26th Biennale des Antiquaires, by Karl Lagerfeld
Paris is fulfilled with interior design initiatives. But if you think that we are talking about Maison et Objet and Paris Design Week “seulement” you’re wrong. Indeed, the city of Light extends its design festivities since the beginning of the month until its ending, yelling design all over the Parisian streets. A confirmation of that was the opening of the 26th Biennale des Antiquaires at the Grand Palais, which was a success.
This year, Karl Lagerfeld had the following challenge: to reinvent the layout of the Biennale. However, what we witnessed was a mix of purity and softness very distinct from the usual exotic style that Lagarfeld as made his in the past years. As a matter of fact, Paris was conceived as a sort of whitewashed ideal city, but in a Biedermeier proportion. Looking back to the initiative, the wares on offer, proposed by over 150 participating galleries, were definitely much more than the expected: paintings; fine china; 18th-century ladies’ revolvers; medieval armor; and exceptional antique furniture.
One of the most stunning pieces was a 1680 desk made by Louis XIV’s cabinetmaker, Pierre Gole, for sale for 1.2 million euros (about $1.5 million) at Didier Aaron & Cie. Makers of haute joaillerie, like Boucheron, Cartier, Chanel, Chaumet, Dior, Harry Winston, Piaget, and Van Cleef & Arpels, had a major presence as well, and pulled out all the sparkly stops. Bulgari, however, seemed to outshine the competition, judging by the numbers of people waiting in line to catch a glimpse of some of Elizabeth Taylor’s most jaw-dropping gems at the company’s booth.
Those who admire contemporary items, don’t be upset: Gallerie DownTown recreated a private Montmartre home that Charlotte Perriand decorated between 1959 and 1970, while Vallois mixed and matched some beautiful pieces by Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann and Jean Michel Frank with more industrial-looking pieces by Eileen Gray.
Even more contemporary were the pieces on display at Carpenter’s workshop, including new work by Wendell Castle, Ingrid Donat and some key pieces by the favorite artist of collectors, Marc Newson. Also, L&M Arts showed a collection of bronze and leather “boxes” — cabinets, really — made by the architect Peter Marino.
Biennale des Antiquaires proves, once more, that has all the qualities for an unavoidable spectacle of design, jewellery and luxury.