Complete Lot Details

Soviet Pavilion at the World's Fair, Paris, 1937.

Palace of the Soviets, Moscow, 1931-1936.

Larkin Company Administration Building, Buffalo, New York, 1903.

Newton's Cenotaph, France, 1784.

Crystal Palace, France, 1784.

Trylon & Perisphere, World's Fair, New York, 1937-1939.

The Lenin Tribute, Russia, 1920-1924.

Chicago Tribune Column, Chicago, 1922.

Ziggurat, Ur, Mesopotamia, 2100 BC.

Singer Tower, New York, 1908.

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Missing Monuments

Excerpt from Keepsakes: A Design Memoir by Constantin Boym, 2015

Missing Monuments are the miniatures of the famous buildings that do not exist. They may have been destroyed, or have never even been built, like visionary architecture that leaves a profound influence on culture of its time. When a souvenir’s referent does not exist, a miniature replica assumes a different meaning. The object becomes an indispensable thing, the only material manifestation of a grand building project. 

The great monuments, when reduced to toy size, provide an irresistible appeal of lay things without losing the power of their architectural essence.

An entire alternative history of architecture could be seen through the prism of this collection: from the ruined seven World’s Wonders, to utopian projects of the Russian avant-garde, to lost pavilions of the international fairs. My love of architectural history found its outlet in the process of researching and selecting potential candidates for the miniatures.

The idea of the miniature, like that of the map, allows for a space of imagination. Curator Larry Abramson writes how experience of the model has “an enchanted dimension that is both entertaining and magical”. The great monuments, when reduced to toy size, provide an irresistible appeal of lay things without losing the power of their architectural essence. Collecting the miniatures becomes something that combines creative act and playing; the collection gives us a chance to feel like children again, even if for a moment.

I have been trying to prove that these are objects of design, not art. Of course, the function of souvenir objects is “fuzzy”: they fulfill a need that is elusive and immaterial.

Constantin Boym

Constantin Boym b. 1955

Constantin Boym was born in Moscow, Russia in 1955. He graduated from Moscow Architectural Institute before attending the Domus Academy in Milan where he earned his Master’s Degree in Design in 1985. The following year Boym founded Boym Partners Inc in New York. From 1987 to 2000, Boym was a teacher and program coordinator for Parsons School of Design, New York and in 2010 he became Professor and Director of Graduate Design Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar.

Boym Partners has designed products for Alessi, Swatch and Flos as well as showrooms for Vitra and exhibition displays for museums. Their works have won numerous awards including the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in 2009, eight Annual Design Awards from ID Magazine and two Federal Design Achievement Awards. Boym has been the subject of two retrospectives and two books. Objects designed by Boym Partners can be found in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Auction Results Constantin Boym