On The Square

No Reservations: A Date with Modern Design

By Jessica Helen Weinberg

Mar 26,2017 | 14:00 EDT

Turn the dial on your transistor radio, break out the Brillo and tighten the knot on your kimono; we haven't got any dinner reservations and spring is officially upon us. Time to give the house a thorough cleaning; the danish desk is dusty, the Blenko could use some brightening and that shag rug is looking scuzzy. Shake up a cocktail and get started on making your modern design dazzle!

Rago Auctions will present their Unreserved Session 1 and Unreserved Session 2 sales on April 7th and April 8th - taking into account that there will be no reserves or "safety nets" on how low these items can sell for, we advise you start practicing your mouse clicking agility to "Bid Now." Don't have enough room for ridiculously affordable vintage decor? You could start by throwing out your bed; it's boring anyway (we've seriously considered it) These selections ought to give you a head start in imagining a room full of modern designs to polish and pine over. 

Lot 701, Florence Knoll; Knoll Associates, Three-seat sofa, New York, 1960s; Starting $750.00

Fluff these pillows like you mean it, in the name of Mrs. Florence Knoll herself! With a background in architecture and a knack for modern ideals of efficiency, Florence Knoll, the wife and creative counterpart of Hans Knoll, embodied the once emerging furniture companies signature look; proportion, simplicity and  sustainability. With a starting price of only $750.00 one could start planning their entire living room around this versatile classic. 

Lot 596, Wayne Husted; Blenko Glass, Four Tangerine and Amberina Pieces, Milton, WV; Starting $300.00

Blown all the way to the top of American glass design is the Blenko Glass Company, with the help of Wayne Husteds talented touch. This grouping of two-toned, tangerine colored sculptures would play well in any neutral space- for maximum effect, place these handsomely grooved sculptures by a window and get ready for a popsicle orange projection of light on the surrounding walls. 

Lot 637, Rya, Room-sized area rug with linked-hearts biomorphic decoration on aubergine ground, Wool, Finland, 1960s; Starting $200.00

By the time youve reached your "rya" or Scandinavian for "rug," your house-cleaning dance moves might have run out of gas but low and behold, this 1960s shag has laid out a heart shaped track to follow (the vacuum chord can wiggle close behind). Although, the technique of forming a double sided "ghiordes knot" can be dated back to the 15th Century in Norway, it wasnt until the 1970s that it became an official trend in the United States. Apparently, the "shag" wasnt just a happening haircut, it was also the equivalent of platform shoes for your floor.


Lot 736, Lisa Johansson-Pape; Koch and Lowy, Pair of mushroom table lamps, Finland/USA, ca. 1960s; Starting $300.00

It's safe to say that the magical mushroom was responsible for the much of the mojo that sprang up in the creative culture of the 60s and 70s - so, why should light design have been any different? Lisa Johansson-Papes' Finnish designs are still being produced today, as they are easy to live with and create a pleasant high-end ambience that is simply smart in that irreplaceable, mid-mod sort of way. 

Lot 684, Arne Wahl Inversen; Vinde Mobelfabrik, Student desk, Teak, Denmark, 1960s; Starting $500.00

It's a shame to let your Bed Bath and Beyond coupons clutter such a lovable surface! Tidy up your papers and prepare a specialty oil bath for any antiques fashioned in the coveted teak wood. Particularly valuable, this hardwood was a favorite for mid-century design due to its scaling shades, ranging from golden to dark brown and smart looking, straight grain - when it comes to toughness, in teak we trust. 

Lot 780, Edwin Scheier; Mary Scheier, Ribbed stoneware vessel, New Hampshire/Arizona, 20th  Century; Starting $100.00

With all of the chromed steel and frosted glass floating around this catalog, there's plenty of room for objects from a more earthy origin. The Scheiers - husband and wife - would spend most of the 1960s in Oaxaca, Mexico where they studied, observed and applied the techniques of the native, Zapotec people whose use of positive and negative clay carving design would greatly influence the couples aesthetics. They would eventually settle in Arizona and continue to create lyrical clay pieces that have been held in high regard - comparisons to Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee are common in conversation. 

Lot 705, Eero Saarinen; Knoll Associates, Womb chair and ottoman, New York, 1960s; Starting $150.00

Responsible for designing some of the most recognized Knoll pieces including the Tulip chairs and tables as well as this Womb chair, Eero Saarinens sculptural approach was driven by an obsession to manufacture the "perfect curve." After a long evening of scrubbing and folding, it doesnt get much cozier (architecturally speaking) than to settle down in the appropriately named womb chair - a pleasing portrayal of posture that dates back to Knolls golden age of design. 

An unreserved evening spent with mid-century antiques sure does feel packed with personality - conversations between the minds that drafted complex concerns for phycological presence, function, color and revolutionary silhouettes keep the room humming with artistry and make for a fabulous, one-on-one date with modern design. 

Click here to view the full catalog Rago Auctions, Unreserved Session 1 on April 7th.