Reunited in Sarasota to fight AIDS.
By Carol Tisch
It did it once and it will do it again. The Magnificent “Seven” is actually a world-famous chair – the Series Seven Chair created by Danish architect Arne Jacobsen in 1955. It raised $100,000 to fight AIDS in Demark in 2006, and it is expected to bring in close to $25,000 on Monday March 19, to benefit the Sarasota Community AIDS Network.
If you’re a mid-century modern design buff, you know that the Seven chair’s fund-raising power got a jump-start from a promotional idea by Fritz Hansen, the company that has manufactured it for half a century. In 2005, they put out a call to 14 high-profile designers to celebrate the chair’s golden anniversary by coming up with their own interpretations: the Designers’ Series Seven. From the outset, the chairs were intended for the charity auction block.
With names like Louis Vuitton, Missoni, Hugo Boss, Diesel and Paul Smith, the online auction of 14 one-of-a-kind chairs attracted dkVogue’s CEO and founder, Kim Thybro Nielsen, who nabbed seven of them for a total of $58,000. The reason? Nielsen plans to create a mini museum of Danish design in Sarasota – the headquarters for his rapidly-expanding Danish furniture empire.
Indeed, dkVogue’s stores on 1549 State Street (the venue for Monday’s event) and Osprey Avenue are retail tributes to Danish design. But there’s more. An office on Tamiami Trail was recently opened, and three spectacular homes are outfitted totally in Danish furniture. Together these venues are dkVogue’s collective ‘museum’ of original and reproductions of works by Danish designers.
“We offer free trips to Sarasota on our Web site to potential customers so they can see the product in these settings,” Nielsen explained. He says the offer is particularly attractive to Midwesterners during the winter. But collectors across the pond have also come over, because they won’t find the depth and breadth of Danish design that the Sarasota retailer has on display anywhere else.
“We give them a sales tour of the stores, the homes and our new office, a full day of Danish design,” said Nielsen. And he’s branching out. “We are planning to open a contract office in New York selling business to business,” he said. “Additional showrooms will be added in other metro areas in the US as well.”
Nielsen is putting its own spin on the international charity auction here in Sarasota. Together with State of the Art Gallery (a State Street neighbor) and Fritz Hansen, dkVogue will sell raffle tickets at $50 a pop for $16,000 worth of furniture and art provided by the sponsors. The seven Seven Chairs will be appear together for the first time since the 2006 auction, and the only Arne Jacobsen Egg Sofa in the US (which dkVogue purchased from Fritz Hansen for its ‘museum’) will be unveiled.
The party starts at 5:30 and includes an open-bar, heavy hors d’oeuvres, valet parking and a DJ. You can still R.S.V.P to Christy Ryle at (941) 955-2600.
The raffle includes:
- 1 series 7 Chair with design by artist David Steiner from State of the Arts Gallery, valued at $7,500
- 1 Egg Chair by Arne Jacobsen, valued at $5,722
- 4 Series 7 Chairs by Arne Jacobsen and 1 Piet Hein table, valued at $3,511
- 1 Swan Chair by Arne Jacobsen, valued at $3,223
- 2 Series 7 Barstools by Arne Jacobsen, valued at $1,476
- 1 Little Friend Table by Kasper Salto, valued at $1,044
- 1 Gallery Stool by Hans Sandgren Jakobsen, valued at $525
- 1 Stelton Cylinda-Line Coffee Pot by Arne Jacobsen, valued at $399
- 1 Stelton Cylinda-Line Salad Bowl with salad utensils by Arne Jacobsen valued, at $378
- 1 Stelton Cylinda-Line Ice Bucket by Arne Jacobsen, valued at $239