Carlo Mollino - Design London Wednesday, April 26, 2023 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Marquis Vladi Orengo, Turin, circa 1949
    Acquired from the above
    Phillips, London, 'Design', September 26 2013, lot 147
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    'Casa verso la collina', Domus, no. 265, December 1951, pp. 16-22 for images of the commission
    'The baroque spirit in a modern house', Interiors, no. 112, December 1952, pp. 88-91 for images of the commission
    Fulvio Ferrari and Napoleone Ferrari, The Furniture of Carlo Mollino, New York, 2006, illustrated pp. 194, 225

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present lot is registered in the library of the Museo Casa Mollino, Turin, as number CM 400.

  • 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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Unique pair of wall-mounted bedside tables from Casa Orengo, Turin

circa 1949
Maple, glass, painted steel, brass.
Each: 12.7 x 48.3 x 35.6 cm (5 x 19 x 14 in.)
Executed by Apelli & Varesio, Turin, Italy. One glass shelf acid-etched VITREX.

£50,000 - 70,000 

Sold for £60,960

Contact Specialist

Antonia King
Head of Sale, Design
+44 20 7901 7944


London Auction 26 April 2023