of a pair of ‘Diamant’ chairs, design 1958/Steiner edition 1961. Plywood, Lacquered and chromed metal. This chair received the Gold Medal at the Brussels Universal Exhibition, French Pavilion in 1958.
Photo courtesy of Galerie Pascal Cuisinier
The ‘Diamant’ Chair’ (above), for which Caillette received the silver medal at the Milan Triennale in 1962, is one of his best known pieces. “It is the most pure and the most easy to fabricate of my models in molded plywood. I designed it with a piece of cardboard, telling myself that if the cardboard could fold, then so could wood.” Sober and elegant, it remains one of the signature pieces of French post-war design.
This two-seater sofa in molded and lacquered plywood and leather was presented at the Salon des Arts Ménagers in 1966. Charron edition. Unique piece. Photo courtesy of Galerie Pascal Cuisinier.
When Caillette died in 2005 he left his substantial body of work to the ‘Petits Freres des Pauvres’ Association. His work regained recognition as being at the forefront of French historic design when it was offered for sale at Tajan auction house in Paris in 2006.
Don’t miss the wonderful exhibition at Galerie Pascal Cuisinier. Runs through to 22 October 2016.
Wishing you all a great weekend!

Exciting finds at Artcurial’s 20th Century Interiors sale


Artcurial has a very exciting and accessible two part sale coming up on the 4th of October.  You have lots of time to browse and make careful choices!  There are over 500 lots just in the day sale! We’ve scouted a few great items for you and have included links to the auction house’s website.


Mart Stam’s Chaise B43 (lot 204) in molded plywood and tubular steel.

The estimate is  250 – 300 €

This is an incredibly interesting estimate on a chair that arguably launched Modern design! Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe is known to have learned about this chair and told Marcel Breuer, leading to both Mies Vander Rohe and Breuer making their own now iconic versions of tubular steel seating. The chair above it where it started! Evolutionary!




A beautiful little ceramic jar by Piero Fornasetti (lot 326)

Estimation 300 – 400 €

It’s worth clicking on the link above and viewing the jar on the Artcurial website where you can zoom in and appreciate the detail of this drawn neoclassical architecture work on ceramic. The lid is original and undamaged.



Daum Nécessaire de bureau (lot 85) is amber-tinted crystal.

Estimation 200 – 250 €

It’s a group composed of a pen holder, a vessel for cigarettes on the left and the middle vessel is a little ash tray.  This elegant set could be used for fresh flowers, more pens, paperclips etc. on your desk today.
H.: 14 cm; 11 cm; 7,5 cm



This 1950s Danish teak table and four chairs by Hans Olsen (Lot 593) is a set we have found several times for our city clients. It’s an elegant and very practical dining solution for apartments.

Estimation 1 500 – 2 000 €

Stamped by Editor: Frem Møbelfabrik
Table : 75 x 106 cm
Chaises : 715 x 48 x 42 cm



This elegant pair of Model 2564-1950 standing lamps in brass, painted metal and wood is (lot 627) by Josef Frank, an important Modernist architect and founding member of the Vienna Werkbund.

Estimation 1 000 – 1 500 €

Stamped by Editor: Édition Svenskt Tenn
h: 152 w: 42 cm


screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-11-50-35-pm  A French Silvered Champagne Bucket (Lot 250). We included this as inspiration for finding vintage gifts this year as we slowly head toward the holiday season!

Estimation 500 – 600 €

H.: 19,8 cm

Not to miss!

Roger Tallon – Design in Motion

The French industrial designer left his complete archives to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs who have organized a wonderful tribute to his important work, which includes the TGV and the Téléavia P111 portable television, which we have been asked to hunt down more than once.  This object’s cult following lives on today. This exhibition includes drawings and models of each design.

avia_24-hd-7dec1-resp193Portable television set P111, Téléavia, 1963
Roger Tallon’s archives
© ADAGP, Paris / photo : Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris
p.s. This Reversible Chair model TS from 1978 is some of Roger Tallon’s work. It is lot 496 in the Arterial Sale mentioned above. The estimate is 400-500 Euros!

