Michael Maharam on gathering design and style: ‘Buy what you enjoy, don’t overthink’

Michael Maharam’s own style selection goes on sale at Sotheby’s New York (15 Oct 2021), that includes an remarkable and assorted group of unusual objects, including items by Gerrit Rietveld and Donald Judd as very well as present-day patterns by Tokujin Yoshioka and Hella Jongerius

As far as design authorities go, couple can review to Michael Maharam, the tastemaker and previous CEO of Maharam, who ran the family’s textile business with his brother Stephen until finally its sale to Herman Miller in 2013. Remarkably respected as both a collector and a design and style connoisseur, Maharam has parts from his remarkable own selection going on sale at Sotheby’s in New York on 15 Oct 2021. Assembled around the very last 20 several years, his diverse, still thoroughly picked out selection is crammed with covetable treasures that mirror the distinctive visual ethos of Maharam’s corporate office environment and his two, nicely-documented loft residences in Manhattan located adjacently.


‘Design Agenda: The Assortment of Michael Maharam’

Gerrit Rietveld ‘Rood Blauwe’ chair, designed 1918 – 1919, executed early 1920s, commissioned by Mrs Charley Toorop for her dwelling De Vlerken, Bergen, Holland

Comprised of far more than 130 heaps, with an additional 17 a lot supplied exclusively on the web until finally 19 Oct, the sale – titled ‘Design Agenda: The Assortment of Michael Maharam’ – is crammed with rarities, together with one of the most extensive surveys of Gerrit Rietveld chair layouts outside of community establishments. Ranging from masterpieces these kinds of as 1919’s ‘Rood Blauwe stoel’ (‘Red Blue chair’) to the equally iconic ‘Steltman’ chair of 1963, Maharam’s Rietveld collection showcases the enduring versatility and affect of the Dutch designer’s output.

Donald Judd ‘Desk Set No. 33/97’ with two chairs in Douglas fir, designed 1978, executed 2007

Other highlights contain an array of handcrafted midcentury home furnishings from the Danish greats, Finn Juhl, Poul Kjaerholm, Hans Wegner, and heartwarming objects from Carl Auböck and Tapio Wirkkala. 1 outstanding piece is a rare brass desk lamp (1928) by Vilhelm Lauritzen for Louis Poulsen, which features a exceptional purely natural patina. 

It is no shock that modern day style will work also characteristic strongly in the auction. Michael Maharam’s eye for progressive design and style is exemplified by the prolonged-standing interactions he nurtured with designers this sort of as Hella Jongerius, Konstantin Grcic and Paul Smith, who continue to collaborate with company today. It is also apparent in products these types of as Tokujin Yoshioka’s ‘Water Block Bench’ (2002) – a piece making its debut at Sotheby’s Jasper Morrison’s ‘Wingnut’ chair (1985) and Studio Job’s intricate ‘Bavaria’ monitor (2008). 

A Poul Kjaerholm settee (built 1956, executed in advance of 1982, developed by E Kold Christensen, Denmark) subsequent to an Ole Wanscher cupboard (c. 1959), and a ground lamp attributed to Gino Sarfatti (c. 1945 – 1951)

The sheer wonder of viewing such a assortment is equalled only by appreciating and comprehending the degree of ability guiding Mahram’s curatorial eye. He delivers some perception to his accumulating procedure in an interview with artwork and structure consultant Simon Andrews that capabilities in the printed catalogue accompanying the sale. Instead than gather in an orchestrated or very calculated way, Maharam shares simply just, ‘buy what you really like, don’t overthink, say no more routinely than sure and expend agonizing sums when there is something you believe that in and simply cannot live without the need of. Faster or afterwards you will forget the value, but you will normally own the satisfaction.’ §