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Claude Lalanne’s works have sold for more than $2 million at auction since 2009 – a testament to the rewards for design and designers crossing over into the more lucrative art market. Nonetheless, François-Xavier holds the record for the highest individual price for a work of design by the two of them sold at auction, with Les Autruches, Bar, 1967–70, sold at Sotheby’s Paris on November 21, 2017, for $7,268,314. More recently, Unique Rhinocrétaire sold at Sotheby’s Paris on October 24, 2019, for just under $6 million. This is not the first time that designers and architects have made objects that cross over into the art market — think of Marc Newson, Ron Arad, or Zaha Hadid. In the past, the problem was that what they were making was often not good as furniture, or not good sculpture. “The idea of functionality is up for grabs right now,” says Benda. “Yes, we still need to eat, sit, and sleep, but objects can do lots of things now. There is little interest in art for art’s sake.” The pandemic has, of course, uprooted just about everything in our lives. But it has also created new opportunities. “It’s made us stop and take the time to analyze our business in a deeper way than ever before,” says Cristina Grajales of Cristina Grajales Gallery in New York. Several dealers reported a surge over the past six months in requests for custom design work, site-specific commissions, and private home projects. “A lot of people are at home, and often in second homes that are maybe not as designed as their primary homes, and have decided that they could use new pieces,” says Lewis Wexler from Wexler Gallery in Philadelphia and New York. “People, it seems, are renewing their homes and re-nesting. We’ve been busy as several big commissions have come to fruition.” “The home has become our sanctuary,” says Grajales. “This idea is not new, but a profoundly important consideration during these troubling times.” She describes the present moment as one of a return to humanism, even the idealism of Modernism, with clients now increasingly concerned with what she says is “the impact our work can have on the way we lead our lives”. She adds: “Clients are rethinking their living spaces and want to surround themselves with pieces that are more than just decorative.” Grajales and Wexler seem to be right about that. 2020: It’s Good to be Home is the name of the latest exhibition at Gallery FUMI in London’s Mayfair through December 31. Sam Pratt, along with his colleagues at Gallery FUMI, sees a turn towards meaningful, customized, more socially and environmentally conscious design. “We think that collectors will be looking towards the future and towards the new. They might be more socially conscious, looking for works with the least harm on the environment, or at least made with some thought. We think the unusual, the handmade, colorful, and perhaps even playful works might come into their own. The collectible design

Installation view from 2020: It’s Good To Be Home at Gallery FUMI, Mayfair. Courtesy: Zuketa Ltd

Profile for Sanford L. Smith + Associates

Salon - The Intersection of Art + Design