Mid-Town Office Furniture Collection
I have been asked to expand descriptions on the collection of furniture of the Mid-Town Office project (published in the Commercial office section of this site), with some notes on the provenance, the designer and relevant bibliography.
Stainless steel desk, French, 1966/7
Designed by: Max Ingrand
Size: 72”W x 72”D x 34”H
Description: Continuous sheets of stainless steel wrap around themselves to form the desk top, base and seat. The desk top has concealed recessed storage compartments. There is even a hook hidden under the chair back so that phone cables can be threaded through and under the table so chords are not exposed.
Made for a car manufacture, the same technology, craftsmanship and material were employed to create this unique desk; whether planned or by coincidence is open for discussion. It is considered a rare masterpiece as a desk design as well as metal craft. It is one of three in the world designed for the Paris showroom of Mr. Peugeot’s car company. Max Ingrand is principally renowned as a glass artist of the 1930’s, similar to Lalique in technique. His first major works appeared on the French Luxury Liners with large Art Deco bas relief wall panels in glass which decorated the principal dining and reception areas. His impressive glasswork continued throughout his career which makes this commission in metal extraordinary, but shows the flexibility of his design genius.
Bibliography: Phillips Auction catalog, May, 1998.
Provenance: Private collector who submitted the original photograph and letter signed by Mr. Peugot
Wood and Metal Pneumatic Table, French, 1950’s by:
Jean Royere 1902-1981 Size: 35 1/2”Diameter x 22”H
Description: Inlaid round wood topped table with a series of brass extrusion rods which extend and the height and are gathered to a central base.
Highly regarded as creating the most avant garde interior designs of his day, this table is considered one of the more classic examples of his otherwise free spirit. As one of Royere’s many clever inventions, twist the table one way it’s for coffee, the other way, it rises for dining. In France, Royere is considered the symbolic head of 1950’s Design. “He had an uncommonly original taste for organic and abstract forms and loved craftsmanship as much as science fiction.” After completing his education at Cambridge, then five years in banking, he became one of the most original decorators of the 20th Century.
Unlike the elegant, tasteful style of Ruhlmann, he stretched design boundaries to create new forms and shapes that combined unexpected materials in unusual ways. His theory is based on functionalism and deconstructivism. Typical materials for furniture construction are simple and readily available such as; metals, bent tube, and common woods. He was also an expert in “marquetrie de paille” which he used as an ornamental technique. Other use of ornament is limited by geometric patterns, such as: semicircles, volutes, zig-zags and bows. Royere designed many royal palaces, and government residences, hotels, banks and offices in France and in the Lebanon.
“Royere” Retrospective Exhibition, October 1999, Le Musee des Arts Decoratifs, at the Louvre, Paris. “Le Mobilier Du Xxe Siecle”: Pierre Kjellberg pg.557-559 ( This table can be seen on pg.558)
“Les Decorateurs Des Annees ’40” Bruno Foucart & Jean Luis Gaillemin pg. 252-263
“Art Deco”:Pierre Kjellberg pg. 205-206
Similar piece exhibited at the N.Y. Modernisim Show at the Armory, Nov. 1998
Provenance: Galerie 4,
Le Louve des Antiquaires 2 , Place du Palace- Royal 4 ,alle Saunier,75001 Paris
Black Painted Metal Reception Seating, French, 1930
Designed by Rene Prou 1889-1947
Sizes: 66 3/4”W x 24”D x 35”BH / 24”W x 22”D x 33 1/2”BH / 18”W x 19”D x 33 1/2’BH / all pieces 16”SH & 24”AH
Description: One settee with arms, two chairs with arms, and two without arms; all in thin black painted formed steel with off white suede seat cushions.
