BEN SWILDENS (B. 1938)
BEN SWILDENS (B. 1938)
BEN SWILDENS (B. 1938)
BEN SWILDENS (B. 1938)
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Please note that at our discretion some lots may b… Read more
BEN SWILDENS (B. 1938)

A Rare Cantilever Desk and Seat

Details
BEN SWILDENS (B. 1938)
A Rare Cantilever Desk and Seat
commissioned by Max Ingrand Studio and produced by Croiseau, France, the desk surface with two hinged compartments
brushed stainless steel
33 ½ x 58 x 71 in. (85 x 147 x 180 cm.)
Executed 1966. From the production of 3 desks.
Provenance
Peugeot, Avenue de la Grande-Armée, Paris.
Nils Kampmann, Brussels.
Galerie Patrick Seguin, Paris.
Sotheby's, New York, June 2006, lot 146.
Sebastian+Barquet, London.
Private Collection, acquired from the above by the present owner, 2012.
Literature
P.E. Martin-Vivier, Max Ingrand, Du verre et de la lumière, Paris, 2009, pp. 14, 172 for an image of the desks in situ, p. 173.
Special notice

Please note that at our discretion some lots may be moved immediately after the sale to our storage facility at Momart Logistics Warehouse: Units 9-12, E10 Enterprise Park, Argall Way, Leyton, London E10 7DQ. At King Street lots are available for collection on any weekday, 9.00 am to 4.30 pm. Collection from Momart is strictly by appointment only. We advise that you inform the sale administrator at least 48 hours in advance of collection so that they can arrange with Momart. However, if you need to contact Momart directly: Tel: +44 (0)20 7426 3000 email: pcandauctionteam@momart.co.uk.

Brought to you by

Jeremy Morrison
Jeremy Morrison

Lot Essay

he present desk is one of only three examples, made specifically for the 1966 avant-garde Peugeot showroom on Avenue de la Grande Armée, Paris. Part of a sophisticated and bold architectural project by Louis Sainsaulieu, the interior decoration of the showroom was entrusted to the capable hands of the noted French master glassworker and designer Max Ingrand. As a result of his long focus and exploration into the possibilities of the material, Ingrand skilfully integrated a considerable number of glass walls into the interior which dominated the aesthetic of the sweeping 45,000 square metres showroom and which gave it its futuristic atmosphere. In line with this approach, the spectacular staircase at one end of the two-storey exhibition space was entirely supported by glass walls and therefore seemed to float and flow in mid-air, making it one of the most compelling and innovative elements of the project. However the most iconic feature of the interior were the three desks placed at the entrance, designed for the exclusive use of three receptionists assigned to the task of welcoming visitors, one of which is seen here.

This impressive desk was a creation by Ben Swildens, a designer whom Ingrand had met at the École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs and with whom Ingrand had collaborated since 1962. All parts of this unique design were achieved by shaping a bespoke, long, thick volume, voluptuously curved to form a flat upper surface, base and integrated seat. Swilden’s preference for stainless steel as the medium was guided by the overall austerity of Ingrand’s stylistic choices, such as the pure white Carrara marble floor, large-scale architectural features and glass walls; ‘it corresponded with the general spirit’. In Swildens’s opinion, for the creation of a desk destined for the aethereal context of this automobile showroom, metal was undeniably the most suitable of materials.

Although of apparent simplicity, the desk presents rather complex adjustments in its volume along the form, with several transitions in thickness, shape, curve and width, to efficiently adapt to the scope of each part. The strong contrast between the soft curves and the sharp edges of the desk are highlighted even further by its reflective finish, conferring on this design a unique and highly distinctive character.

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