Natural light venue shines warmly on modern design auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 7th November, 2018

A converted Fitzroy warehouse with an abundance of natural light is the setting for Leonard Joel’s November Modern Design auction, which features a stunning and eclectic range of European design furniture.

The auction, from 6.30pm Monday November 12 at 200A Argyle Street, Fitzroy is an adventurous move from Leonard Joel’s traditional South Yarra venue and modern design head Anna Grassham says it pays tribute to the many layers, hidden spaces and hybrids of cultures Melbourne offers.

“There are sofas and tables from (Italian company) Cassina, B&B Italia and Poltrona Frau alongside Australian mid-century classics from designers such as Rosando, Clement Meadmore and Grant Featherston,” she said in the catalogue introduction.

Grassham highlights the 605 Allen dining setting for Cassina (lot 115) as a piece worthy of special mention.

“ (It was) designed in 1917 by the late, great Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most celebrated architects and designers of the 20th century,” she said.

“Influenced by the arts and crafts movement, Wright believed in ‘organic architecture and design’ – structures that existed in harmony within their natural surroundings.”

Grassham paid tribute to the power of Wright’s creative genius as his career developed, and believes it inevitable his attention would eventually turn from architecture to furniture design.

“He once said ‘the most truly satisfactory apartments are those in which most or all of the furniture is built in as part of the original scheme considering the whole as an integral unit,” she said.

The clean, masterful lines of both Wright’s interiors and exteriors were reflected in every piece of furniture he designed and tall, slated c hairs became his signature pieces.

The auction 605 Allen setting was manufactured in 1985 by Cassina and almost 70 years after Wright designed it still exudes the brilliance that connects people to his architecture.

The sale kicks off with an unusual Michele de Lucchi ‘Oceanic’ lamp by Memphis Milano (lot 1) – followed not too much later by an eye-catching Mario Bellini designed ‘Gli Scacchi’ tables for B&B Italia (lot 10).

A colourful Gerrit Rietveld ‘637 Utrecht’ armchair for Cassina (lot 27) is another auction attraction along with Ron Arad’s ‘Big Easy’ (lot 80) and ‘Soft Little Heavy’ chairs for Moroso.

Unusual is the blue Bitossi dachshund sculpture (lot 87), while a Charles & Ray Eames style conference table by Living Edge (lot 120) would be an attractive adornment for any office environment.  

Auction goers will no doubt be intrigued at the unusual shape of the Murano waterfall droplet chandelier (lot 125) while the sad expression on the Gambone ceramic sculpture (lot 141) provides food for thought.

An Elisabeth Vandeweghe bowl for Perignem (lot 148) is another item difficult to bypass along with the Rosando mirrored dresser with accompanying colourful stool (lot 226).

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