Art Market Blog – Investing in Craft and Design
When people talk about art they are usually referring to painting, drawing or sculpture but there are plenty of other forms of art that you may not have thought of as being a desirable or collectible object. The sort of artistic objects that I am referring to come under the broad heading of craft and design and encompass things such as jewelery, ceramics, fashion, furniture, home wares etc. One of the defining features of the these type of artworks is that they are functional as well as being artistic which is a concept that many people seem to struggle with. There seems to be a that an object can either be artistic or functional but not both which seems to me to be a rather narrow minded train of thought when in fact objects that are both artistic and functional represent excellent investment potential and value for money. With limited edition furniture and design objects you are usually paying for the very best materials and construction techniques which means that the value of the piece is not as reliant on the aesthetic attributes as it would be for say a painting thus giving the object a potentially more stable and retainable value.
A particularly interesting new website is 66degrees.com that sells limited edition objects of which no more than 66 are made and all of which are made to order. According to the website their “first objective is to present a continuous stream of unique and exclusive, stop-in-your-tracks products from established – or up-and-coming – artists and designers from around the world”. The objects on offer range from jewellery to musical instruments that incorporate the highest quality materials and craftsmanship. I particularly like the Cracked Ice II ring by Niki Kavakonis which delves into the elements of the Canadian arctic. A minimalist design, the mirror-like face of a great sheet of ice displays a crack down the middle, revealing the ‘gleam’ within. The sides of the ring are treated with a brushed finish, giving the piece a slight industrial feel.
Limited edition furniture is a particularly exciting area of the market that has seen a major spike in prices in recent times particularly for the iconic designers of the 20th century. In October 2006 a Marc Newson “Lockheed Lounge” sold for 748,500 pounds at auction setting the world auction record for a living designer. Famous names like Marc Newson and Charles Eames may be out of most people’s price range but there are plenty of fantastic lesser know designers that are producing amazing objects well worth investing in. Take for example the Inter – B – Lock Arm chair Kit (pictured above) by Julienne Dolphin Wilding which is made of salvaged English Yew Tree interlocking bricks that fit together like lego. Only five chairs were made and can be bought for 2310 pounds from the Bouf website which can be found here
So next time you want to buy a new leather lounge consider buying a limited edition piece of furniture instead, you won’t be disappointed.
PS: You should also check out the website http://www.etsy.com for fantastic craft objects
**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.