‘Art & Design sans Frontières’ at Tajan, Paris

art-and-design-without-boundaries-selling-exhibition-at-ader-picard-tajan-paris‘Art & Design without Boundaries’ at Tajan, Paris

French auction house, Tajan is currently hosting the exhibition ‘Art & Design without boundaries’ as part of their program ‘The Artist and his Supporters’ which launched in 2004. The program, created by Rodica Seward (Tajan’s President) and Jean-Jacques Wattel (expert in decorative art and design at Tajan), was founded to promote innovative art and design and has evolved into a separate entity called the Tajan ArtStudio.

The current expo is a ‘selling exhibition’ or ‘systeme de gallerie’ with pieces coming directly from the artists and designers with a price tag – not the secondary market as one assumes at an auction house. There are no guiding estimates – interested buyers contact the auction house direct with price enquiries. There are four ‘selling exhibitions’ per year.
Exploring the dialogue between contemporary art and design, in this current exhibition the work of several designers is displayed in conjunction with the work of contemporary French artist, François Rouan.
Wax painting and oil on woven canvas by François Rouan, 2013; Bronze Age chaise longue, 2014, by Frank Tjepkema. Limited edition of 3 + 1 AP
‘Bronze Age’ chair, 2016, by Frank Tjepkema. Limited edition of 8 + 2 AP.
“For this project I wanted to create something totally opposite to the technology driven trends based on the emergence of new digital tools such as 3D printing. I like the idea that bronze is precious and is therefor implicitly sustainable. It is either preserved or remelted but never discarded. Who knows, maybe these pieces contain a couple of remelted ancient bronze swords !”. Frank Tjepkema
wax-painting-and-oil-on-woven-canvas-by-francois-rouan-2015-and-chained-up-steel-table-in-polished-stainless-steel-and-glass-2013-by-barberini-gunnellWax painting and oil on woven canvas by François Rouan, 2015; and ‘Chained Up steel’ table in polished stainless steel and glass 2013 by Barberini & Gunnell. Limited edition of 10 + 2 AP.
Close up of ‘Chained Up steel’ table by Barberini & Gunnell
 Wax painting and oil on woven canvas, 2016 by Françcois Rouan; ‘Cascata’ table in crystal glass, 2016 by Barberini & Gunnell. Limited edition of 10 + 2AP
Wax painting and oil on woven canvas, 2015 by François Rouan; ‘Shiqule Lan Se Nuhai’ enamelled ceramic vase, 2015, by Marcel Wanders (limited edition of 8); bench in carbon fibre, 2015 by Il Hoon Roh 
‘Styrene’ suspension light in polystyrene, 2002, by Paul Cocksedge.  Unique piece
‘Kon Tiki’ stool, 2016 in aluminium by Misha Kahn. Limited edition of 8
Table in aluminum with glass top and removable legs, 2016. Il Hoon Roh
Screen in carbon and fibre optiques, 2016, Il Hoon Roh
We had the opportunity to go up to the first floor and see this spectacular screen by Il Hoon Roh. And look at that fabulous 1930s floor!! The Tajan premises were originally the headquarters of a French bank.
37 rue des Mathurins,
75008 Paris
Wishing you all a very happy weekend!

Diego Giacometti Collection at Artcurial





Pair of tabourets … a la souris, circa 1960.

A 20 Year Friendship with Diego Giacometti: Brollo Collection

14 September 2016 at Artcurial Paris

This collection is the reflection of a friendship – a shared passion for Italian culture, language, values and a love for raw material, says Frederic Brollo speaking of his parents relationship with Diego Giacometti. He says, “When my parents bought their first work by Diego in 1968, they were in love with the artists work, of course, but they were also moved by a special affection for Diego as an individual whom they knew so well.  Frederic, who inherited and added to the collection was enchanted by his plaster mock-ups as a teenager and received many of them as gifts from the designer. They are included in this sale as well.

