'The Impossible Collection of Design' Is An Art Lover's Staple
This feature is in the December '22 "The Creators" Issue. Click here to subscribe.
Max Ingrand (1908–69), France. Tenaille (Pincer) lamp-sculpture in nibble-edged glass, bronze and black-finished wood. Galerie Jacques Lacoste, Paris. PHOTO COURTESY OF ASSOULINE
Is design art? The Impossible Collection of Design (Assouline), compiled by design expert Frédéric Chambre, seeks to answer this question through offering a comprehensive history of decorative furniture trends and styles throughout the 20th century.
In following the evolution of furniture design from the art nouveau movement to art deco to the pop art style to the current digital age, The Impossible Collection of Design provides an art historical perspective on decorative furnishing trends.
Finn Juhl (1912–89), Denmark. Chieftain armchair in teak and leather. Manufactured by cabinetmaker Niels Vodder, Denmark, underside branded “Cabinetmaker Niels Vodder Copenhagen Denmark Design Finn Juhl.” Private collection cover of The Impossible Collection of Design. PHOTO COURTESY OF ASSOULINE
The book focuses on a selection of “the 100 most influential objects of the 20th century”; standout pieces include designs by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Frank Lloyd Wright, George Nakashima and Antoni Gaudí, among many others. The themes of art, craft and luxury converge in this collection to create a thorough characterization of what “design” signifies to the modern eye.
cover of The Impossible Collection of Design. PHOTO COURTESY OF ASSOULINE
In constructing this selection of pieces, Chambre reveals how these decorative movements changed how we think about the objects surrounding us. Chambre’s expert knowledge of art history and extensive experience in the prestigious Paris auction world weave a tantalizing story of the decorative arts that spans decades and stylistic revolutions.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ASSOULINE
Carlo Bugatti (1856–1940), Italy. Chair in wood sheathed with parchment, painted and gilded highlights, and stamped copper. Musée d’Orsay, Paris. PHOTO COURTESY OF ASSOULINE
This perspective redefines the relationship between humans and design; the book elevates the notion of the everyday object to a piece of fine art. Not only is this limited-edition book a must-have for design lovers, art history connoisseurs and appreciators of luxury taste, but with its handbound pages and linen clamshell case, The Impossible Collection of Design is a piece of artisan design itself.