Objects of desire: Pavilion Art & Design

It is Frieze Week, as it is come to be known, and London is at the centre if an art-frenzy. There is so much going on that the sheer volume is exhausting, and it is impossible to keep up. It is also becoming increasingly tough to shine in such an art-packed annual schedule. The art world – its collectors, aficionados, hangers on here for the parties alone – have descended on the capital city, and artists and galleries want to be seen, be heard, be bought.

The London incarnation of the Pavilion Art and Design, established eight years ago as a spin off of its long-standing Parisian sister, has set itself apart by offering more than contemporary art. Here, beneath the elegant pavilion constructed in Berkeley Square, the thick tree trucks of the square extending dramatically within the structure, 20th-century art and design sits happily alongside carefully selected contemporary pieces of art, design and jewellery, as well as tribal and Oceanic art.

The space is limited to 62 galleries only – tiny compared to Frieze Fair and admittedly much more pleasant to manoeuvre. This year saw 45 returning galleries and 17 newcomers with 28 design specialists.

There is plenty to see here. At the entrance Carpenters Workshop Gallery presents Windy Chair 1 by Yinka Shonibare inspired by the artist’s work Nelson’s Ship in a Battle. It is a vibrant sculpture as well as a functional seat expressing his dual nationality by the movement of fabric – the colours are inspired by his Nigerian background – caught in wind.

Jewellery by Artists at Louisa Guinness Gallery also sees artists involved in design. Here a selection of work includes a debut project with Jason Martin as well as works by Annie Morris, Anish Kapoor, Claude Lalanne,Tim Noble, and Sue Webster.

Elsewhere, Japanese artists Toru Kaneko’s Slim at Katie Jones UK sees his characteristic meticulously detailed relief work, and delicate treatment of the surface of metal, applied to two slim copper vases. Whilst Jeremy Wintrebert’s Clouds gives Murano glass a contemporary perspective, and architect Georges Mohasseb at Lebanon’s SMO gallery reveals his craftsmanship with Marguerite des Sables, a brushed brass coffee table made of 241 daisies with welded stems and hand hammered hearts.

PAD London has evolved through the years to increasingly offer this mixed-genre collecting. Ultimately what sets Berkeley Square apart is that it presents very much a niche, you could say continental sensibility, a far cry from the more global one offered by the larger fairs  here this week.

Nargess Shahmanesh Banks

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