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Look for Contemporary Fare and Lots of Lighting at Salon Art + Design

Visitors to Salon Art + Design at the Park Avenue Armory in New York later this month will be seeing ever more contemporary decor, furniture, and fine art amid the vintage lamps and furniture. 

One reason is simply that visitors are attracted to things they haven’t seen before, and galleries also want to bring fresh material, says Jill Bokor, the fair’s executive director. 

The shift also reflects how many choose to collect today. “A lot of people who had great vintage pieces would buy one contemporary conversation piece,” Bokor says. “That’s reversed itself.”

Salon Art + Design, a collectible design and art fair produced by Sanford L. Smith + Associates, will feature 52 exhibitors, including several from France and Le Lab Atelier from Egypt, which will be bringing designs from all over the Middle East.

The size of the fair, in its 11th year, is slightly smaller than usual, yet up from 47 exhibitors in 2021 as confusion around pandemic travel restrictions kept some galleries away. The full slate this year includes several installations by single artists or design teams on the main floor of the fair in addition to exhibits that will greet visitors in the historic rooms off the Armory’s entrance hall.

The Armory’s Library room will feature Wilensky Exquisite Mineral Gallery, from Manhattan, which will bring a glittering array of mineral specimens to Salon for the first time. Their offerings will include a precious opal from Ethiopia priced at US$265,000. According to the gallery, the stone includes colors unlike other precious opals from the region, all of which were only discovered in 2008. 

Last year, the fair featured Studio Greytak of Montana, which incorporates stones and minerals in contemporary furniture. 

In the Drill Hall, on the main floor, French architect and decorator Charles Zana will bring his furniture collection of pieces with a “modern mood,” that still are in the French tradition. Klove Studio, a lighting designer founded by Prateek Jam and Gautam Seth in New Delhi, India, will show a collection of lighting that references tribal icons and motifs. “You’ll see these incredible chandeliers,” Bokor says.

In fact, several galleries are bringing lighting, which could reflect demand by buyers in the mood to light up their homes after spending so much time in them during the pandemic, or the fact it’s simply getting darker now day-by-day, she says. 

Also exhibiting is New York-based Gabriel & Guillaume, a collectible design gallery originally founded in Lebanon in 2013 by Nancy Gabriel and Guillaume Excoffier. The gallery offers Brazilian modernist pieces in addition to 20th-century and mid-modern design. 

At Salon, Gabriel & Guillaume will show a Jean Royere “Ecusson” set of one sofa, three armchairs, and a coffee table, for US$850,000, and the “Schlesinger” Chandelier by Elizabeth Garouste and Mattia Bonetti, made from Murano glass and gilded-wrought iron, for US$85,000. The unique piece was made for the house of Nicola Jacobs Schlesinger, Dawson Place, in London. 

Jewelry also will make an appearance at the fair this year in three design exhibitions. London-based Didier Ltd. will show its jewelry made and designed by artists from the late 19th century to the end of the 20th century. According to its website, the jewels “may be regarded as wearable sculptures,” and were often made by the artists for family and friends. 

Also exhibiting will be another London jeweler, Lauren Adriana, who makes only 40 of her bold graphic jewels a year, and Yvel, an Israeli luxury jeweler founded by Orna and Isaac Levy.  

While jewelry often attracts buyers, the bulk of the fair includes immersive booths filled with furniture, lighting, ceramics, and fine art—the items people put in their homes. The numerous French galleries that are attending will be bringing a lot of elegant, contemporary material, including Armel Soyer, Galerie Carole Decombe and Galerie Yves Gastou, all new to Salon this year. 

One striking item that would require a rather large home is a 22-foot sculpture in colorful powder-coated steel by Romanian-born New York artist Serban Ionescu, which is being brought by New York gallery R + Company. “He’s known for whimsical, very amusing pieces.” 

Salon Art + Design opens Thursday, Nov., 10 with a preview to benefit the Dia Art Foundation at 4 p.m and a VIP preview at 5 p.m. before opening to the public at 7 p.m. It runs through Monday, Nov. 14. 

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