Philanthropy | Need To Now

Time-limited luxuries

A unique auction of artworks to raise funds for a special charity

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Time-limited luxuries

March 02 2011
Nicole Swengley

A stellar list of more than 100 contemporary designers – including Terence Conran, Tom Dixon, John Pawson, Tord Boontje, Martino Gamper, Ella Doran, Tomoko Azumi, Sebastian Bergne and Barber Osgerby – have created original artworks to be sold at Somerset House in London with the aim of raising £50,000 for Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres.

Each artwork is priced at £250 and, although signed, will be displayed anonymously to encourage buyers to pick pieces with which they engage emotionally (three examples pictured). The designer’s name will not be revealed until the artwork is purchased. “I opted for this approach to mirror the democratic values at the core of Maggie’s philosophy,” says the design author and commentator, Max Fraser, who organised the show.

This is a highly personal project for Fraser, whose mother died of cancer in 2008. “After a very emotional journey supporting her through her six-year battle with cancer, I vowed to contribute in some way to mankind’s fight against this disease,” he says. “The charity’s founder, Maggie Keswick Jencks, once said, ‘Above all what matters is not to lose the joy of living in the fear of dying’, and this statement has inspired the design challenge and Joy of Living project.”

Fraser challenged the designers to express the joy of living using a simple sheet of A4 graph paper as their starting point. This fluid brief gave the designers free rein to express a personal response. Each has also written a short text on the inspiration for their artwork.

“The time and commitment that so many designers have pledged to the Joy of Living project is truly amazing,” says Fraser. “I hope that together, with the further support of the design industry, we can raise our target funds to back the brilliant work that Maggie’s does around the country.”