NEW YORK — There was much to celebrate at the Upper East Side's Mark Hotel last night, as luminaries in the design world gathered to bestow awards on the best of the Pavilion of Art and Design New York. Last night’s long overdue event was the city’s first, as its founders, gallerists Patrick Perrin and Stéphane Custot, have only now achieved their seven-year mission to bring the venerated fair to the city. For designers, exhibitors, and collectors alike, it was an occasion to raise a glass — as was the end of two exhausting days of installation at the Park Avenue Armory, the fair’s coveted venue.
Custot and Perrin were there and in high spirits, as were Loïc Le Gaillard and Julien Lombrail, the brains behind Carpenters Workshop Gallery, a purveyor of irreverent contemporary design in London and Paris. Their booth’s Buffet Nouvelle Zéland (New Zealand, for those of you who don’t speak French) won the evening’s newest prize, a place in the permanent collection of the Museum of Arts & Design. The piece, designed and crafted by Vincent Dubourg in 2009, serves as more of a sculpture than a piece of furniture; the black steel buffet table cut and bent at one end to look frayed as if having just survived a nasty storm — or a hatchet, a signature narrative in his work.
"It's got everything — emotion, beautiful craftsmanship. It's wonderful to see a piece of design can stretch way beyond what one would expect for a piece of furniture," Le Gaillard told ARTINFO. "That's the beauty of our mission, to really push these young guys into the spotlight. It’s a constant battle to show how great all these young artists are."
Best Decorative Piece went to Beth Katleman’s “Folly,” an installation from the Todd Merrill booth (and apparent crowd favorite, as delighted former editor of Architectural Digest France Alexandra D'Arnoux shouted “Bravo!” at the announcement). A subversive, three-dimensional take on traditional toule de jouy wallpaper pattern, it features porcelain-cast found objects arranged in a grim narrative, cast against a deceptively cheerful sky blue background.
Milanese architect Gino Levi Monalcini’s handmade futurist curtains (1932-1934), hailing from the Jesurum company in Venice and brought to New York by Milan’s Galleria Rossella Colombari, were named Best Vintage Piece. Dadaist Kurt Schwitter’s white sculptural “Sword” (1930-1935) from Swiss modern and contemporary masters specialist Galerie Gmurzynska won the title of Best Fine Art Piece. And the title of Best Booth went to the Chahan Gallery. The final award was announced nearly as an afterthought, likely because the Parisian arbiter of 20th-century decorative arts regularly takes the title in London and Paris year after year. "It's a shame," Perrin joked. "I really am fed up with it."
The awards, sponsored by Moët Hennessy, were juried in collaboration with MAD, whose director, Holly Hotchner, selected the shortlist of designs considered for the museum's permanent collection. A diverse jury of notables helmed by writer and collector Adam Lindemann (including Vogue editor Hamish Bowles, decorator Muriel Brandolini, hotelier Andre Balazs, fashion designer Tory Burch, architect Annabelle Selldorf, and our own editorial director Ben Genocchio) selected the winners.
Naturally, with Moët Hennessy serving as proud sponsor of the award, the champagne and cognac were flowing freely. By the time the digestifs were served, Perrin had already taken it upon himself to auction ten intimate minutes with Paul Kasmin — in a ski lift in St. Moritz, no less. The winning bid was a steal at only $30 (starting price at $10), although a ticket to Switzerland was not included.