Boardroom classics and a barely-there chair at deVere’s

Demand for statement pieces should be met by eclectic mix of mid-century furniture

The 400 or so lots in De Vere’s Design Auction on May 19th are spread across three categories: furniture, art and, unusually, wine.

Included in the sale is the humorously titled Well Transparent Chair by Ron Arad, a reinterpretation of his 1986 Well Tempered Chair. The Well Transparent Chair, based on the archetypal club chair, was designed for his exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery in 2000, and limited to an edition of 100.

Formed in polycarbonate and wing nuts, is said to test the limits of technology and materials.

“There’s no illusion – what you see is what you get” according to Arad, whose works are included in The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.


These pieces initially sold for £5,000, and now are now sought after collectors’ items – one is currently listed on with a hefty £9.000 price tag. The chair in de Vere’s sale – number 17 of 100 issued, is listed with an estimate of €4,000–€6,000.

Also featured are works of Danish designer Finn Juhl, whose pieces follow the Scandinavian aesthetic that form follows function. Juhl was commissioned to design the Trusteeship Council Chamber of the United Nations headquarters in New York in 1951, as a gift from the Danish government. Today this room – the highlight of the architects' career, is known as the Finn Juhl Chamber – which he designed at just 38 years of age.

Four pairs of his NV46 chairs and a dining table, originally designed for the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers Guild Exhibition for master cabinetmaker Niels Vodder in 1946, have graced the boardroom of the Gowan Group in Ballsbridge since the 1960s. Each pair of chairs have an estimate of €1,500–€2,000 and the rosewood table which extends to over 3m is listed at €1,000–€2,000.

Also included in the sale are the contents of Patricia Downey’s interior shop on Francis Street, to include soft furnishings, lamps, and decorative items. And if Perspex takes your fancy, a set of four American faux sharkskin and brass Perspex chairs is listed at a very reasonable €100–€200.

Other featured furniture designers are Arne Jacobsen, Eileen Gray, Florence Knoll and Bo Concept.

Along with artworks by Patrick Scott, Neil Shawcross and John Minihan is the final instalment of the AXA art collection. The acquisitions acquired over the space of 21 years, in an attempt to encourage new and upcoming artists, come from college degree shows, fist exhibitions and galleries.

"It gives a good cross-section of the shifts and changes in the Irish art market during that time" says Rory Guthrie of de Vere's.

Some pieces such as Mars Wright’s Curious Little Birds (€100–€150) and Carol O’Connor’s Untitled (€80–€120) offer superb value to anyone starting off an art collection.

The wine auction, which will take place in an online only sale, features 93 cases of en primeur wines from 2005. En primeur is a method of purchasing wine at the barrel stage for investment purposes.

Peter Dunne of Mitchell & Son Wine Merchants, who has provided tasting notes for the sale, remarks that "2005, in Bordeaux was the second driest vintage since 1897, and the fifth hottest in 110 years, making it a superb year for red and sweet wines".

The sale lists a case of Chateau Sansonnet 2005 St Emilion Grand Cru at €350–€550 per case, while the Chateau Lamothe-Guignard Sauternes Cru Class is listed at €150–€200 per case. See