The prices on these objects, many well north of 100,000 Euros reflect the well recognized value of Giacometti’s work. What grabbed our attention this time was learning that these pieces are being seen for the first time and where for example many of these pieces my look familiar they are in fact individual commissions. Giacometti made tables with different animals and in different sizes to the clients request.  This stands in sharp contrast to contemporary limited edition collectible design.

This pair of chairs for example (above) was first conceived with leather seats. However, the lucky Brollo’s already had two pairs of chairs from the designer and requested that he place granite one the seats of this pair instead so they could be used as little elegant tables for guests to place their coup de champagne! We admire this type of relationship between the designer and the collector… almost a collaboration. It is a unique expression of creativity. Merging of two minds if you will. Supporting creativity that touches you is the sign of a true collector!

Hope you enjoy these highlights and if you are in Paris this exhibition is well worth the visit!


Detail of above tabourets


Greek table with bird perched on one brace. Plaster models in the background.



This is a preparatory sketch of the current exhibition by Hubert Le Gall.


Pair of Photophores, circa 1976



One of a pair of tabourets, circa 1960



Detail of above tabouret


One of a pair of Lion-head Fauteuils


Paris Biennale 2016 sneak peek!

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 22.06.30Desk (c1957) in wood, parchment and bronze by Marc du Plantier. Galerie Jacques Lacoste, Paris.


The 2016 Paris Biennale opens next week (10-18 September). This year there are 125 participating galleries (showing Fine and Decorative Art along with jewellery), a 36% increase from 2014 as the Biennale has joined forces with Paris Tableau, the international fair specializing in European Old Masters. The Biennale will become a yearly event starting from 2017.

Scenography this year is by set designer Natalie Crinière, and we’re particularly looking forward to the special exhibition ‘Tribute to the Mobilier National: Tradition et Audace’. Enjoy these few preview images!

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 13.53.23180° Swivel chair (c1934) in solid mahogany by André Sornay. Seat and back upholstered. Galerie Marcelpoil, Paris.


Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 21.57.38Table by André Arbus (c1964). Patinated bronze base and marble marquetry top. Galerie Chastel-Maréchal, Paris.


Pairs of chairs by André ArbusPair of armchairs (c1949) by André Arbus in black lacquered wood and leather. Female busts in bronze on the armrests by Vadim Androusov. Galerie Yves et Victor Gastou, Paris. 


Desk and chair by Maxime OldMahogany and glass desk and chair (c1952) by Maxime Old. This was Mr Old’s personal desk, the model of which was presented at the Salon des Artistes Decorateurs in 1952. Galerie Yves et Victor Gastou, Paris.


Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 13.45.54Game table and four chairs (c1923) created for the Grand Hotel de Tours by Pierre Chareau. Mahogany, forged iron, beech, and brown leather. Galerie Doria, Paris.


Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 13.37.10 Bench Japon, c 1966, by Charlotte Perriand, Galerie Downtown, Paris.


Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 09.27.06‘La Religieuse SN31’ standing light by Pierre Chareau. The model was created in 1923, this light was made in 1928. Galerie Marcilhac, Paris.

La Biennale Paris, Grand Palais, Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris

Wishing you all a great weekend!

Kossi Aguessy


Jord Armchair in Carrara marble

Born in Togo, raised in the New York, studied in London and worked in Paris, a self proclaimed artist with an engineering and architecture degree, Kossi Aguessy now lives and works in London and Toulouse.

His influence is global.  We are attracted to his perspective and attitude toward creation.  He says, “I am not a designer but a describer. I’m not a creator but a messenger – a bridge, a piece of a puzzle called evolution that started before me and shall continue long after.”

Damn chair

Damn Chair


Aguessy’s design aesthetic is inspired by antique cultures, and informed by contemporary technology.  He says, “The first question I ask myself at the very beginning of the design process is if this novelty is needed and what will be the human and environmental impact of it.  If the answer happens to be negative, I will not complete the process.”

