Light up winter with De Veres mid-century design picks

As well as lighting options, the Design Auction also includes quality furnishings and art

Lot 24, pair of metal pendant lights

Lot 24, pair of metal pendant lights

 

Funky furnishings, affordable contemporary art and light fittings to make you laugh out loud; these, and more besides, are to be found among the 128 lots of The Design Auction at De Vere’s of Kildare Street, Dublin, tomorrow.   

 With the clocks about to change to winter time and long, gloomy afternoons on the horizon, we could all do with a bit of extra light in our lives.

This sale offers an excellent selection of unusual mid-century lighting options, from the understated – a willowy Italian floor lamp with an adjustable tapering shade on a tubular brass support (Lot 55, €400–€600) – to the seriously cool, in the shape of a pair of metal pendant lights (Lot 24, €500–€700).

 For an object lesson in “how to do lighting design”, check out the desk lamp BN-26 by the Swedish master Hans Agne Jakobssen (Lot 125, €500–€700). 

Although he designed and produced various types of furniture throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Jakobssen had a particular skill with lighting, and his designs are renowned for their hidden bulbs, streamlined ornamentation and clever use of shadows. 

Desk lamp BN-26 by the Hans Agne Jakobssen (Lot 125, €500–€700

This little lamp sits like a robot at rest – perhaps he should have called it “R2D2”– until it’s switched on, whereupon three otherworldly glowing bands materialise in your living room as if by magic.

Lot 8, Italian crescent-shaped sofa
Lot 8, Italian crescent-shaped sofa

 There’s magic, too, in the curves of a velvet-upholstered Italian crescent sofa which appears to float above its gilt tapering legs (Lot 8, €1,400–€1,800), and the exquisitely detailed grain of a pair of walnut bedside cabinets, also on gilt metal feet (Lot 1, €600–€900). 

Lot 13, Danish teak desk
Lot 13, Danish teak desk

The Danes know how to reinvent the concept of a simple desk, as in Lot 13 (€1,000–€1,500), with its three almost invisible cushioned frieze drawers, while a set of six Model 94 rosewood dining chairs by the Danish designer Johannes Andersen (Lot 16, €2,000–€3,000) take the traditional rail back and turn it into something altogether softer and warmer. 

Lot 16, set of rosewood dining chairs
Lot 16, set of rosewood dining chairs
Lot 6, pair of Italian tub chairs
Lot 6, pair of Italian tub chairs

 For a touch of brightness which won’t break the bank, a pair of Italian tub chairs have jaunty “walking-stick” arms (Lot 6, €800–€1,200); a French gilt starburst mirror (Lot 29, €200–€300) would cheer up any room. 

Lot 29, French gilt starburst mirror
Lot 29, French gilt starburst mirror

 The big names of mid-century design are to be found in this sale, which features an example of Charles and Ray Eames’s contemporary take on the classic English club chair, the Eames lounge chair. Made for Herman Miller in the 1950s, this one has black leather and a rosewood structure, and comes complete with matching ottoman (Lot 11, €4,000–€6,000).  

‘Meditation table’

A 2008 edition hand-stitched black leather Egg chair by Arne Jacobsen also has a matching ottoman (Lot 12, €5,000–€7,000); a high-backed  Oxford chair in tan leather (Lot 50, €1,500–€2,000) is Jacobsen’s version of the office swivel.  

Tables in the sale come in all shapes and sizes. Lot 15 is an oval Danish rosewood dining table (€600–€900). Lot 17, also in rosewood, is rectangular and can be extended to a whopping 220cm (€1,000–€1,500). Lot 9 is an elegantly elliptical low tulip table by the Finnish-American designer Eero Saarinen (€600–€900). 

A famous Irish name we might not immediately associate with mid-century furniture is that of the painter Patrick Scott. The surface of his “meditation table” (Lot 25, €6,000–€9,000) is also a painting in tempera and gold leaf. The design refers to the meditation practice of visualising a dark ground, a geometric shape of a different colour and a central form into which one’s attention is directed. 

Storm in a Teacup, meanwhile, is the title of Micheal Farrell’s strikingly graphic wool tapestry in muted monochrome shades, with a dash of red in the sail of a struggling yacht. 

The piece, dated ’77-’87, may have been  made by V-Soske Joyce (Lot 83, €2,000–€3,000). It’s one of two large tapestries in the auction; Flag Walk 1974, by the Scottish painter Alan Davie,  places brightly-coloured geometric forms on a red background (Lot 82, €3,000–€5,000).  

Also among the visual art are a silkscreen print by Bridget Riley (Lot 106, €3,000–€5,000), and a selection of lithographs by Louis le Brocquy (Lots 108-112, €1,000–€1,500 each).  There are works at a wide range of prices:  Lot 78, a poster advertising Andy Warhol’s 1981 exhibition at the Kestner Gesellschaft gallery in Hanover, has a very modest estimate of €100–€200. 

De Vere’s, 35 Kildare Street, Dublin 2. The Design Auction takes place on Sunday, October 14th at 2pm. deveres.ie