Design in Paris



This week we focus on the “antiques of the future” to accompany the PAD (Paris, Art+Design) fair which is holding its 19th edition with a refined selection of Modern art, historical design and contemporary design (among other categories) between March 26 and 29 at the Tuileries in Paris.

Nowadays the Paris-based art fairs have strategically rescheduled to show at the same time: Art Paris Art Fair, the PAD and Drawing Now are now all happening in the last week of March. The PAD is the only fair mixing art, decorative arts, historical design and contemporary design. The 75 galleries at this fair take great care in setting up their stands (a prize is awarded to best one) and are extremely selective about which works to present. The most famous Modern designers will of course be represented: Jean Prouvé, Charlotte Perriand, Alexandre Noll, Jean Royère, Mathieu Matégot, Pierre Jeanneret, Georges Jouve, Serge Mouille, Pierre Paulin, Gio Ponti, Hans Wegner, Carlo Mollino, Pierre Guariche… the pillars of vintage Parisian design… and all much in demand in London, New York and Chicago.
The PAD and the specialized Paris galleries invariably attract international buyers looking for emblematic pieces like the ones they pay dearly at auctions. Phillips recent Design sale in New York (December 16, 2014) produced a good enough total for the operator (which has specialized in design) to remain optimistic: 14.2 million dollars (incl. fees) with new records for Giò PONTI (a pair of Wingback Chairs fetched $178,000 or $218,500 including fees), Jean ROYERE ($842,500 incl. fees for a sofa and two armchairs from the series Ours polaire) and, above all, for Isamu NOGUCHI, whose table-sculpture The Goodyear Table demolished its presale estimate fetching $3,826,500 (more than $4.4m incl. fees).The same sale also showed solid demand for Carlo MOLLINO’s work when one of his Rolltop Desks fetched nearly a million dollars ($986,500 including fees, $818,000 at the hammer) and a chair designed for Mollino’s office at the Faculty of Architecture (Side Chair for Carlo Mollino’s office at the Facolta di Architecttura) doubled its high estimate, fetching $628,000 ($758,500 incl fees).

The design market is buoyant in the United States, but also in France where Artcurial and Piasa have both specialized in this area, generating very respectable results vis-à-vis their American peers. In fact, unlike the high end of the Contemporary art market, the design market is also Parisian. Artcurial, the leader on this segment in Paris, has recently hammered results that are perfectly in line with those generated by Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips. In May 2014, Artcurial sold a lacquered steel trapeze table by Jean PROUVÉ for $1.37m ($1.7m incl. fees). Last year it also hammered seven new records for Hubert Le Gal and a new world record for Ron ARAD at more than $380,000 in October 2014 (Restless, a shelving unit, fetched over $473,000 including fees on 27 October 2014, beating his previous American auction record since 2007).

Several years after the sharp peak in prices that hit the ultra-Contemporary design market in 2009 and 2010, demand for design has remained strong and the market is still very selective.
The next design sales will take place in April and May 2015. On April 2, 2015, Piasa will be holding an appetizer sale entitled Intérieur(s) covering the entire history of design. The catalogue contains works by Ettore Sotssas, Zaha Hadid, Marco Zanini, Joe Colombo at prices ranging from $300 to $3,000 on average. Three weeks later in New York (28 April), Phillips will be organizing a major sale with a special focus on Gio Ponti and Shiro Kuramata.