The settee and four chairs are rare examples of cubist furniture created especially for the “Salon des Artistes” exhibition in Paris of 1930. The clean, cut away abstract forms to the arms and legs are totally original for their time. As was the sheer thinness and lightweight quality of the metal which utilized the construction techniques for cars and planes rather than typical furniture. Cited in 1912 (at age 23) to be the first decorator of the “Modern taste”, these exceptional pieces seem more like precursors to the 1960’s than the current Art Deco period. Some of his early commissions included the Waldorf Astoria Dining Room, the French offices of the United Nations in Geneva, the Ambassador of France’s residence and many interiors on the French Luxury Liners of the 1920’s and 30’s. Prou’s style is defined by great sobriety in his lines. His furniture is characterized by straight lines and angular forms. In 1929, critics called his work “the decor without the ornament”. In the 1940’s and 50’s his most popular chairs and tables were created in sensuous undulating arabesques made in thick metal rods.
“Le Mobilier Du Xxe Siecle”: Pierre Kjellberg pg. 512-516
“Art Deco” Pierre Kjellberg pg. 212-219 (Features these exact pieces)
Provenance: Galerie Makassar- Paris
19 Avenue Matignon 75008, France
Green Painted Metal & Cobalt Blue Glass Door Panels, French, 1949
Designed by Jean Prouve 1901-1981
Size: 6’-1”W overall x 9’H (3’ - 1/2” W each)
Description: Two painted steel hollow doors with circular framed cut outs, like port holes, that hold cobalt blue glass. The lower section of the round windows have sliding metal coverings that can opened to a metal screened interior; to let air circulate without mosquitoes entering. One side is painted a 1940’s green and the other an ochre. The doors have a few scratches but repainting is not advised by purist collectors and dealers.
The two door panels are signature examples of Prouve’s profound invention of modular construction components developed to create curtain walls for his “Safari” house designs; (“Maison Tropicale”). As part of a limited series, these doors were flown into French Africa (“Maison de Brazaville”) to become the walls of a house on stilts - then flown again from Paris in 1999 to meet ICA’s construction schedule. They represent a pivotal point in the development of modern architecture in terms of “assembly line” modular structural cladding and the pre-fabricated curtain wall.
Jean Prouve was a designer, architect and an engineer. His training was purely vocational, apprenticed rather than schooled. His father was one of the founding fathers of the engineering school of Nancy, France. Prouve designed in a simple form avoiding unnecessary ornament that were not purely structural. He collaborated with Charlotte Perriand, and Sonia Delaunay on commissions for the design of the University of D’Antony. Their most acclaimed collaborative pieces were the bookcases known as “du Mexique & Tunisie”, found in private collections around the world. Prouve’s pieces are highly sought after by museums and private collectors. (These were supposed to be the last 2 of 4 available on the open market when purchased in Paris. And were used as a privacy screen in the office space instead of new, more costly construction.) His furniture designs can be seen at MoMA, N.Y. the Louvre, Paris and select modernist galleries worldwide.
“Le Mobilier Du Xxe Siecle”: Pierre Kjellberg pg.516-520
“Jean Prouve/ Serge Mouille”:Criistine Concord & Alan Paris pg. 18 -90
“Jean Prouve, complete works”: Peter Sulzer
“Constructeur”, Monologue. Centre Pompidou, 1990.
Provenance: Galerie 54
54 Rue Mazarine 75006 Paris
Chrome Disc Lamp, French, 1960’s
Serge Manson for Pierre Cardin Size: 20 1/4”Diameter
Description: Convex chrome bowl shaped stands upright on a base where another curved disc floats to conceal the light bulb. This unusual lamp with hidden light source illuminating a larger reflector was designed for Pierre Cardin. It’s simple yet elegant style illustrates the wide impact of fashion on design during the 1960s. The Paris dealers, where this unusual lamp was found, said it was most likely a prototype created especially for the Pierre Cardin label. The design and production costs were so expensive that this was the only one made and plans for manufacturing were canceled.
Provenance: Galerie Patrick Fourtin
6 Place de Valois, 75000 Paris.
President’s Office - Macassar and Ivory Bookcase, French Late 1920’s by: Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann 1879-1933 Size: 60”W x 13”D
Free standing bookcase made of African Makassar ebony with inlaid ivory details.
