From Stanley Kubrick to James Bond – Quittenbaum to auction cinematic design classics
After WWII, actors, directors and producers often sought to represent the latest furniture designers in their films. Classics from the 1960s such as ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ and ‘James Bond – You Only Live Twice’ not only wrote film history for their avant-garde interiors, but also served to inspire generations of interior designers and architects. And there are many more staples of design in other less well-known productions, from the likes of Woody Allen, Jacques Tati and Louis de Funès.
The curators of Quittenbaum’s latest sale – named ‘Design meets Movie’ and taking place on 23 February in Munich – must have spent many a night in watching films, as almost all the 133 lots on offer represent items that have starred on the silver screen in some capacity. There’s office furniture from Charles Eames, George Nelson, Arne Jacobsen, Louis Kalff and Finn Juhl, around which Don Draper from ‘Mad Men’ would feel at home, assuming there's a well-stocked bar and a large ashtray on hand. The ‘Bulb’ table lamp by Ingo Maurer once starred on the set of ‘La Piscine’, and those familiar with ‘Emmanuelle’ will recognise the Italian high-back caned chair.
Those who’ve dreamt of setting up a James Bond villain’s lair will find many items appealing – take the armchair by Paul Conti in which Ernst Stavro Blofeld once sought world domination, or Roger Tallon’s multi-standard TV as seen in ‘Moonraker’. There are tables and plastic chairs by Eero Saarinen from aboard the space laboratory in ‘Space Patrol’, and Olivier Mourgue’s organic synthetic leather chairs and sofas as seen in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. The ‘Ovalia’ chair by Henrik Thor-Larsen made a return in the 1997 blockbuster ‘Men in Black’, when Will Smith’s character simply could not get used to the seat’s peculiar design.
Many of the pre-sale estimates for these lots are quite moderate, with some items on the day expected to change hands for as little as a few hundred euros.