Through his own studio – Aguessy Industry, established in 2004 – he charges himself, in Gandhi’s words, to “be the change you wish to see”. (source Design Indiaba:

Indeed his beliefs and methods have lead to very successful projects and collaborations leading to his inclusion last year in Vitra’s “Making Africa – A Continent of Contemporary Design” exhibition. His work has also included projects for brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney and Cartier.


useless tool chair

Useless Tool Chair in Stainless Steel, Carbon and Nextel (Model acquired by the MoMA)

He recently began work with Galerie Vallois in Paris who will represent him at Art Paris Art Fair in Spring 2017 where he will present his Useless Chair (above), which is already in the collection of MoMA.


L147 Table Lamp in Stainless Steel, Aluminum and Glass


Infinity Chair

Infinity Armchair in Aluminum



Damn Chair in Laser Cut Aluminum (Model acquired by the Museum of Art and Design)


jord oak centre george pompidou museum

Jord Armchair in Oak

Le Don du Fel ceramic centre in the hills of Aveyron, France

Le Don du Fel in landscape

Le Don du Fel.Le Don du Fel ceramic centre in Aveyron

Founded by American ceramic artist Suzy Atkins (who shows her own work at the centre) and her English husband Nigel in the 1970s, Le Don du Fel has developed into an important centre for contemporary ceramics, exhibiting work from all over the world. There are six exhibitions annually. The building itself is breathtaking, perched high up on the hills close to the village of Fel with a spectacular panoramic view of the beautiful surrounding countryside. Designed by architects Lacombe & Florinié, the cylindrical shapes of the building are wonderful. The design was selected by the Forum d’Architecture Mondiale in 2008 as one of the most beautiful cultural projects in the world.

Among the many amazing pieces to see, here are just a few to inspire you!


Work in porcelain by Simon Zsolt Jozsef

Hungarian potter Simon Zsolt Jozsef, who studied at the prestigious Moholy-Nagy School of Art and Design in Budapest, creates the most fantastic and mesmerizing shapes pulling your eye in all directions and creating a dynamic tension between the viewer and his work. ” I don’t want to catch the forms but the process of forming. Not the fruit or the flower, which are always changing and growing but the growth and change itself, which will form the material.” says Joszef. Fascinating and utterly covetable! (images above and below)


‘Bouquet Projet’ in porcelain by Simon Zsolt Jozszf


Jin-Eui-KIM-02-1024x1024South Korean artist Jin Eui Kim plays with illusion and space, as you can see in the image above, through the arrangements at varying intervals of bands of contrasting color.



Vase by Duncan Ayscough

The work of British artist Duncan Ayscough (above and below) with its classical proportions is influenced by ancient Greek and Roman pieces. “Surfaces are constructed by layering five particled slips (terra sigillata) and subsequent length firings in combustible materials provide the pattern to the surfaces”, explains Ayscough. The gold leaf glimpsed in the interior draws your eye inwards to the centre of the piece. Each piece is wax-polished. Ayscough is a graduate of the Masters Program in Ceramics at Cardiff School of Art and Design.

Duncan Ayscough



‘Capriccio’ series by Elke Sada

Look at the brilliant shot of color in this vibrant piece from the ‘Capriccio’ series by German-born artist Elke Sada who often paints using Chinese brushes. Sada completed her Masters of Arts in Ceramic and Glass at the Royal College of London and now has her studio in Leipzig.


Vase by Suzy Atkins

Beautiful painted vase by Suzy Atkins, co-founder of Le Don du Fel.


CF20-Pétale by Christine Fabre

‘Petale’, Christina Fabre

The work of French artist Christine Fabre is currently showing in an exhibition at the centre entitled ‘L’irrémédiable présence du passé’.  Fabre works in bronze as well as terra cotta and you can see an Eastern influence in her beautiful and minimal pieces. Exhibition runs through to 6 October 2016.

CF43-Opéra Mundi Bronze by Christine Fabre‘Opera Mundi’ by Christina Fabre

All images courtesy of Le Don du Fel

Very well worth a visit if you should find yourself in that part of France! If you’re interested in ceramics, click here to check out our post from a couple of weeks ago on a great exhibition in Villefranche de Rouergue.