Ruhlmann is the acknowledged master of Art Deco cabinetry design and decoration. Working in the “Grand tradition” of 18th Century French craftsmanship, all his furnishings were handmade using the most exotic materials. The bookcase in macassar ebony wood features one of his signature details - a thin line of ivory inlay documented in the Ruhlmann monograph. In the world of furniture, Ruhlmann’s rare designs are highly sought after by collectors worldwide. With a full understanding of wood, Ruhlmann could follow the natural curves of the wood. He was an extraordinary craftsman who produced a large quantity of furniture of the finest quality, using pure forms, that were balanced and logically proportioned.
His simple geometry replaced, the fussy, elaborate designs of the Aesthetic Art Nouveau movements. In 1929 at the Salon Des Arts Decorateurs, he launched the grand semi circular bureau in black lacquer as a modular element. He also collaborated with many well known designers as Subes, Jean Dunand, Jallot and Rapin. Later, he incorporated special accessories in the furniture such as telephones, lights and bar elements. Ruhlmann designed exclusively for the French elite such as Ropier, Rothschild, Renouardt, Colette, Boileau & Potout. His work can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Arts Decoratifs in Paris.
“Ruhlmann” Florence Camard, Published Editions du Regard, Paris 1983. (A similar bookcase can be seen on pg. 291).
“Le Mobilier Du Xxe Siecle” Pierre Kjellberg pg.562-578
“Art Deco”, Pierre Kjellberg pg. 206-220
Major ‘One Man’ auction at Etude Tajan in Paris, December 1999. (Prices commend three times the previous year)
Provenance: Phillips Auction House, Dec, 1998 Auction.
406 East 79th Street, New York, N.Y.10021
Round Mahogany Table & 6 Chairs, French, 1930’s, by:
Jean Pascaud, born 1903
Size: 56.5”Diameter x 28”H
Description: Inlaid mahogany round table with slightly curved legs and six matching chairs. The chairs have upholstered in seat and back in a wool velvet typical of the period. Each arm has a thin chrome band across the depth.
The mahogany table and chairs, typical of the Art Deco style, become untypical with the addition of thin chrome bands to the chair arms. Pascaud, originally an engineer, was so impressed by the 1925 Paris Arts Exhibition that he began to pursue a career in furniture design. Jean Pascaud was an exquisite designer choosing only the finest quality materials. He used materials such as ebony, makassar, walnut and sycamore with metal and parchment. As his pieces were rarely signed, similar chairs and table were documented by Phillips Auction House in 1998 but these were purchased at the NY Modernism Show at the Armory, in 1998.
Pascaud is well known for designing all the furniture in ten suites of the Normandie, among many private residences. On a scale between Ruhlmann 1920, and Royere in 1950, Pascaud can be considered about six out of ten of top designers of the early 20th Century.
“Le Mobilier Du Xxe Siecle”: Pierre Kjellberg pg. 469-473
“Art Deco” Pierre Kjellberg pg.175-177
1684 Market Street San Francisco
Three-tiered Console Table, by Jean Pascaud.
Size: 52”W x 12”D x 32 1/2” H
Description: A console consisting of three shelf layers, the top and bottom in rosewood and the middle in hand blown leaded glass.
The three tiered console of rosewood, chrome and leaded glass is also an unusual Deco invention. Originally designed to display objects or use as a slender sideboard in the dinig room, its 17th /18th Century precursor would have been made totally of wood. The sandwhich of glass makes this unique and no others have been seen in the last four years.
“Le Mobilier Du Xxe Siecle”: Pierre Kjellberg pg. 469-473
“Art Deco” Pierre Kjellberg pg.175-177
Provenance: Marche Mallasis, Paris
President’s Desk French, late 1940’s:
Attributed to Marc du Plantier (1901-1975) or Jacques Quinet (1918-1992)
Size: 79”W x 34”D x 29.5”H
Description: The floating top is made of makassar ebony veneer surrounded by an inlaid leather panel. The inverted angular legs are made from makassar wood incased with flat bronze edges that sit on a bronze platform base.
