Carlo Mollino - Design New York Tuesday, June 6, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Fulvio Ferrari, Turin
    Acquired from the above, circa 2000

  • Literature

    Fulvio Ferrari, Carlo Mollino Cronaca, Turin, 1985, p. 138
    Giovanni Brino, Carlo Mollino: Architettura Come Autobiografia, Milan, 1985, p. 115
    Rossella Colombari, Carlo Mollino Catalogo Del Mobili – Furniture Catalogue, Milan, 2005, p. 54 for an image and a technical drawing
    Fulvio Ferrari and Napoleone Ferrari, The Furniture of Carlo Mollino, New York, 2006, pp. 207, 230
    Fulvio Ferrari and Napoleone Ferrari, eds., Carlo Mollino Arabesques, exh. cat., Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Milan, 2007, p. 107
    Napoleone Ferrari, Mollino. Casa del Sole, Turin, 2007, pp. 77, 86-89, 91

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present lot is registered in the library of the Museo Casa Mollino, Turin, as numbers CM 434-3 and CM 434-4.

    Phillips would like to thank Fulvio Ferrari and Napoleone Ferrari from the Museo Casa Mollino for their assistance cataloguing the present lot.

    Casa del Sole
    By Fulvio Ferrari and Napoleone Ferrari

    The project for “Casa del Sole” originated in 1948 in Cervinia, at the border of Switzerland in the Alps, in a country made poor by war yet ready to boom. It was a resort for skiers’ weekends, an idea anticipating what is today considered the most efficient solution for winter sport: a condominium made of small rational apartments. The original project included a bar and restaurant, food shop, ballroom, laundry, and storage. After designing the building and its interior Carlo Mollino was asked in 1953 to design furniture to make the apartments more complete, including the present set of beds.

    The project is among the most Modernist of Mollino. The mountain environment and the purpose of the building, which is sport, led him to focus on straight engineering matters. The bed is made of rectangular section wooden laths. The sides of the bed are thicker where they join the legs. The beds can be used singularly but are equipped with ski-like brass fasteners that can be easily used to superimpose one bed onto the other.

    The structure of the beds ideally and visually are a continuation of the lines of the façade of the “Casa del Sole” building, which in turn was inspired by the traditional wooden mountain houses of that valley.
    The beds were made complete by a coat hanger that can be placed on both ends, a little table with a Formica top, which can be folded to save space, and a bedside table with a drawer which pivots open so that a person lying in bed can easily use it.

    The wood was partially darkened, partially left natural in order to create contrast, the plastic laminated to give a sense of Modernism and all the metal details are in brilliant polished brass giving to the furniture an elegant and technical quality.

  • Artist Biography

    Carlo Mollino

    Italian • 1905 - 1973

    Carlo Mollino made sexy furniture. His style may have grown out of the whiplash curves of Art Nouveau, but the sinuous lines of his furniture were more humanoid than vegetal, evoking arched backs and other body parts. Mollino was also an avid aviator, skier and racecar driver — he designed his own car for Le Mans. His love of speed and danger comes across in his designs, which MoMA curator Paola Antonelli has described as having "frisson."

    Mollino had no interest in industrial design and the attendant constraints of material costs and packaging. His independent wealth allowed him to pick and choose projects, resulting in an oeuvre of unique, often site-specific works that were mostly executed by the Turin joinery firm Apelli & Varesio. Apart from a coffee table that he designed in 1950 for the American company Singer & Sons, his furniture never went into production. Notwithstanding the support of Gio Ponti, Mollino's design contemporaries largely dismissed him as an eccentric outsider. However, the combination of scarcity (Mollino only made several hundred works in his lifetime), exquisite craftsmanship and idiosyncratic "frisson" has rightly placed Carlo Mollino in the highest tier of twentieth-century design collecting.

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Property from a Private Collection, New York


Set of two bunk beds, from Casa del Sole, Cervinia

circa 1953
Oak, Formica-covered oak, brass.
As shown: 80 1/2 x 81 3/4 x 61 1/2 in. (204.5 x 207.6 x 156.2 cm)
Executed by Ettore Canali, Brescia, Italy.

$30,000 - 40,000 

Sold for $62,500

Contact Specialist
Cordelia Lembo
Specialist, Head of Sale
+1 212 940 1265


New York Auction 6 June 2017