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Piasa: Oitoemponto Art + Design

Two designers and collectors, founders of Oitoemponto, offer for sale a selection of glamorous work – their own and others.

Piasa, 118 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris

16th December 2020

By Anna Sansom / 14th December 2020
Oitoemponto, ‘Tietê’ table lamp, 2006. (Estimate: €2,500 - €3,500) COURTESY: PIASA

Oitoemponto, ‘Tietê’ table lamp, 2006. (Estimate: €2,500 – €3,500)
COURTESY: Piasa

THIS DECEMBER, PIASA is holding an eclectic sale dedicated to the Portuguese design studio Oitoemponto, bringing together the studio’s creations with works that its founders – Artur Miranda and Jacques Bec – have collected. It segues from similar auctions that Piasa organised with Eric Schmitt, Dimorestudio and Christian Liaigre.

“We know Frédéric Chambre [director of Piasa’s design department] because we compulsively buy things at auction houses,” Miranda explains. “When he visited us in Porto, where we have a large office with a showroom and five warehouses, he said, ‘You have so much stuff that it would be fun to organise a sale. Make a selection and send it to me.’” The 75 lots on offer include pieces of furniture and lamps designed by Oitoemponto, along with artworks by Robert Indiana, Gavin Turk, Aaron Young, Seth Price and furniture by Gio Ponti and Josef Frank.

Oitoemponto, ‘Jardins’ low table, 1/8, 2013. (Estimate: €12,000 - €18,000) COURTESY: PIASA

Oitoemponto, ‘Jardins’ low table, 1/8, 2013. (Estimate: €12,000 – €18,000)
COURTESY: Piasa

Miranda, who is Portuguese, and Bec, who is French, met at a party in Paris in the early 1990s and began collaborating shortly afterwards. The name of the studio means ‘eight o’clock precisely’ and is a nod to the infinity symbol, luck, precision and how Miranda’s birthday falls on the eighth.

Artur Miranda & Jacques Bec COURTESY: PIASA

Artur Miranda & Jacques Bec
COURTESY: Piasa

Eschewing an actual style, the duo strive for a transversal approach, often embracing graphic lines and a bold aesthetic. “We didn’t want to have a style but a grammar,” Miranda says. That grammar includes reinterpreting architectural motifs, revisiting different epochs and Hollywood glamour, a passion for the over-sized and a sense of drama.

Oitoemponto, ‘Puzzle’ foldable paravent, 2016. (Estimate: €12,000 - €18,000) COURTESY: PIASA

Oitoemponto, ‘Puzzle’ foldable paravent, 2016. (Estimate: €12,000 – €18,000)
COURTESY: Piasa

This approach has led to Oitoemponto being hired to create interior design and architecture for private clients, several fashion boutiques, La Maison du Caviar restaurant in Paris and the Monumental Palace Hotel in Porto. For the latter, the duo metamorphosed a destroyed building into a revival of the 1930s/1940s golden age of Porto after discovering a forgotten billiards room inside. “We see ourselves as storytellers,” Bec explains, “The idea is for guests to wake up to the past of the city in a modern way.”

Oitoemponto, ‘Cête’ console, 2006. (Estimate: €6,000 – €9,000)
COURTESY: Piasa

“We didn’t want to have a style but a grammar,” Miranda says. That grammar includes reinterpreting architectural motifs …

Oitoemponto, ‘Cête’ console, 2006 (detail). (Estimate: €6,000 – €9,000)
COURTESY: Piasa

… revisiting different epochs, a passion for the over-sized, and a sense of drama.

Several pieces in the Piasa sale come from Oitoemponto’s ‘Nossa Bossa Nova’ collection (2013) which was inspired by Brazilian architects whose projects Miranda and Bec discovered in São Paulo. A standout is the ‘Burle’ cabinet, estimate €20,000 – €30,000, whose wavy, distinctive pattern is taken from the visual identity of São Paulo’s sidewalk that the architect Mirthes dos Santos Pinto created in 1966. “It’s a very particular motif that we transported to tiles made from wood and lacquer,” Miranda says. “We have a passion for over-sized cabinets and the strange forest green [base] gives a dramatic impact.”

Oitoemponto, ‘Burle’ cabinet, 1/8, 2013. (Estimate: €20,000 - €30,000) COURTESY: PIASA

Oitoemponto, ‘Burle’ cabinet, 1/8, 2013. (Estimate: €20,000 – €30,000)
COURTESY: Piasa

Also from the same collection is the ‘Oswaldo’ sofa, estimate €15,000 – €20,000, on a wood-and-marble structure that elongates into a table. “We used a beautiful, hand-woven fabric by Toyine Sellers which gives this brutalist sofa a glamorous mood,” Miranda explains.

Oitoemponto, ‘Oswaldo’ sofa, 1/8, 2013. (Estimate: €15,000 - €20,000) COURTESY: PIASA

Oitoemponto, ‘Oswaldo’ sofa, 1/8, 2013. (Estimate: €15,000 – €20,000)
COURTESY: Piasa

Elsewhere is a foldable paravent from the ‘Puzzle’ (2016) collection, estimate €12,000 – €18,000, combining chenille fabric, lacquer and leather in blocks of subdued and darker blues. The fondness for geometric forms is seen, too, with a low hexagonal ‘Jardins’ (2013) table with a mustard base, estimate €12,000 – €18,000; a console with magenta ‘poisoned arrow’ legs, estimate €6,000 – €9,000, and a pair of ‘Diamond’ white table lamps carved to give a “ruffled” effect, estimate €5,000 – €7,000. “If you turn the lamp 45 degrees, it has a different form and shape,” Miranda remarks. “We’re very inspired by 1930s/1940s Hollywood movies. Lamps are part of our grammar; we put them everywhere [in our interior projects].”

Oitoemponto, ‘Diamond’ pair of table lamps, 2006. (Estimate: €5,000 - €7,000) COURTESY: PIASA

Oitoemponto, ‘Diamond’ pair of table lamps, 2006. (Estimate: €5,000 – €7,000)
COURTESY: Piasa

Indeed, the Piasa sale is a voyage into the unique grammar articulated by Oitoemponto.

Oitoemponto – architecture & interiors.

Piasa – curated auction house in Paris.

Article By

Anna Sansom
Anna Sansom is a British journalist, based in Paris, who writes about contemporary art, design and architecture.