As with many one of a kind, early 20th Century pieces, the furniture is just emerging out of homes and buildings with designers being rediscovered and accurate authentication still in the research process. The macassar, bronze and Hermes leather topped desk is an exceptional desk regardless of its origin, but is believed to be by du Plantier or Quinet. Sold to Client as a duPlantier design, this painter, sculptor and decorator was revered for his distinctly modern classic style by a privileged clientele. Marc du Plantier has two very different styles. At his early design stage, du Plantier used simple materials and gave them luxurious treatments. His furniture tends to have a touch of Surrealism. Later, he became inspired by Jean Michel Frank, simplifying his lines. In 1939, he moved to Spain where he designed for many important families.
Quinet, also a decorator, was renowned for clean, simple designs in bronze and fine woods often letting the wood grain speak as the only decoration. As he focused on important office furniture designs in the 1950’s and 1960’s, L/W believes he was the most likely designer for this unique desk. In Quinet’s recent monograph there are a few examples of similar desks (particularly the angular legs) but this desk is not featured.
“Le Mobilier Du Xxe Siecle”: Pierre Kjellberg pg. 204
“Les Decorateurs Des Annees 40” Bruno Foucart, Jean Louis Gaillemin pg.180-193, pg. 225
“Quinet” monograph published 2001
Provenance: Sarl Themes Galerie
Marche Paul Bert 16 Rue Paul Bert, 93400 St Ouen
Jules Leleu 1883-1961 Size: 25”W x 30”D x 28.5”BH
Description: Two upholstered Deco club chairs with exposed mahogany frame and legs. The seats have been reupholstered in wool mohair which was typically used on similar chairs during the 1930’s.
The two, upholstered club chairs with wooden tipped arms and legs are typical of the lounge seating created for the early French Luxury Liners. Where Ruhlmann’s focus was on the grand and monumental, Leleu focused on a smaller scale with more delicate features. His successful designs spanned the Deco period (like these club chairs), all the way through to the clean lines of the 1960’s (such as the lacquer credenza in the Conference Room).
Bibliography: “Le Mobilier Du Xxe Siecle”: Pierre Kjellberg pg. 371-379. rt Deco” Pierre Kjellberg pg. 152-158
Provenance: Art et Design Galerie
110 Rue Des Rosiers, Marche Serpette Stand 19 Alle 3, Sant Ouen
Side table, French, 1940’s
Designer not attributed as yet. Size: 28” D x 16 1/2” x 22” H
Description: The wood base is match-stick marquetry popular in the 1930’s and 40’s. The top is original black opaline glass; though it has a few scratches it should not really be replaced with new black glass.
The designer’s Jean-Michel Frank and Jean Royere used this match-stick technique which makes the table likely to have been made by one or the other, though no supporting document has been found yet. The use of matchstick inlay and inset black glass was and continues to be uncommon as the labor is so intensive.
Provenance: Maison Gerard
53 East 10th Street, New York, N.Y. 10003
Main Conference Room
Conference Tables, Cabinet & 12 Chairs, French 1947
Designed by Maxime Old 1910-1991
Tall cabinet: 70”W x 18”D x 60”H
Three identical tables: 40” Square x 28 5/8”H (interlocked the overall length is 10’)
A fourth table was made to match by a Pennsylvania craftsman, Redline & Redline, to increase length (see images below)
Twelve Chairs: 18”W x 19”d x 38”BH, 17”SH
Description: Three square tables, 1 tall cabinet, 12 chairs in solid and veneered oak. The cabinet front and sides along with the table bases feature a series of carved reeded ½” round raised forms. The table top has inlaid marquetry in angular & star shapes of oak and makassar; the same star inlay is repeated in the cabinet. The solid oak chairs are carved with a single curved reed shape on the sides that has been gilded. The seats and backs have been reupholstered in wool typical of the original period, Six in red and six in blue.
