The one-of-a-kind finds
A number of rare and unique treasures will be shown at this year’s fair, some of them never before seen in public. Of these, French artist Claude Lalanne’s fantastical bronze and copper bed at Galerie Mitterand, which was made for a private commission in 1999, is top of the list. Equally breathtaking is The Gold Grotto, a copper and brass wall sculpture by Pierre Sabatier made in 1999 for the staircase of Monte Carlo nightclub Jimmy’z. This decadent piece is the star of the show at Magen H Gallery. Less standout but equally sophisticated is midcentury French-Hungarian designer Mathieu Matégot’s one-off walnut, Formica, metal and brass cabinet at Galerie Matthieu Richard. Made for the designer’s own home near Fontainbleau in 1958, it oozes character.
Nendo at Friedman Benda
For the fourth year running, this cult New York gallery is using its space to present a solo exhibition – this time, the spotlight turns on avant-garde Japanese studio Nendo. On show will be its Watercolour collection, an 18-piece metal furniture series inspired by the effects of watercolour on paper. With its delicate washes of blue ink over matte-white-painted steel, it promises to be as ethereal as the rest of designer Oki Sato’s output.
The Future Perfect
Making its debut in Basel after three years showing at Design Miami in the States, this American gallery is known for its atmospheric environments – its Los Angeles base is an impeccably styled modernist Beverly Hills house known as Casa Perfect. Expectations for its first show will be high, but it’s sure to turn heads with Brooklyn creative Chris Wolston’s multilayered aluminium designs and Seattle artist John Hogan’s experimental glassfurniture.
Illuminations of all kinds take centre stage at various galleries. Galerie Régis Mathieu from Paris is known for its breathtaking chandeliers and will be showing a jewel-like 1929 design by French modernist Jacques Adnet, made up of tubular nickel-plated metal; it will also present rare gas-powered lighting dating from the 1900s. At Galerie Philippe Gravier, you can see a different side to Japanese architect Kengo Kuma in his undulating new chandelier, made of stainless steel, LEDs and shoji paper. Last but not least, Galerie Meubles et Lumières will present French Lighting 1950-1980, an imaginatively styled selection of rare vintage pieces.
As well as the big gallery stands, check out these small, immersive installations inspired by Renaissance cabinets of curiosities. Highlights include Ettore Sottsass: Una Piccola Stanza presented by Ivan Mietton, a snapshot of a 1965 living room featuring the Italian maverick’s furniture and ceramics; Atelier Swarovski’s new home decor collection, including a chess set by architect Daniel Libeskind, Fredrikson Stallard’s Glaciarium centrepieces and lighting by Tord Boontje; and Swiss artist Sylvie Fleury’s Magnifying, a collaboration with Syz Art Jewels. The installation reimagines jewellery on a huge scale, with watch holders becoming mirrors and earrings morphing into lamps.