Pavilion of Art & Design London 2010
After the flood of new products during London Design Festival and now the frenzied onset of Frieze, the Pavilion of Art & Design comes as a welcome relief. The hushed aisles of its Berkeley Square tent invite you to take a step back, this time placing the focus on the rare, the limited edition and the one off. There’s no onslaught of newness here - while much is contemporary, the show reaches as far back as 1860 - and each item is given ample space to be admired.
’To us, the concept is about living with art,’ says Mathias Rastorfer of Zurich’s Galerie Gmurzynska, a newcomer to PAD. ’It’s about showing how it works in a living environment.’ Here you can pair your Picasso with a chair by François-Xavier Lalanne or choose a Nigel Coates table to go beside your Candida Höfer photograph. And gone are the utilitarian trade fair stands. Gmurzynska lures viewers with a striking black and white wall graphic - a new take on that seen in its recent Zaha Hadid and Supremetism exhibition, courtesy of the artist herself.
Given that PAD was founded by two Frenchmen, its not surprising that there’s a strong Parisian presence, with stalwarts like Perimeter Art & Design, Galerie du Passage and Galerie Downtown-François Laffanour returning once more, but the exhibitors come from far and wide. Also new this year is Cologne-based Gabrielle Ammann, who has brought with her an interesting collection of curvaceous pieces by Satyendra Pakhalé, as well as classic works by Mark Newson and Rolf Sachs. And there’s a strong New York offering, thanks to the likes of Cristina Grajales and Friedman Benda. Stretched across the latter’s stand is an Ai Weiwei sculpture, titled ’Map of China’, made from wood salvaged from a Buddhist temple. It’s a strikingly raw and linear piece, with ends satisfyingly shaped like its namesake.
On a dramatically more delicate scale, however, are the chandeliers of dutch duo Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta for Carpenters Workshop Gallery. Their ’Fragile Future Concrete’ chandelier is a pleasing mix of opposites - LEDS decorated in dandelion seeds emit a soft, warm glow, suspended on copper wire that emerges from a concrete core. This scooped them the Moët-Hennessy-PAD London prize, judged by the likes of Tom Dixon and Zaha Hadid.
Though the show sometimes feels like it spreads itself a little thin - there’s even jewellery and a token student offering from RCA graduates - it makes for a rich and enjoyable exhibition, despite the less pleasurable price tags.