If I see a piece of old pottery, I don’t want to possess its form but to imagine that special moment when a man used it in the past. It’s no longer the moment we use it in now; it’s what I’d dare to call a moment of perplexity. We may have lost forever this sense of discovery, of innocent perplexity, that adult eyes can no longer see.
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.
Ettore Sottsass 1917–2007
Ettore Sottsass is one of the most significant designers and architects of the late 20th Century, his bold and colorful, Post Modern aesthetic enlivening objects, furniture and interiors and influencing design around the world. Born in Innsbruck, Austria in 1917, Sottsass and his family moved to Turin, Italy in 1929 so he could study architecture at the Politecnico di Turino. He graduated with a degree in architecture in 1939 but he was called to serve the Italian army during World War II and he spent most of the war in a concentration camp. Upon his return in 1945, he worked for his father, Ettore Sottsass senior, an architect practicing in Turin, before relocating to Milan to curate a craft exhibition at the 1946 Triennale.
In Milan, Sottsass began writing for the art and architectural magazine, Domus. It was also here in Milan that Sottsass founded his own architectural and industrial design practice establishing a name for himself by the end of the 1950s with the design of fashionable office equipment for Olivetti. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Sottsass created radical and experimental designs for forward thinking companies like Poltronova. Sottsass’ exploration of a new visual language included collaborating with artists such as Alessandro Mendini and Andrea Branzi and culminated in the formation of the radical design collective, Memphis whose work was widely accepted and shown all over the world.
Notable architectural projects by Sottsass include the interiors of a chain of stores for Esprit (1985) and the Malpensa airport near Milan (2000). He received many awards and honors throughout his lifetime and his work has been the subject of numerous international publications and exhibitions including a recent retrospective at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Designs by Sottsass can be found in the permanent collections of many museums including the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Auction Results Ettore Sottsass
Cabinet no. 69
Rare floor lamp, model 12731
Omaggio 4 desk
Essetre shelving from the Mobili Grigi series
Bookshelf No. 31
Lotorosso dining table
Rare Vaso Tornito
Harlow dining chairs, set of six
Stand No. 6
chalice, model 388
In Praise of Epicurus