“Maxime Old” monograph by Yves Badetz, 2000 features these pg.146 & 147
“Le Mobilier Du Xxe Siecle”: Pierre Kjellberg pg. 460-464
“Art Deco” Pierre Kjellberg pg.174
“Les Decoarteurs des Annes 40” Bruno Foucart, Jean Louis Gaillemin pg.158-167
Provenance: Galerie Plaisance
3 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris
Red Lacquer Buffet French, late 1950’s - early 60’s by:
Jules Leleu 1883-1961 Size: 88”L x 17 3/4”D x 36”H
Description: A long buffet/credenza cabinet with mottled red lacquer finish and gilded bamboo motifs that are contained in a square form at each key hole of the doors. The cabinet wood is sycamore and it’s interior box holds shelves. The long double legs that support the box are made of cast bronze vertical tubes that sit on a slender bronze plynth.
Influenced by Japanese design with the red lacquer, gilded bamboo motifs and clean lines, this credenza is a radical departure from Leleu’s early 20th Century pieces. It registers as a precursor to later 1960’s and 1970’s credenza designs - simple, cubic, box like and raised off the floor. His early work has the spirit of Louis XV and XVI with the use of traditional cabinetry techniques and curved forms. The volumes are well proportioned with a strict simple elegance. Leleu, like Ruhlmann, is considered one of the most prolific and renowned early 20th Century “artist-decorators”. This buffet is featured in the Leleu monograph at the end of his career as one of his last commissions. It is rare and shows his ability to successfully transcend 80 years as an innovative designer. He used precious materials; ivory, mother of pearl, galuchat, lacquer or marble. His sons continued his work although straightening out the lines and the forms. In the 1960’s and 70’s they collaborated with Janson and did a number of large scale projects.
“Le Mobilier Du Xxe Siecle”: Pierre Kjellberg pg. 371-379
“Jules & Andre Leleu”: Viviane Jutheau
“Leleu,” Editions Olbia. Neuchatal (this sideboard is photographed) on page 186 in “Jules & Andre Leleu”, date late 1950’s)
Provenance: Galerie Jacques La Coste
22 Rue de Lille, 75007 Paris
Gallery Conference off Reception Area
Conference Table, Italian, 1950’s by:
Ico Parisi - Born Palermo, 1916 Size: 56”Diameter x 30”H
Description: Amorphic carved wood legs with bronze caps support a round glass top. The hand carved table base is sculpted in tree like forms - a 1950’s phenomenon and so unlike the earlier streamlined, cubic, Deco period and that of the 1960’s that followed.
Ico Parisi, and his wife Luisa, are among the most influential Italian furniture designers of the 1950’s. Their work for the Altamira Gallery and manufacturer Singer & Son of NYC, between 1947 and 1954, exemplified “modern”. Not wanting to be considered an architect nor solely an industrial designer or painter, Ico Parisi immersed himself in many design fields during his 50 year career. Parisi is considered one of the great Italian 1950’s designers from the school of thought as Molino, De Carli, and Ponti. (A round table by Carlo Molino was first searched for before this was found and it is the only one like this that has been seen). Parisi was part of the “Gruppo Como”, which was a group of designers working around lake Como, founded by the rationalist architect Terragni in 1935. His work was exhibited in Paris at the Salon of Decorative Arts and later he designed for premiere Italian furniture company’s: Cassina, MIM and Stildomme.
“ Il Mobile Italiano Degli Anni ’40 & ‘50”: Irene de Gutty, Maria Paola Maino .pg 216-227
Provenance: Frank Rogin, Gallery- exhibited at the 1998 “ New York Modernisim,” Armory show
21 Mercer Street New York, N.Y.
Two Leather and Iron Club Chairs French, 1961 by:
Jacques Adnet 1900-1984 Size: 24 1/2”W x 26”D x 29”BH, 12-14”SH, 20 3/4”AH
Description: A tubular wrought iron chair frame wrapped in Hermes leather at the seat and back with visible stitching to reveal the construction.
