CHRISTIE’S: Two interiors designers, 289 lots, one empty room

Find out what happened when Christie’s challenged myself and Christopher Howe to furnish an empty room in their King Street galleries, using pieces offered in their Interiors sale on 31 January which totalled, including buyer’s premium, GBP 1,753,250.

Full online story here
You can view all the results of the sale here

London-based interior designer Fabrice Bana specialises in bespoke, antique and vintage furnishings. He blogs about design and decorative arts at A-Gent of Style.

Fabrice uses (from left) Moser glass Adela Melikoff part table-service (£3,000-4,000); Charles X ormulu-mounted mother-of-pearl and micromosaic Palais Royal casket (£4,000-6,000); Victorian parcel-gilt and black japanned breakfast table (£1,500-2,500); Part-pile Veramin Ru-Khorsi (£3,000-5,000); French metal-mounted ebonised bureau (£1,200-1,800); Imperial yellow

Fabrice uses (from left): Moser glass ‘Adela Melikoff’ part table-service (£3,000-4,000); Charles X ormulu-mounted mother-of-pearl and micromosaic ‘Palais Royal’ casket (£4,000-6,000); Victorian parcel-gilt and black japanned breakfast table (£1,500-2,500); Part-pile Veramin Ru-Khorsi (£3,000-5,000); French metal-mounted ebonised bureau (£1,200-1,800); Imperial yellow glaze vase table lamps (£2,000-3,000); Ormolu-mounted Sèvres-style turquoise ground porcelain striking vase clock (£1,000-1,500); Tuschinsky-style handwoven wool carpet (£3,000-5,000); George III mahogany corner armchairs (£2,000-3,000); Chinese export Coromandel six-fold screen (£2,000-3,000)

How would you describe this look?

Fabrice Bana: ‘For this space, I created a maximalist vignette that is quite luxurious, uniting elements from a wide range of cultures and time periods. All together, it’s colourful and joyous, with lots of different textures and materials. I imagined that the person who would be living in this room would be a well-travelled aesthete, with many stories about where they picked up each of these items, and have a good sense of humour.’

How does this look reflect your design philosophy?

FB: ‘You could describe me as an emotional interior designer; there’s something very organic in the way I approach everything I do. Here I started with the Tuschinsky-style handwoven wool carpet from 1920, on the wall, and added elements that drew out its colours.

 ‘I also wanted there to be a great deal of movement in the room, so I added the smaller, square rug on the floor [a 19th-century part-pile Veramin Ru-Khorsi rug], on which I put a round table [a mid-19th-century parcel-gilt and black japanned breakfast table]. That allows you to walk through the space in a circle, so there’s a sense of fluidity.’

What’s your favourite piece in the room?

FB: ‘I would have to say Otto Pilny’s Oriental Beauty Dancing, from 1913, which was done in the Orientalist style. I love the composition and the colours — there’s an amazing orange glow in the background, and there’s a lot of movement. ‘It’s quite textural, too: you can see the embroidery in the dancer’s dress. It’s a big painting, which makes it quite striking. I imagine that every time you looked at this work, the dancer would put a smile on your face.’

Otto Pilny (Swiss, 1866-1938), An Oriental Beauty Dancing. 70½ x 47½ in (179 x 120.6 cm). Estimate £12,000-18,000. This lot is offered in Interiors Including Property from the Collection of Sir David and Lady Tang and Property from Bywell Hall, Northumberland and Property from Howe on 31 January 2018 at Christie’s in London

Otto Pilny (Swiss, 1866-1938), An Oriental Beauty Dancing. 70½ x 47½ in (179 x 120.6 cm). Estimate: £12,000-18,000.

An ormolu-mounted Sèvres-style turquoise-ground porcelain striking vase clock, pendule a cercles tournants, late 19th century. 17¾ in (45.7 cm) high overall. Estimate £1,000-1,500. This lot is offered in Interiors Including Property from the Collection of Sir David and Lady Tang and Property from Bywell Hall, Northumberland and Property from Howe on 31 January 2018 at

An ormolu-mounted Sèvres-style turquoise-ground porcelain striking vase clock, ‘pendule a cercles tournants’, late 19th century. 17¾ in (45.7 cm) high overall. Estimate: £1,000-1,500. 

What’s your advice for someone decorating a blank space?

