The 8th PAD London opens to the public on Wednesday 15 October and runs until Sunday 19th in a marquee in the picturesque Berkeley Square. Unlike the recent LAPADA fair, PAD has its entrance on the far side of the square facing the buildings instead of the greenery of the square itself. This is a pity as currently in the centre of the square is Dale Chihuly’s stunning glass sculpture The Sun (courtesy of Halcyon Gallery) which allowed the LAPADA Fair a grand welcoming into the tent. In contrast the PAD entrance is underwhelming. That is of course until you enter the fair itself. It is like walking into the pages of Architectural Digest, World of Interiors or similar magazines with beautiful room sets except that those houses don’t have trees in the middle of the living rooms.
The fair is home to dealers in 20th century art, design and decorative arts from all over Europe and a few from the USA. French dealers dominate and in the past few years the tone has shifted away from 20th century design to more one off contemporary pieces. Every year prizes are awarded for the categories of Contemporary Design, 20th century decorative arts and Best Stand. This year the awards went to Paul Cocksedge at Friedman Benda for his rolled steel table Poised 2013; Carlo Mollino’s 1949 ceiling light at Galerie Downtown while James, Paris won the Best Stand award.
Of particular note is Stockholm’s Modernity Gallery which features a cabinet by Carl Horvik designed for the Swedish Pavilion at the 1925 Paris World Trade Fair where it won the Grand Prix and a 1923 chaise longue by Uno Ahren which had already sold. Adrian Sassoon has a set of seven black twill vessels (2014) by Tobias Mohl made from blown glass with cane work in a back lit light box and a wax coated forged mild steel chrysanthemum shaped centre piece by Junko Mori. Louisa Guinness has furniture and jewellery by Claude Lalanne and Galerie Pascal Cuisinier had a mini exhibition of 100 French chairs from 1951-1961 the finest.
Those galleries showing fine art had some big names: Andy Warhol at Daniel Blau ; Lucio Fontana at Robilant + Voena; Calder and Miro at Mayoral Galeria d’art, Barcelona; Patrick Caulfied, Bridget Riley and Ben Nicholson at Robin Katz; Cy Twombly and Morandi at Galeria Tega, Italy and Gilbert and George at David Gill Galleries. Names that will be repeated endlessly at Frieze Masters with even bigger and more important examples no doubt.
As a fair it’s a nice scale to walk round with endless interesting pieces of art and design to see. Whether it can do well enough during Frieze week remains to be seen.