Last night, we went to the VIP opening evening for PAD London 2018 where art and design walk hand in hand. Upon enterting the pavilion, I noticed that David Gill Gallery sadly wasn’t exhibiting this year at their usual place on the left – he always has a magnificent stand! However, the stand designed by Carpenter’s Workshop Gallery was phenomenal; a mix between contemporary design, Orientalism and primitivism. Clean, geometric lines were contrasted against a curvilinear chandelier — which truly was a focal point — and African artefacts adorned the surfaces while red and black colours paid homage to an Oriental aesthetic.
Founder of PAD, Patrick Perrin has said that “art dealers, interior designers and museums belong to the same eco-system,” central to the two themes he has put forward of art-de-vivre and collecting. I am sure that this these two themes are very prevalent for those within the arts — or those who simply express an interest for the arts — as design, fine and decorative art, objects, jewellery are a way of living and experiencing life. Often simple or complex objects, be it a minimalist, functional coffee table or a complex, decorative mirror speak to individuals in a way that no one else can quite understand. Tastes can be created and manipulated through various forms, but I do believe that the intrinsic beauty of such artistic objects has extraordinary effects on a particular person.
Cecilie Bendixen, Sun Disc,2018
Maria Wettergren in Paris had a marvellous stand and I have to admit, Bendixen’s Sun Disc received much attention. The Danish artists’ textile sculptures have the incredible quality of absorbing sound for the purpose that we may experience greater pleasure for our eyes and ears.
With a diameter of 200cm, this piece would make a wonderful addition not only aesthetically, but conversationally, to a hallway or living room. I envision a statement and round artwork such as this to work extremely well at the end of a hallway coupled with an armchair, or above a sofa in a living room that has panelled walls to visually juxtapose the linear versus curved forms.
Mark Brazier-Jones, Molecular Agate Console
Armelle Malvoisin and Stéphanie Pioda describe New-Zealand sculptor Mark Brazier-Jones’ Molecular Agate Console as a baroque enchantment. Made from grade A agate and quartz semi-precious stones with a bronze sculpted base, it emphasises the natural occurring forms within its structure while also applauding the artist’s merit in the sculpted base.
This console would sit wonderfully in any entrance hall or living room as a pièce de résistance.
Rowan Mersh, Fluens Aeris, 2018
Over at Gallery Fumi, I had to really stand and stare at for a while at this mural sculpture, for it was more of an inquisitive one than the gleaming marvel of Brazier-Jones’ console above. My reasoning stems from the Rowan Mersh’s ability to make any viewer stop and stare. Fluens Aeris is comprised of thousands of small components which Mersh himself assembles. In this case, small brass tubes of different calibers and lengths take various organic forms as they branch our at their own height. There is something very machine like about this sculpture due to the brass medium, but equally a certain fluidity that we see rooted in nature. This piece would dazzle in a living room that already has elements of bronze (or gold).
Robert Goossens, Corail Square Mirror, 2018
A multitude of Robert Goossens (1927-2016) adorned Maison Rapin’s booth and it was his Corail square mirror which I fell in love with. Goossens was fascinated by symbols and throughout his life created pieces for various collaborations such as Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent where the designs embodied pyrites, rock crystals and coral. This gilt bronze mirror in a coral design appears to be so effortless and free; the coral almost appears to be wild and swaying at the bottom of the ocean.
A gorgeous piece that would work well above a mahogany sideboard or a marble / glass console depending on the client’s existing pieces in the room.
Increasingly each year art fairs such as PAD help blur the boundaries between art and design and we begin to recognise the ingenuity of hundreds of global designers in one place. Eclectic and whimsical are two words that I could use to describe this 12th edition of PAD London as curiosity and wonder are stirred in every collector and art enthusiast.
Written by Catherine Cornelissen