Le Don du Fel

Wishing you all a good weekend!

Preview of Chinese Contemporary Design in Paris

We can’t help but peak ahead a bit even as we’re enjoying these wonderful summer days!

There are some great shows and sales coming to Paris this fall and one that looks exciting is the Piasa sale of Contemporary Chinese Design in October.

We have been intrigued by how this auction house is assembling themes sales, such and Brazilian Design or Italian design or focusing on a specific designer such as Pierluigi Ghianda or theme such as French avant-garde in the 1980s.

These sales create great learning opportunities for aspiring collectors!

Here are a few of the highlights for the sale in October. The official catalogue will be out mid September and the sale is 25 October.
design mvw 2009

Bookshelves, Design MVW, 2009

frank chou bold long table 2015 Bold Long Table, Frank Chou, 2015

shao-fan-chaise-mandarin-jie 1995

Chaise Mandarin, Shao Fan 1995 (detail below)


shao-fan-round-backed-armchair 2000

 Round Backed Armchair, Shao Fan, 2000

song tao 2011

Bench, Song Tao, 2011

xiao tianyu cloud chair 2016 Cloud Chair, Xiao Tianyu, 2016

Art Deco furniture at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

La Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris is the long building on the right hand side of the image


One of the most beautiful small collections of Art Deco furniture in Paris is in the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris – and it is often overlooked or indeed unknown!  Nestled within this monumental 1930s building (built for the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris), the collection includes pieces by such design legends as Ruhlmann, Printz, Adnet, Arbus, Chareau, Dufet and Dunand. The current museum, owned by the City of Paris and comprising the east wing of the Palais de Tokyo facing the Seine, was opened in 1961 and is predominantly known for its strong collection of 20th century and contemporary art.
The Art Deco style emerged and flourished in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s when rapid industrialization was transforming culture. It took its name (short for Arts Decoratifs) from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925. Historian Bevis Hillier defined Art Deco as “an assertively modern style [that] ran to symmetry rather than asymmetry, and to the rectilinear rather than the curvilinear; it responded to the demands of the machine and of new material [and] the requirements of mass production”.
Chair in zebra skin by Michel DufetFauteuil in zinc and zebra skin by Michel Dufet, 1930s
Desk in zinc and red lacquer by Michel Dufet. Made for La Compagnie Royale Asturienne des Mines (1936). Esquisses for ‘Rythme nos 1, 2 & 3’ (1938) in gouache on paper by Robert Delauney.
Rosewood ladies desk by Albert GueniotLadies desk in rosewood (1937) by Albert Gueniot. Look at that great waste paper bin attached to the desk.
Commode by Eugene Printz; Cubist composition c1910-1920 by Léopold Survage
Commode by Eugene Printz, ; Cubist composition c1910-1920 by Léopold Survage 
Hexagonal shaped armchair, c1920 Pierre ChareauHexagonal chair by Pierre Chareau, 1920s
During DDays Paris in 2014 there was an exciting exhibition at the museum pairing contemporary design with Art Deco. See below a few images from that expo and get inspired!
Exciting pairing! Bina Baitel floor lamp and Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann commode at Ddays 2014

 Bina Baitel floor lamp and Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann commode at Ddays 2014


Inspired mix! Coiffeuse, 1930s by Paul Frederic Follot, porcelain vase 2014 by Guillaume Delevigne, Sputnik lamp 2014 by Francois Azambourg

Inspired mix! Coiffeuse, 1930s by Paul Frederic Follot, porcelain vase and shelf with mirror 2014 by Guillaume Delevigne, Sputnik lamp 2014 by Francois Azambourg


Spectacular combination Michel Dufet chairs in python with carpet and blown glass mobile by Felipe Robin, DDays May 2014

Spectacular combination – Michel Dufet chairs in python with carpet and blown glass mobile by Felipe Robin, DDays May 2014
Art Deco doors
Entrance doors to a side entrance
11 Avenue du President Wilson, 75116 Paris
Wishing you all a good weekend!