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Limited-run luxuries

A Conran auction with places reserved for How To Spend It readers

Limited-run luxuries

September 10 2010
Sibéal Pounder

Terence Conran hardly needs an introduction, which might explain why the launch of his new Classic range – a select edit of 54 timeless furniture and lighting design pieces – scheduled to take place on Thursday September 16, at the Fulham Road Conran Shop flagship store, won’t be a show-stopping leap onto the market but a mere whisper of an introduction, complete with finely whittled, closed guest list. The good news is that Sir Terence has reserved places for 25 How To Spend It readers and their guests (see below for details).

The event isn’t simply a showcase for the latest designs, but a charity fundraiser-cum-auction with great investment scope. Ten pieces, hand-picked by Sir Terence and family from the new Conran Classic range, will be up for auction. Among them: the wall-mounted, curled wood Bookworm bookshelf, first launched in 1994 and designed by Ron Arad for Kartell; Frederick Scott’s 1979 leather-upholstered Supporto chair design; and Yrjö Kukkapuro’s deep-seated Karuselli chair (pictured, with Terence Conran reclining). This last item was designed in 1964 after Kukkapuro reportedly fell into a snow-hole and found it so comfortable he decided to re-create the shape.

All will be stamped with a starting bid of the original launch price. So, for example, an Eames lounge chair and ottoman originally launched in 1956 (which will retail in the Classics range for £5,272) will open at about £375. Or the Tulip chair by Eero Saarinen – another 1956 design – will have a starting price of £50, a fraction of its £846 retail tag today. Phillips de Pury, which is throwing down the hammer for the evening, believes the vibrant secondary market makes the pieces sound investments, predicting that items such as the Eames lounge chair could triple in price over the next 20 years.

And the clincher? All proceeds will benefit Centrepoint, the charity that works to rehabilitate homeless youths through housing, health and educational initiatives.