Designed for the ship “Le France”, these lounge chairs represent Adnet’s distinctive style of the 1950’s and 60’s. Hermes luxury leather, hand stitching and wrapping leather over exposed wrought iron frames was an entirely new concept in seating.
Trained as an architect at the Paris Beaux Arts, Adnet focused on furniture design. He is known for creating many furniture inventions and using combinations of materials that have set a design precedent for the rest of the century. He is particularly renown for desk and chairs constructed like these chairs with leather and iron as the major element. He was an apprentice with Rapin, Tony Selmersheim and Maurice De Frene. His priority was in sturdy furniture construction designed with a logical concept using refined and rough materials. For over 30 years Adnet directed the “Compaigne Des Arts Francais” that Sue et Mare founded in 1919. He worked with a team of artists that shared his aesthetic philosophy like Dufy, Leger, Pascin, Chagall, and with ceramists, guilders and decorators such as Jourdin, Perriand, Renee Gabriel, Alexander Noll, Mouille and Jouve. Like Rhulmann, Leleu and Royere, Adnet is considered one of the most highly sought after designers of the early 20th Century.
“Le Mobilier Du Xxe Siecle”: Pierre Kjellberg pg. 37-41
“Art Deco“: Pierre Kjellberg pg. 29-32
Provenance: Galerie de Beyrie
393 West Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10012
2 Vintage Lamps in Mahogany and Bronze, American 1940’s
Size: 18”Diameter shade x 27”H
Description: Sitting on a thin bronze platform set on 4 balls, stands a tall hand carved organic wood form; narrow at the base & splaying out at the top. The fabric shade was recently remade using the same proportion as the original.
This type of lamp and carving is unusual today and considered outrageous in it’s time. It is so moderne looking it could have been designed by a contemporary but pales to the current standards of craftsmanship. A chrome half dome/bowl sits upside down to hinge the light bulb and is supported by a tapering cone encircled with chrome discs at the top.
Metal and horsehair Chair, French - 1920’s
Pierre Patout Size: 23”W x 20”D x 34”BH, 15”SH, 23 1/2”AH
Description: Made with solid steel rods, welded together to form a chair frame and painted silver on one side and the other half in black. The floating back cushion and seat are in new black woven horse hair (as they were originally).
One of two chairs known to be in existence, they are early experiments in metal and Constructivist form. Along with Mallet Stevens, Le Corbusier and Chareau, Patout was an important figure in the development of modern cubist and Art Deco architecture. Known as the French architect who designed the Pavilion of Collections for the Paris Exhibition of 1925, little is recorded of his furniture, which makes these chairs unique. (The other is owned by a French collector of architectural furniture).
Bibliography (photo of Patout Hotel) pg.185
“Arts Decoratifs Des Annes ’20”: Seuile Regard
Provenance: La Compagnie des Lucioles
111 Rue du Dr. Bauer, 93400, St. Ouen
Chrome and black lacquer umbrella stand, Jacques Adnet, French 1930’s
Size:12”Wx 12”Dx 19”H
Description: Chromed vertical bands are supported by a chromed base and top edge. Each vertical band is raised forward from a black lacquered wood rectangular box. The inside has the original tin liner to keep the umbrella drippings contained.
It is a prime and rare example of an Art Deco umbrella stand. Adnet utilized the new technology of chroming metal just developed at the time for exterior car parts. It is odd that he combined the chrome with the ancient Japanese art of lacquering wood. The design shows the 1920’s and 30’s inclination towards geometric and vertical skyscraper motifs. This piece shows the influence of Josef Hoffman and the Vienna Secessionist movement in Austria and is a marked departure from previous Art Nouveau floridity.