FB: ‘‘Go with your gut. I often like to start with an antique or bespoke rug and then decorate with colours and textures that complement it. But the end result has to be comfortable — there’s no point living somewhere that looks like a museum, where you can’t touch anything. Above all, a room should reflect who you are and how you live. When I design a space, I always think about who will be living in it. I think a bit of wit, a bit of humour, and having stories to tell are important, too.’



Please come and join me at Christie’s King Street on Monday 15 January 6-8.30pm for Christie’s Latex: The Lifestyle Edition where I will be showing the space I have curated and styled for their forthcoming interiors sale including the collection of Sir David Tang, Bywell Hall and Howe, London.

 I will be in conversation with Andy Waters, Christie’s Curatorial Director, at 8pm in the Gallery Viewing Room (the small room I am styling on the left at the top of the main staircase)

You can view the full catalogue here

Discover the art of living well at Christie’s first London Late of 2018. King Street galleries will be packed with home and health inspiration alongside exquisite pieces from our upcoming interiors and contemporary art auctions.

Wellness activities include a seismic sound bath by experience innovators Bompas & Parr, yoga classes led by top instructor Julie Montagu and a pop-up wardrobe including activewear from THE OUTNET.COM. Decorating inspiration will come courtesy of the designers Christopher Howe and myself, who will be styling rooms within the galleries, whilst award-winning interior designer Alidad will be hosting an exclusive talk.

Combining art, music and specialist talks, Christie’s Lates in London and New York are the perfect opportunity to mix with like-minded art lovers after hours. With free entry, each curated evening in this new series of events aims to bring art to life and inspire conversation, showcasing highlights from our upcoming auctions alongside interactive activities, talks by guest experts and enticing food and drink.

Sale information




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Alongside the auction The Collection of David Collins, reviewed here last week, at 1pm today at Christie’s, the London sales of 20/21 DESIGN will include an inaugural Evening Sale in King Street at 6pm. The sale will present a varied selection of luxury designer furniture of Post War and Contemporary Design, complemented by Pre-War avant-garde works, by the main proponents of 20th and 21st Century Design from Italy, France, Brazil, Scandinavia as well as an Important Private collection of mid-century French design featuring works by Charlotte Perriand, such as the ‘Mexique’ cabinet, circa 1953, and by Jean Royère, Jean Prouvé and André Arbus. 

The exhibition is opened today until 12pm

You can view the full catalogue here.



The Evening Auction features a selection of mid-century design from an important private collection featuring furniture by André Arbus, Jean Royère, Jean Prouvé and Charlotte Perriand.

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The Evening Auction also features a strong group of works by leading Swedish, Finnish and Danish designers. These include a desk set from the 1970s, comprising two trays, a pen holder, a ruler, a letter opener and a magnifying glass by Henning Koppel for Gerog Jensen as well as a rare sofa produced by Danish architect Philip Arctander in 1949-1950. Further highlights from the Nordic section include a pair of ‘Mix’ club chairs, model ‘4396’, designed in 1931 by Kaare Klint, who is acknowledged as the founding father of Danish Modernism.





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The auction will also offer a selection of Brazilian design, which rarely appears in auction in Europe, and will feature works by the Campana Brothers, Oscar Niemeyer and José Zanine Caldas. The highlight of the group is a rare and early work , the Peixe bench (Estimate £80,000 – 120,000), created in 1989 by Humberto and Fernando Campana and presented by them as part of their Desconfortável (uncomfortable) collection of furniture at the Nucleon 8 Gallery in São Paulo.

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A selection of works by renowned contemporary glass designer Yoichi Ohira have been carefully selected by a private collector in Milan: Mrs. Norma Cortellini. Ohira’s understanding for the tradition and history of glassmaking in Murano, combined with his distinct imagination and Far Eastern aesthetic, situates him as one of the most original and skilled glassmakers. Mrs. Cortellini collected these pieces with enthusiasm and an acute understanding of Ohira’s sensibility and skills. Ohira conveys the tensions between transparency and opacity, interior and exterior through the expert use of a vast array of techniques.

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Highlights from the Italian Avant-garde section of the sale include a significant group of vessels and vases by Ettore Sottsass, as well as an early ‘Poltrona di Proust’ armchair, designed in 1978 by Alessandro Mendini, this example executed early 1980s.

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– Photos by Christie’s and A-Gent of Style – 

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