Monday, May 10, 2010


Five glorious days off and no travel plans in sight. But why should that stop us from exploring the globe design-wise? So we've decided to blog where we wish we could dash off to—that is, if our very dashing Charlie were not obliged to stay in town this week. Here's choice #1, day #1:Nine magnificent gardens in the Cotswold Hills of Gloucestershire, where the partial ruins of Sudeley Castle will form a visionary backdrop for probably the best-ever selection of contemporary design pieces to be exhibited outdoors. Organized by Sotheby's and Carpenters Workshop Gallery, the exhibit is, of course, for selling (May 28-Aug 1). And that includes the Spaghetti Corten bench in corten steel and teak by Pablo Reinoso, above, as well as the lacelike Bon Bon Gold chair by Marcel Wanders, below.

A favorite of ours and very much a pioneer in the "design as art movement," we first fell for CarpentersWorkshop on seeing the limited edition furniture pieces of Sebastian Brajkovic.
Combining lathe-turned bronze or aluminum with exquisitely embroidered fabrics, his work
stretches today's fantasies of genteel, 18th Century Rococo.

With work of this quality, what could we expect to see outdoors? Rumor is this show will include a never-before-
seen piece by Brajkovic entitled Lathe X. I'm holding out for Marc Quinn's Mountain armchair and Lake table, an edition of 20 carved of pure white Carrera marble.

Other artists and designers (what is the difference in this case?) to watch out for include Lionel Scoccimaro, Wendell Castle, Robert Stadler, Vincent Dubourg, Jurgen Bey and Ingrid Donat.

Precedents for a show of this kind are the Beyond Limits modern sculpture exhibits at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, now in their fifth year. But can even the whispy, magical floating cities of Tomás Saraceno compete with Sudeley's history as the home of Katherine Parr, the only wife to evade the blade of Henry VIII? Who let everyone know of her own true love (Thomas Seymour) and managed to marry him once Henry's gout did him in? Let others dream of bigger things, the reluctant queen might say. Unlike the monumental works at Chatsworth, these pieces are in perfect scale for home collectors.
So walk up close. Like Donat's simple-from-a-distance console table, craftsmanship of this level excels in detail.

Okay, where's our ticket?


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