Leonard Joel

Auction Room – Episode 8 Synopsis

Modern Design 27 Nov 2012


Courtesy of ABC TV

There is a strong market for modern design as the trend for unique and fashionable furnishings has grown in the last few decades. This week we head off to the busy rooms of Leonard Joel auctions in Melbourne and Modern Design is the star! We know that our antique obsessed host Gordon loves the Georgian style, so how will he fare in the midst of Featherston furnishings?

From second hand goods in an op shop to a collector’s treasure, this auction serves up a sumptuous feast of dining and living room furniture made and designed by some of the mid 20th century’s biggest names. There are oh so modern works by Danish designers as well originals by American cultural icons Charles and Ray Eames. Flashy European constructions from Italy, France and Germany are up for sale, but it is the Contour curves of 50s home grown designer Grant Featherston and the craftsmanship of the Australian based Rosando Brothers and Schulim Krimper that have a strong local following.

15Recognising the value of a donation to the Sacred Heart Mission charity shop, manager Trish Williams contacted the previous owners to be sure that they understood the value of the goods they had given. While they could have auctioned the Eames dining table and chairs themselves, they wanted the Mission to benefit from the proceeds. It was a valuable gift that the charity appreciated. The Mission feeds 500 people a day and provides a half way house for those in need. Selling the Eames pieces at this auction gives them the opportunity to get the best price for the setting and be able to put so many more meals on the table. How well will this Eames design do here?

Founder and Artistic Director of the contemporary dance company BalletLab Phillip Adams has charitable aims too. He lives in a house designed in 1959 by Melbourne architect Ernest Fooks. For 20 years Phillip has collected some classic Australian designer furniture fill it. He has enjoyed living with the collection over the years, but it is now time to pass it on for others to appreciate. Phillip loves good design and his long-term goal is to donate his city apartment to the Victorian College Arts as a project hub for design students. It will be an opportunity for them to take a leaf out of the Rosando Brothers’ book and custom design and build all the furnishings for it.

Are homemakers willing to pay good money for our own local design talent? Is Danish furniture falling from favour? Gordon might say that it’s not built as well as his beloved antiques, and is quite bemused by the interest in Ozzie designers. Has he missed something here? The penny might have dropped when he sees that buyers are so willing to part with a lot of very good money for this stylish stuff!

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