With its gleaming allure and malleability, metal is a material that has long intrigued designers. And now some rare examples of metalwork can be seen at Artcurial’s Heavy Metal, 20 Design Masterpieces show (October 21-24) ahead of an auction (October 25) timed to coincide with the annual FIAC fair in Paris.
The 20 designs in the sale have been selected for their artistic and historical significance. Some typify the particular style of a designer while others display a notable technique. “We managed to gather impressive works such as the only known version of the Gratte-ciel steel skyscraper light by Serge Mouille and one of the few examples of Marc Newson’s Pod of Drawers still in private hands,” says Emmanuel Berard, director of Artcurial’s design department.
Very few versions of Gratte-ciel (estimate €200,000-€300,000) were made, because of its complex construction. Inspired by constructivism, it was originally shown at the Salon des Art Ménagers in 1962. Another sought-after lamp is Ingo Maurer’s Big M table light (estimate €4,000-€6,000), from about 1970. With its figurative shape – signalling the letter M – sitting on a brass and chrome steel base, it was one of the first lights to employ neon in a theatrical way for domestic environments.
Newson created his sinuous Pod of Drawers (estimate €600,000-€700,000) in 1987, having been inspired by André Groult’s Chiffonnier Anthropomorphe from 1925, and made only 10 – by hand, using cut aluminium panels riveted to a fibreglass structure.
Equally eye-catching is Ron Arad’s curvaceous Sit armchair (estimate €35,000-€45,000). Originally created in 1990 in a limited edition of 20, the hammered and patinated stainless-steel chair perfectly blends art, sculpture and furniture design in the artist’s own inimitable way.
Collectors will also have their eye on a grey lacquered steel and aluminium LC11 Ahmedabad wall lamp by Le Corbusier (estimate €30,000-€50,000) from 1954 and Jean Royère’s metal lacquered Jets d’Eau floor lamp (estimate €20,000-€30,000) from 1955.
And with Claude Lalanne’s work increasing in value, it’s likely that a pair of stamped golden bronze Gingko chairs (estimate €80,000-€100,000), designed in 1996, and a coffee table (estimate €70,000-€90,000) in the same material could surpass their estimates.