At PAD, modern design shows itself in good shape

The PAD art and design fair returned to Paris from April 5 to 10 for its 24th edition after missing two editions due to the pandemic. The excitement of being present again could be read on the faces – without a mask, as the mask duty indoors in Paris has already been lifted – on the visitors, who from the morning filled the corridors of the fair. True to tradition, the first day was dedicated to the 2,200 guests at HSBC, sponsoring the fair since 2007. Although they are not collectors, they are an audience of potential customers, in fact, some sales have already been registered on that occasion.
The number of transactions increased the following day, dedicated to 4,300 VIPs, also thanks to the approximately 25 architects and designers invited to the fair’s award jury.

The stand for the gallery Desprez Bréhéret, which received the award for the best stand, on loan from PAD Paris

The prize for the best stand was awarded to the gallery Desprez Bréhéret, which presented some pieces of Jean Toureta sculptor as well as a designer who worked in the 1950s at the same time as Jean Prouvé And Charlotte Perriand but instead of collaborating with the industry, he produced everything by hand with a rustic and spiritual style at the same time. Today it represents a rediscovery: at auction it does not exceed 20,000 euros, but the top prices have all been marked between last year and this year, a sign of attention to it.

The Studio Mumbai chair, which received the award for the best piece of modern design on the stand at the Belgian gallery Maniera, courtesy of PAD Paris

The prize for the best piece of modern design, on the other hand, went to the Belgian gallery Maniera for a chair by Studio Mumbai, a very successful studio founded by Bijoy Jain in 2005, while for historic design it went to the gallery Alexandre Guillemain after a lamp in the time belonging to the Francis W. Little House villa in Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Frank Lloyd Wright lamp from the Francis W. Little House villa, which won the recognition for historic design on the stand of the Alexandre Guillemain Gallery, with permission from PAD Paris


In total, visitors were 39,113, with a total collection of 57,000 euros tickets sold online. The prices of the design objects offered at the fair ranged from 5,000 to 200,000 euros. Many galleries have sold more than half of their stands. “The market for collectibles is in good shape, it has never been so healthy,” said the director of the fair Patrick Perrin. “Particularly strong at the moment is the modern segment, which has reached its maturity. The overly pressured phase of artistic design seems to have been overcome in favor of a design that is creative but also functional. The pieces are sophisticated without being luxurious in a superficial way. Above all, there is a great deal of attention paid to sustainability: we are looking for materials that last over time, plastic is a thing of the past. Collectors, especially after the pandemic, are less interested in fashion and more in design ”.

The stand at the Rossella Colombari Gallery at the PAD Paris Fair, courtesy of Rossella Colombari


Among the 69 exhibitors from 13 international countries was Milan’s gallery Rossella Colombari with a stand full of surprises. “I would go beyond the usual names like Gio Ponti And Carlo Mollino“Said Rossella Colombari,” to focus on names to be reconsidered, such as Pierluigi Giordani, Melchiorre Bega, Augusto Bozzi, Carlo Hauner, Silvio CoppolaOf the latter, there was a “Quinta” for Artemide from the 70s worth 5,500 euros. “Auctions usually confirm my research work”. The gallery owner had been missing at the fair for a few years after exhibiting in Paris from 2006 to 2014. “At one time there was one too decorative operation, which did not coincide with my minimalist taste,” he explained, “but with Brexit Paris is again the center of art. In Italy, the system is too fragmented; here, on the other hand, there is a propulsion machine that manages to make itself heard internationally ”. The architect Achille Salvagni instead, he was present with a studio in Rome and a gallery in London with some of his objects, such as a € 90,000 bronze and onyx chandelier, along with historical pieces, such as a cabinet by Gio Ponti and Fornasetti of which there is only one other edition in the V&A collection (€ 700,000). A gallery will soon open in New York as well. The Milanese designer Gianluca Pacchioni it was exhibited at the Negroponte stand, also with objects in onyx and bronze, reminiscent of those currently on display at a solo exhibition in a gallery in Paris (20-100,000 euros). Galerie Italienne, located in Paris in front of the Pinault Museum in the Bourse de Commerce, has set up a stand with ceramic objects curated by Raphaella Riboud Seydoux And Florian Daguet Bresson which has had great success, in the wake of the strong interest that this medium is experiencing in both the design and art worlds. There were objects from artists and designers like Alex Zablocki, Superpoly, Kyle Johns, Anton Alvarez with prices between 3-6,000 euros for young people and 10-15,000 euros for midcareers and sales, even here, have been satisfactory.

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