Provenance: Purchased October,1999.
Ars Nova Galerie
Rue Calvin 6, 1204 Geneva, Swizerland.
Entrance doors chrome door handles on glass doors, French, 1950’s by:
Raymond Subes 1893-1970 Size: 3 1/2”W x 4”D x 10 1/2”
Description: The concentric curve of chromed steel ingeniously wraps into itself giving an unusual shape to grab hold of as opposed to the more common contemporary door bar pull. These door handles exemplify the abstraction and playfulness of traditional formal experimentation within the 1950’s and streamlined in the 1960’s
Subes, a renowned metal craftsman, collaborated with numerous architects and designers, creating staircases, balconies, grills, architectural elements as well as metal furniture in various metals. His impeccable style is characterized by geometric motifs - arabesques, crossed lines and concentric circles. His career continued through the 1940’s and 50’s where he worked on large bank and shipping projects. In 1919, he began working in metallic constructions with Borderel & Robert where he became the director of an iron atelier. Subes worked with Ruhlmann on many projects; particularly major installations for the large French Luxury Liners of the 1920’s and 1930’s such as the Normandie, Atlantique and Ile-de-France. He used traditional methods with the most recent technology and was a great admirer and scholar of the ‘moyen age’.
“Les Mobiliers Du Xxe Siecle” Pierre Kjellberg pg. 662-664
“Les Decorateurs Des Annees ’40” Bruno Foucart & Jean Luis Gaillemin pg 264-273
“Art Deco”: Pierre Kjellberg pg.229-230
Galerie Sarl Themes
Marche Paul Bert 93400 Sant Ouen, Paris (Flea Market)
Rosewood top desk with aluminum base, Belgium, 1950’s by:
Jules Wabbes Size: 78 1/2”W x 35 1/2”D x 29”H
The Belgian architect produced most of his work in the 1950’s-1970’s. The post war concept of office as workstation was cleverly explored by Wabbes, who can be considered the European counterpart to Charles Eames and George Nelson. Unlike Eames and Nelson, he had direct sources to exotic woods from the Belgian Congo which he combined with the futuristic new metal - aluminum. In the late 1950’s, Wabbes opened his own showroom where he exhibited his work along with others including the American designer Edward Wormley. Without the furniture
production machine of Herman Miller and Knoll, Wabbes’ office furnishings are considered limited editions and precursors of the modern office today. The adjacent steel and mahogany topped desk is French 1940’s (designer unknown at this time), desk chair by Eames and stainless filing cabinets, a new design by Meridian.
Provenance: Galerie Dewindt,
Rue Lebeau 77-79, 1000 Brusells
Silk Geometric Rug, American, 1997 by:
Fort Street Studio Size: 9’ x 12’
Description: Woven silk rug in whites, grays and greens in a soft geometric linear pattern.Two American Architects living in Hong Kong began producing their watercolor paintings into silk rugs in China. The rugs are of the highest quality and most unusual geometric patterns and have been exhibited in Galleries in Hong Kong, N.Y., London, and San Francisco.
Provenance: Fort Street Studio, Hong Kong
Black spider-like ceiling light, French, 1950s by:
Serge Mouille 1922-1988 Size: 12”Drop x 8’ overall arm span
Description: Six tubular arms extend off a central pendant. The arms are at various lengths and hold on abstract form adjustable cup to hold the light bulb.
This six arm light is a modified new version of the original, purchased through David Gill in London, under license by the Mouille family in France. Though purchasing the original was preferred, the arms and light canisters were fixed and as such did not allow for focus lighting which the interior needed, more than original provenance.
