DESIGN and THE ARCHITECT at PHILLIPS LONDON




If it is significant relics from the 20th century (and some of the 19th century) you are seeking, you will be delighted to hear that London is currently blessed by three exhibitions and forthcoming sales by two prominent auction houses.

Today’s feature will look at the first two sales A-Gent of Style saw this week. Advance warning: not only are there in this feature incredibly beautiful and exceptional objets that discerning collectors will undoubtedly snap (Max Ingrand’s mirror in big diamond-shaped mirrored and cut glass is a sight to behold) but also a Polar Bear on the loose.


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Last Wednesday saw the preview of two important sales coming up next Tuesday, April 29, at Phillips. A-Gent of Style attended the evening drinks reception at Howick Place’s vast headquarters gathering significant and rare pieces never seen together before. Ranging from furniture, drawings, buildings, models, lighting and equipment from the 19th, 20th and 21st century, the pieces cover the Arts & Crafts, Wiener Werkstätte, Art Deco, Modernist and Bauhaus design periods.

Not too dissimilar to Artcurial’s Design of the 20th C sale last May in Paris (reviewed here), A-Gent of Style was delighted to be re-acquainted with some of his favourite designers and ensembliers such as Royère, Ruhlmann, Adnet, Dupré-Lafont, Giacometti, Ponti, Ingrand, Perriand, Jeanneret, Prouvé, Henningsen, Fontana Arte, Borsani, Lelii to name but a few amongst the vast selection of eminent game-players of last century’s design scene. An absolute treat for A-Gent of Style, self-proclaimed 20th century design junkie.

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This Design sale comprises 214 lots. Jean Royère’s important and unique ‘Tour Eiffel’ extendable dining table circa 1963 has the highest estimate at £300,000 – 400,000, followed by Diego Giacometti’s ‘Carcasse’ low table ‘petit modèle à la chauve-souris’ circa 1979, estimated at £200,000 – 300,000.
And joy of joy, there is an appearance of a Jean Royère ‘Ours Polaire’ sofa, circa 1952, estimated at £200,000 – 300,000 which will be a great addition to our ever-growing Polar Bear retrospective.

You can view the full catalogue here.


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The second sale, ‘The Architect’, was created and curated by American starchitect Lee Mindel (who gave a brilliant talk at the beginning of the evening about his curation), and brings together some of the best designs by architectural stars from the past two centuries in 103 lots. It will celebrate the contributions architects have made to our environment through the furniture, objects, and equipment they’ve invented in response to the buildings they’ve conceived.

Carlo Mollino’s unique and monumental ceiling light, designed for the Casa Orengo, Turin, 1949 is estimated at £220,000 – 280,000 and Jean Prouvé’s demountable entry lodge, from Ferembal, Nancy, circa 1943-1944, has a low estimate of £180,000 – 240,000.

You can view the full catalogue here.


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Here are A-Gent of Style‘s snapshots regrouping both sales. Viewing is still in full swing at Howick Place, SW1, today 12pm-6pm and then up until Tuesday 10am-6pm. Both auctions, which will be straight after each other, will start at 2pm. Happy bidding!

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– Image courtesy of Phillips –





CLEAN BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND



 

If crystals and gems can clean up negative energy, can a gem-shaped soap get you squeaky clean, make you smell good AND purify your aura at the same time??


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These gorgeous, faceted shapes are not actually jewels but real soaps.
A-Gent of Style fell head over heels for these sybaritic gemstones and more precisely their angular cuts, their depth, their brilliance, their transparency, their range of colours and last but not least their fragrance. Aside from their cleaning virtues, they would also create a beautiful display and inject a dose of chic in any bathroom,  kitchen sink or even on a coffee table.

These Soap Stones, made by Brooklyn-based company PELLE, are handcrafted, handcut glycerine soap consisting of all natural, vegetable-based soap ingredients and are inspired by natural gemstones such as Rose Quartz and Aquamarine, and metamorphic rock such as Jade and Onyx. They combine these brilliant colours with the fragrant effects of essential oils such as Eucalyptus, Lemon-Basil, Grapefruit and Camphor (they also have unscented soaps). The full collection of Soap Stones range between 3 sizes and 7 colour/scent combinations.

And great news for UK readers: the Soap Stones are available from the Conran shops! Prices vary between £7, £16 and £29 according to the size.
Gemstones have never been so affordable.


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PELLE are designers and architects Jean Pelle and Oliver Pelle who met and studied at the Yale School of Architecture. From their studio in Red Hook Brooklyn, the husband and wife don’t limit themselves to just making soaps; they also create lighting, furniture, products and architecture. PELLE produces everything from shelving to candlesticks, lighting, and seating, all noteworthy for their out-of-the-box designs that re-imagine common decor necessities.

“Soap is such a malleable and sculptural material to work with”, the couple says. “It’s like plaster or clay, but it is so much easier to shape since it cuts like butter. Glycerin soap is particularly wonderful because of its transparency and its ability to take on other layers such as smell and color. We love how the soaps take on different looks – they’re great dry, but they’re kind of magical when they touch water. They look like glistening gems and the smell becomes stronger. Our inspiration comes from observing and re-imagining the possibilities of objects and spaces around us. Ultimately, our work is about a search for a unique beauty that is within the materials and forms we find in our process.”

