The best world-class modern furniture has the same effect as a supermodel at a party — everyone stops in their tracks to look. The designs are so exceptional, unusual and individual that they dominate as well as amaze, and can hold a room.
Two linked sales at Christie's offer a range from museum-quality art nouveau furniture designed in 1900, right through to an unusual small glass vase from 2012.
The evening sale on November 4 has the very best international items from famous designers, split into national groups with some prices estimated to soar over £100,000.
French architect and decorator André Arbus's exquisite 1958 tête-à-tête sofa in red leather is estimated at £40,000-£60,000. The same year, Arbus designed the French Pavilion at the International World Fair. There's a matching pair of chairs, lot 202, for £70,000-£100,000. Elsewhere in the sale are a few pieces by Pierre Jeanneret, later known as Le Corbusier. The Brazilian contingent is represented by a very rare, fish-shaped 1989 cut and welded steel bench by the Campana Brothers. Part of their Uncomfortable range, it still has a real beauty and is great fun. Yours for £80,000-£100,000, lot 234.
There are more seats than anything else, including Italian Gaetano Pesce's weird, black Golgotha chair, from an experimental set of 10 made in 1972 from Dacron-filled, resin-soaked cloth. As much sculpture as chair, it is estimated at £20,000-£30,000. A 1978 Poltrona di Proust chair, one of only five hand-painted in Pointillism-style blobs, is priced £40,000-£60,000.
The companion sale, on October 28, offers less-costly items in the same field. Early-century gems include a fair bit of René Lalique glassware. Particularly striking are a 1919 Perruche vase in electric blue, decorated with little budgies, lot 135 for £25,000-£35,000, and a 1924 amber Serpent vase, lot 137, for £20,000-£30,000. Lot 83, a 1900 suite of art nouveau furniture by Louis Majorelle, is £5,000-£8,000, while an Emile Gallé two-tier table in walnut with marquetry is on at £3,000-£8,000, lot 88. Last, for a bit of fun, among a sparkling few lots of Fornasetti furniture, you could snap up a wastepaper basket with a cute cat on it for £400-£600.
Christie's 20/21 Design auction, South Kensington, October 28, and at Christie's King Street on November 4, in an inaugural evening sale. See www.christies.com.