Trained as a silversmith at the Ecole des Arts Appliques, Mouille started his own Paris studio in 1945, dedicating himself to metal forms. In 1953, Mouille was invited by the designer-architect Jacques Adnet to design a three arm lamp which led to fruitful collaborations with Adnet’s Compagnie des Arts Francaise, Atelier Prouve and others. Mouille created an extensive repertoire of sculptural lighting inspired by nature until production stopped in 1964. Mouille was preoccupied with the beauty of nature’s forms; their utility, aesthetic and movement. He believed energy shape had its function. He taught at the National Superior School of Applied Art. He designed lighting fixtures for many official buildings such as the Social Security building in Mans Pay Bas Bank test Pilot Center at the base among others, He also had personal orders from architects; Prou, Le Couteur, Prouve, Parent & Baudoin.
“Jean Prouve/Serge Mouille” Christine Counord & Alan Paris pg. 92-167
Provenance: David Gill
60 Fulham Road, London SW3 6HH, GB.
Flying Saucer Light Fixtures, American, 1999 by:
Lee/Wimpenny Size: 55 3/4”Diameter x 10”Drop
Description: Each one is comprised of a spun aluminum bowl 1 ½ dome which has had a series of various sized circles cut out to let light from the interior bulbs pass through the Lucite disks. Three custom pendant lights made in Florida by a leading light manufacture. Inspired by a 1960’s prototype, that was not for sale, L/W redesigned the light to be easily manufactured in multiples.
6 Conference Chairs, American, Designed 1958 for Herman Miller by: Charles Eames 1907-1978
Size: 32” H x 20” D x 23” W
Description: Aluminum frame office chairs on wheels with thin seat pad in fabric. Possibly the first “ergonomic” tilt and swivel office chair ever designed.
The extruded aluminum frame construction with the thin suspended seat was a technological breakthrough in the 1950’s. Charles Eames is considered the most famous American architect/designer of the 20th Century since Frank Lloyd Wright. As early as 1942, he with his wife, Ray, were experimenting with new methods of moulding plastic, aluminum and laminated plywood for the U.S Navy (when they were looking for ways to make lightweight, stackable leg splints and airplane seats). Utilizing this new WWII technology and materials, he essentially conceived new structures that could be fabricated by machine rather than by hand. They used heavy duty materials such as aluminum- polyester resin reinforced with fiber glass and plywood. The philosophy behind their product design is to design high quality furniture that could be mass produced economically.
“Le Mobilier Du Xxe Siecle”: Pierre Kjellberg pg.211-213
“Mid- Century Modern”: Cara Creenburg pg. 82-90
Provenance: WB Wood/ Herman Miller
100 Fifth Ave., New York, N.Y.10011
Artichoke Light, Danish, Designed 1958 by:
Paul Henningsen for Louis Poulson Size: 33”Diameter x 28”H
Description: Multiple stainless steel panels shaped like petals (artichoke leaves) are layered on to a circular frame to form a lamp shade. The stainless steel “Artichoke” (hanging in center of room) light is considered a design classic and is still in production today.
Henningsen was concerned with the relationship between people’s needs and the honest function of their everyday equipment. It is an efficient non glare fixture. Henningson was part of the group known as the Scandinavian designers which included Finn Juhl, Alvar Aalto, and Hans Wegner. The following principals of Scandinavian designers of form follows function.
“Mid- Century Modern”: Cara Creenburg pg. 52, 54-55, 132
Provenance: LMM Sales, Denmark
31-30 Hunters Pt. Ave. Lic, New York, 11788
Taccia Table Lamps, Italian 1962, by:
Achille Castiglioni, born 1918
Size: 21.2” H x 19.5”
Description: Stainless steel reeded cone base holding hand blown sculptural glass bowl. Uniquely inventive, the hand-blown glass bowl reflects light from the interior of the steel drum base it is cradled in. Still in production, Flos, the manufacturer said these were the last two to be made with the stainless base. These along with numerous and well known everyday items were featured in Castiglioni’s retrospective at MoMA in 1998.
Where unique ideas proliferated from France in the early 20th Century, the U.S. in mid-century, by the 1960s Italy became the international design Mecca. The Castiglioni Brothers, Achille, Livio an