Uniquely beautiful, the Soap Stones certainly are!


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– Photos by PELLE –




ARCHITECT TO THE CROWN: JAMES WYATT





Today’s subject is less contemporary (we are going back three centuries) and slightly more scholarly than Monday’s (see A-Gent of Style‘s review of the new and fascinating exhibition on fashionista Isabella Blow) but it concerns another tastemaker who hopefully will be equally appealing to you all.







On Monday, A-Gent of Style was delighted to be invited at lunchtime
by Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler – the distinguished interior design and decoration company – to a Press Preview at their legendary offices on Brook Street, W1 for a special exhibition organised between them and The Georgian Group commemorating the bicentenary of James Wyatt (1746-1813), one of the most accomplished and fashionable English architects of late 18th century, and celebrating his life, career and achievements in furniture, interior decoration and architecture through some of his most important projects such as Windsor Castle, Fonthill Abbey, Goodwood House, Heaton Hall, Castle Coole
and Heveningham Hall.



 “James Wyatt: Architect to the Crown and Designer of Complete Interiors” opened on Tuesday to the public until December, 6 (Monday-Friday 9.30am-5.30pm, free entrance so no excuse) and will be hosted at the Sybil Colefax & John Fowler headquarters, 39 Brook Street, London W1, a rare surviving Grade II example of a Regency house, in the very same house altered and extended by James Wyatt’s nephew and pupil, Jeffry Wyatt (later Sir Jeffry Wyatville). After being used as a ballroom later on, the upper floor gallery was then redecorated in the late 1950s by the legendary John Fowler as a drawing room for Nancy Lancaster, the then owner of the company, resulting in the iconic ‘Yellow Room’.

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It is always exciting to go to Brook Street; A-Gent of Style hadn’t been back since last year but still marvelled at each of the beautifully decorated rooms replete with truly exquisite furniture and objets as he made his way upstairs
to the ‘Yellow Room’. The room has been specially transformed for the exhibition but still has the ‘wow factor’: as soon as you step in, the high-gloss lacquered yellow walls give you this feeling of wonder and awe. And the yellow silk curtains are simply ravishing.



Designed specifically to complement the interiors Wyatt created at
Heveningham Hall, a selection of pieces of furniture are the focus of this collaborative exhibition designed by George Carter, and thanks to the generosity
of English Heritage, chairs, tripod flower stands, demi-lune tables, torchère and mirrors are on display for the first time in thirty years (the furniture was acquired by the government in the 1970s when Heveningham was sold by the Vanneck family) and it is a delight and a privilege to such beautifully crafted objects.
Their neo-classical refinement and delicacy (there are some clues to Gothic Revival too) bring freshness and seeming simplicity. It is worth noticing that much of Wyatt’s furniture was painted rather than carved and gilded, enhancing its delicate originality. And the palette of pastel colours and their combinations are magnificent (green and blue being one of them).











1778 chair by James Wyatt

1778 chair by James Wyatt


“Many of Wyatt’s furniture designs for Gillows passed into the hands of George Hepplewhite, a Gillow employee” explains the Georgian Group. They were published posthumously by Mrs Hepplewhite without any acknowledgment of the true designer. This plagiarism helped to immortalize the Wyatt style of neo-classical furniture design, as Wyatt himself never published his own work”.













Other items such as Wyatt’s original working drawings, sketches, engravings and some silverware made by Matthew Boulton (a couple of tureens) are on show as well as twelve modern watercolours of Wyatt interiors by Royston Jones, which are for sale. There is also a spectacular architectural model of Fonthill Spendens still in great condition. And if you have a close look at the model, you will see a small fountain in the courtyard. Don’t miss it.

Silver designed for Matthew Boulton

Silver designed by Wyatt and made by Matthew Boulton






To further your interest and knowledge about James Wyatt, three special lectures have been conceived to complement the exhibition:

21st November 2013 – Lecture / From Wyatt to Wyatville: an Architectural Dynasty, by Charles Hind, Chief Curator at The Royal Institute of British Architects

25th November 2013 – Lecture / James Wyatt, Furniture Designer, by architectural historian Dr John Martin Robinson

Doors open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start at Colefax & Fowler, 39 Brook Street, London W1; £20 to include a pre-lecture glass of wine, which can be book by calling the Colefax Group Press Office on 020 7493 2231 or by email pressoffice@colefax.com



 
The exhibition is curated by Dr John Martin Robinson, an architectural historian and foremost expert on the Wyatt architectural dynasty. He is the author of a recently published and beautifully illustrated book, James Wyatt, Architect to George III, which has received great critical acclaim and will be on sale during the exhibition. Also on sale are postcards and tea towels featuring designs of commissions and furniture by James Wyatt. Perfect stocking fillers for Christmas!






Thanks to this fascinating, informative exhibition and series of lectures,
James Wyatt is given the recognition he highly deserves.

Make sure you attend!



– All photographs of the exhibition and the ‘Yellow Room’
by Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler with the Georgian Group –




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