December 6, 2016

Phillips Auctions off Top 50 Designer Lee Mindel's 20th Century Furniture Collection

On December 13th, Phillips is hosting the auction 'Light & Aerie: The Collection of Lee F. Mindel, FAIA.' at their New York showroom.

by New York Spaces

Jean Prouve Room Divider, Lee Mindel
Jean Prouvé, Room divider/screen, c.1959; Estimate: $70,000-90,000. Photograph by Michael Moran.
Ettore Sottsass
Ettore Sottsass, Jr., “Burma” totem, c. 1994-1995.
Estimate: $15,000-20,000. Photograph by Michael Moran.

NYS: What should interested parties expect from the auction, "Light & Aerie: The Collection of Lee F. Mindel, FAIA"?

Phillips: An exhibition about a unique space designed by Lee F. Mindel and its historical contents ... the relationships of objects integrated into space. Those objects are the DNA of Mr Mindel's education which includes studies at the University of Pennsylvania with Louis Kahn, and the Harvard Graduate school of Design where Le Corbusier, Kallman and Mckinnel, Charles Corea, and Joseph Zaleski. They were among a few of his professors

NYS: Why did you decide to auction off objects from your personal collection?

Lee Mindel: Having designed the space in 1996 it was time to explore a different type of case study space. After completing the sales center and creative material for Herzog & de Meuron and Alexico's 56 Leonard there was a rare opportunity to acquire and design a new residence there....in essence to start over.


NYS: When did you begin your collection and what made you aware of your eye for design?

Alexandra Noll
Alexandre Noll, Exceptional torso sculpture, 1950s.
Estimate: $100,000-150,000. Photograph by Michael Moran.



Lee Mindel: I think I began virtual dreaming of a collection as a teenager. If not of the actual object there were profound objects that were not inanimate once I became familiar with their authors as well as with the works from the greatest architects of all time.

NYS: What made you decide to collaborate with Phillips on the auction?

Lee Mindel: Phillips was as interested as I in exploring the relationship of the object in space and its context. Their openness and creativity allowed us to explore unchartered territory. In pursuit of that creative freedom we were able to bring so many disparate sources—both physically and metaphorically—under one roof. We gathered pieces from the greatest galleries in the world, including from scholars, photographers, architects, and designers.

NYS: What are some of the leading items from the sale? Do you have some personal favorites that were hard to let go of?

Lee Mindel: Picking a favorite is like picking favorite child. It's not possible!

Tom Dixon Pylon Chair
Tom Dixon, "Pylon" chair
Estimate: $3,000-4,000. Photograph by Michael Moran.

NYS: How has your background as an architect and designer influence the items you collect?

Lee Mindel: I choose objects by great architects and designers who have left their mark in history and as well as in my education. They have became an archaeological reservoir I often access.


NYS: What was it like working with Alexander Payne—Phillips' Worldwide Head of Design—on the auction?

Lee Mindel: He has been the most open, creative, and patient of collaborators. We have created a dialogue that goes much further than this specific occasion. His team is flawless. He also supported engaging Michael Moran, one of the greatest architectural photographers of all time, to capture the essence of object and space.

NYS: What does the future hold for you? What can we expect from your new residence?

Lee Mindel: Exploring a new type of design appropriate for the new uber towers being created as we speak.

Ron Arad Sofa
Ron Arad, "D-Sofa", 1994
Estimate: $100,000-150,000. Photograph by Michael Moran.

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