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Phillips: London Design Sale

The auction house celebrates its best design sale ever.

By TDE Editorial Team / 1st July 2021
Ron Arad, Prototype ‘D-Sofa’ 1993. (Estimate: £80,000 - £120,000. Sold for £1,232,500) COURTESY: Phillips

Ron Arad, Prototype ‘D-Sofa’ 1993. (Estimate: £80,000-£120,000. Sold for £1,232,500)
COURTESY: Phillips

ON WEDNESDAY, 30th June, Phillips achieved an impressive £11.7m in its summer design sale, the highest total for a design auction in the company’s history. The only major auction house holding an in-person design sale in London this summer, Phillips was able to appeal to an audience increasingly attuned to their own interiors and eager to enhance them with outstanding pieces of furniture and decorative art.

Jean Dunand, ‘Les Palmiers’ smoking room, from the residence of Mademoiselle Colette Aboucaya, Paris, 1930-1936. (Estimate: £1,500,000 - £2,000,000. Sold for £3,289,500) COURTESY: Phillips

Jean Dunand, ‘Les Palmiers’ smoking room, from the residence of Mademoiselle Colette Aboucaya, Paris,
1930-1936. (Estimate: £1,500,000-£2,000,000. Sold for £3,289,500)
COURTESY: Phillips

Records were broken: gratifyingly, for Jean Dunand’s exquisite ‘Les Palmiers’ smoking room, created for the residence of Mademoiselle Colette Aboucaya, in Paris, in 1930-1936, which sold for £3.3 million (est. £1.5m-£2m), a world record for the artist; and spectacularly for Ron Arad, who saw bidding on the 1993 Prototype for his ‘D-Sofa’ sail past the £120,000 high estimate to arrive at an astonishing £1,232,500, his own new world auction record.

Phillips design auction, 30th June 2021 COURTESY: Phillips

Phillips design auction, 30th June 2021
COURTESY: Phillips

The ‘Daybed’ designed in 1935 by the Paris-based Japanese designer Katsu Hamanaka, a specialist in lacquer, also from the residence of Mademoiselle Colette Aboucaya, Paris, achieved an artist’s world auction record, selling for £403,200, twice the low estimate of £200,000.

Katsu Hamanaka, 'Daybed', from the residence of Mademoiselle Colette Aboucaya, Paris circa 1935. (Estimate: £200,000 - £300,000. Sold for £403,200) COURTESY: Phillips

Katsu Hamanaka, ‘Daybed’, from the residence of Mademoiselle Colette Aboucaya, Paris
circa 1935. (Estimate: £200,000 – £300,000. Sold for £403,200)
COURTESY: Phillips

Other lots that fared well included a substantial collection of pieces by Jean Royère designed for the Majdalani family residence in Beirut, where they have remained until now. A pair of armchairs (1955-1958) sold for £504,000, well above the £100,000-£150,000 estimate, while a rare sofa of the same date, estimated £150,00-£250,000, was chased to £491,400.

Jean Royère, pair of armchairs, 1955-1958. (Estimate: £100,000 - £150,000. Sold for £504,000) COURTESY: Phillips

Jean Royère, pair of armchairs, 1955-1958. (Estimate: £100,000-£150,000. Sold for £504,000)
COURTESY: Phillips

Reflecting the company’s strength in Italian Design, a special interest of Domenico Raimondo, Head of Design, Europe, a pair of austerely beautiful vitrines by Carlo Scarpa, designed in 1957 and executed in 1963, sold for £352,800 on a £150,000-£200,000 estimate, also an artist’s auction record.

Carlo Scarpa, pair of vitrines, designed 1957, executed circa 1963. (Estimate: £150,000 - £200,000. Sold for £352,800) COURTESY: Phillips

Carlo Scarpa, pair of vitrines, designed 1957, executed circa 1963. (Estimate: £150,000-£200,000. Sold for £352,800)
COURTESY: Phillips

On the back of buoyant auction prices reported for design in New York and Paris, the auction confirmed the strength, too, of the London market. It was also vindication for Raimondo of his strategy of “bringing new names to the fore and broadening our horizons by looking at present and past historical context.”

Design, London auction June 30th 2021 at Phillips.

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