Everything is going from heavy to light, from the gross to the subtle, from the colorless to the colorful...from the fragmentary to the unitary, from the complicated to the linear. Anyone going in the opposite direction is in error.
Champion 100 celebrates the collecting philosophy of George Champion. With more than 25 years in the field, Champion has cultivated a reputation for assembling works across a broad range of styles and movements. He explains: “I collect what I like—as long as it’s good design.”
From the very beginning, George was focused on finding the best examples of any given design. His father, who worked in manufacturing and industrial design, instilled in George a robust appreciation for precision, quality and innovation at an early age.
His first foray into the world of collecting was with Shaker furniture. Drawn to the clean, unadorned lines and practicality of Shaker style, it was only natural that George soon transitioned to collecting midcentury modern works, endeavoring to find the most original or iconic representations of a form be it Mies van der Rohe’s white leather Barcelona chairs for Knoll or 50th Anniversary, rosewood LCWs by Charles and Ray Eames.
His passion for design extends well beyond the historical to the contemporary, rare and unusual. Since the 1980s, George has traveled each year to Milan to attend the Salone de Mobile and satellite fairs to view present day design innovations. He fervently follows the production of Cappellini because he believes Giulio Cappellini has been the most receptive to providing opportunities to new, up-and-coming designers. It is from the Cappellini Showroom in New York, "where the company sends its best stuff", that George has acquired many original and exceptional designs including Oki Sato’s (nendo) Tent desk.
Finally, George is also interested in the designers themselves and he has met many of the designers whose works he collects. From asking Ettore Sottsass, Keith Haring, or Philippe Starck to sign works within his collection, to purchasing works from Gaetano Pesce directly, George is wholly invested in the world of design. Design is his passion, his interest and his livelihood.
Champion 100 is the first in a series of auctions in which Wright collaborates with a collector to present a curated selection of 100 works from their personal collection highlighting their design philosophy. George Champion is a collector and dealer located in Woodbury, Connecticut.
Gio Ponti 1891–1979
Gio Ponti excelled at painting as a child and expressed a fervent interest in the arts. Feeling that a career in architecture was preferable to that of a painter, Ponti’s parents encouraged him to pursue the former and in 1914 he enrolled at the Faculty of Architecture at the Politecnico di Milano. His studies were interrupted by war, and in 1915 he was forced to postpone his education. He served as a captain in the Pontonier Corps until 1919, earning multiple military honors. After graduating in 1921, Ponti married Giulia Vimercati, the daughter of local aristocracy and started an architecture firm. During this time, Ponti aligned himself with the neoclassical movement, Novecento and championed a revival of the arts and culture. In 1928, Ponti founded Domus, a periodical tailored to artists and designers, as well as the broader public. A shift occurred in the 1930s when Ponti took up a teaching post at his alma mater, the Politecnico di Milano. In search of new methods to express Italian modernity, Ponti distanced himself from the sentiments of Novecento and sought to reconcile art and industry. Together with the engineers, Eugenio Soncini and Antonio Fornaroli, Ponti enjoyed great success in the industrial sector, securing various commissions throughout Italy. In the 1950s, he gained international fame with the design of the Pirelli Tower in Milan and he was asked to be a part of the urban renewal of Baghdad, collaborating with top architects from around the world. His 1957 book, Amate l’architettura, is considered to be a microcosm of his work —an incredible legacy spanning art, architecture, industrial design, publishing and academia.
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