Over 300 designers and enthusiasts gathered at Christie’s New York last night for a preview of its spring auction, Important 20th Century Decorative Art & Design. The sale takes place tomorrow (10:00 a.m.) and features furniture, lighting, ceramics, and jewelry representing the major stylistic movements of the 20th and 21st centuries, from Art Deco to contemporary—pieces crafted by celebrated artists and designers such as René Lalique, Carlo Bugatti, Marcel Breuer, and Marc Newson, among others.
To help draw attention to the sale and underscore the importance of the decorative arts in modern interiors, Christie’s asked four talented young designers—Suysel dePedro Cunningham and Anne Maxwell Foster of Tilton Fenwick, Nick Olsen of Nick Olsen Style, and Sara Gilbane of Sara Gilbane Interiors—to design vignettes highlighting signature pieces in their favorite lots from the auction.
“We were thrilled to work with these remarkable designers leading up to the auction,” said Carina Villinger, Christie’s New York Head of 20th Century Decorative Arts & Design. “By projecting their vision onto the chosen lots, we are able to reimagine how these pieces might be lived with, and how they might be incorporated into a beautiful and eclectic lifestyle.”
Anne Maxwell Foster and Suysel dePedro Cunningham
The evening kicked off with a tour of the galleries led by Villinger, specifically the three curated vignettes. The first stop was Tilton Fenwick's vignette, where a circa-1952 Tommi Parzinger sideboard, estimated between $10,000 and $15,000, served as the “star” piece.
The circa-1952 Tommi Parzinger sideboard featured in Tilton Fenwick's vignette
“Christie's and Quintessence Blog asked us to think about how we would design a fantasy room using hi/low pieces around our featured item,” the Tilton Fenwick designers explained. “We would pair the Parzinger sideboard with artwork from West Elm, a rug from our Studio Four NYC collection, and faux tortoise shells from Restoration Hardware to create a fantasy dining room setting. As our friend Nick Olsen said last night, ‘It only takes one amazing piece to elevate a room!’ To us, this Tommi Parzinger console is that piece!”
“Auctions play such an important (and FUN) role in my work as a designer,” said Olsen, whose vignette guests visited next. “I'm always searching for unique pieces like these, pieces that reflect my clients' personalities and give their homes depth and warmth. Design is cyclical and attending these sales not only educates me about the market, but also helps hone my eye and determine what styles feel fresh again in 2014.”
A pair of circa-1900 Carlo Bugatti side chairs was the central focus of Nick Olsen's vignette
He selected a pair of circa-1900 Carlo Bugatti side chairs, estimated between $15,000 and $20,000, as his show pieces.
Sara Gilbane and Christina Juarez
Gilbane’s vignette was the last stop on the tour. She described how her design was inspired by a pair of circa-1985 Seville wall lights by Lalique, estimated between $7,000 and $9,000. She explained how they add "major drama" to any room.
Sara Gilbane's vignette, featuring a pair of Lalique wall lights
“It was wonderful to be part of last night’s event,” said Gilbane. “As a designer, Christie's is such an amazing resource for me. There are so many wonderful things that are part of this sale.”
Gideon Mendelson, Robert Passal, Lorrie Roschman, and Young Huh
Guests spent the rest of the evening at a cocktail reception wandering the galleries and admiring all of the incredible 20th- and 21st-century pieces.
Click here for more information about the sale, which begins on June 12 at 10:00 am.
Article and photos by Kate Jerde