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The Vintage Guide To London | December 18, 2017

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Vintage Seekers column: An Odyssey of Art & Design at PAD London 2011

Estella Shardlow is deputy editor of Vintage Seekers, the premium online platform curating a heritage lifestyle. In a new regular Vintage Seekers column Estella will be reporting on high-end vintage events and news. This time, she reports back from the fifth annual PAD London art and design fair.

Passing through Berkeley Square this week, you will notice a sprawling marquee obstructing the views between the designer boutiques, luxury car showrooms and members clubs that face each other across this prestigious piazza.

Within the vast white pavilion some of the world’s leading dealers have gathered to showcase for the fifth annual PAD London art and design fair. Open to the public from Wednesday 12th to Sunday 16th October, this is an opportunity to browse and buy beautiful objects from the last century as well as contemporary creations.

With 60 participating galleries from 11 countries, it’s almost overwhelming as paintings by Fernand Leger compete for attention with Hans Wegner chairs and a Tapio Wirkkala candelabra. We went along to the press preview today to plough through the offerings and gather these highlights to give you a taste of what to expect.

Blurring the boundary between fine art and jewellery, Didier Haspeslagh specialises in accessories made by Post-War painters and sculptors. There are few who can afford an original Picasso or Dali masterpiece, yet jewellery by artists of this caliber presents a comparatively affordable way into collecting their work – then there’s the fact these are sculptural works of art that one can actually wear.

Gordon Watson launched an impressive display of rare vintage furniture and decorative homewares, installing what was effectively a fantasy living room crammed pieces like a pair of Francis Jourdain oak and upholstered armchairs, circa 1930, and a Fifties  ceramic vase by Fausto Melotti glazed in delicious strawberries and cream shades. An exquisite Seventis mirror by sought-after American designer Curtis Jere was framed with a halo of ‘floating’ bronze discs in varying sizes, aptly titled ‘Raindrops’.

Gordon Watson is a stalwart of the 20th century design shows circuit, but we were excited to see some quality galleries from the Continent in situ too: Dansk Mobelkunst bought a fine collection of Scandinavian Modernism, Friedman Benda of America are showing never-seen-before furniture by post-modernist master Ettore Sottsass acquired directly from the artist’s estate, and the Parisian Galerie Downtown presented an original Pierre Jeanneret sofa from 1955.

Milanese art dealer TEGA joined forces with Galleria Rossella Colombari to curate a rich space of both Italian post-war paintings and furniture by the likes of Fontana Arte and Gio Ponti. Make sure you peep round the corner to the back quarter of their stand as an enigmatic late Giorgio De Chirico landscape and Lucio Fontana canvases are concealed back there.

Displaying rare paintings by Roy Lichtenstein, Henry Moore and Georg Grosz, E& R Cyzer was the show’s Mecca for 20th Century Art, not least thanks to it displaying the exuberant Marc Chagall oil painting Les maries aux deux violonistes au cirque that has been in a private collection since it was commissioned in the early 80s.

Finally, a mention must go to Bethan Laura Wood’s ingenious interlocking tables at the Nilufar Gallery stand. These are contemporary pieces, handmade by the ex-RCA British designer, yet are what we at Vintage Seekers deem ‘Future Vintage’ – that is, collectible and covetable pieces that will represent the best of our time’s design in generations to come. The semi-circular tables from her ‘Playtime Collection’ fit together into snaking spirals or tall stacks, with patterned Laminate marquetry spreading out like decorative fans or peacocks’ tails across the table tops.

Can’t make it to the London edition of PAD? Not to worry – it moves next month to New York and there are whispers of a version in Milan starting in 2012 to coincide with the Salone Internazionale del Mobile.

Image: (c) Desmond O’Neill Features