Furniture

Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan Curate a Collection for the Launch of 1stDibs Auctions

Drum roll, please. This month marks the debut of an additional way to shop the 1stDibs universe. We’re combining some of the sheer fun of the live auction with the ease of e-commerce.

Our new auction tool adds an extra fillip of excitement to the experience of shopping the world online for extraordinary furniture, art, jewelry and more. If instant gratification is your thing, you’ll still be able to “Buy It Now,” but you’ll also be able to bid on thousands of special items during weeklong auctions, and quite likely score some bargains in the process. 

With more than 2,000 covetable treasures from vetted sellers worldwide on the auction block this first week, and 1stDibs dealers adding fresh material frequently, where will you begin? With Art Deco or mid-century furniture? Art prints or curious collectibles? Estate jewelry or iconic handbags?

To help you navigate the galaxy of offerings at the launch of 1stDibs Auctions, we asked two inimitable design gurus — potter and designer Jonathan Adler and his husband, author, window dresser and fashion commentator Simon Doonan — to laser in on a capsule collection of more than 100 pieces that jumped out at them. They took on the assignment with gusto, “happily scrolling through the cornucopia,” as Adler puts it, “to truffle out the unseen and surprising.” 

Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan's house on Shelter Island, New York.
Doonan and Adler’s affection for bright colors, bold silhouettes and mid-century modernism are on full display in their house on Shelter Island, New York. Photo by Jonathan Adler

Their curated selection has undeniable glam and sparkle. “I desperately want them all,” Adler says of his and Doonan’s choices, which were chiefly guided, in the latter’s words, by a “love of visual drama.” That’s evident in such items as a glittering 1960s chandelier, handcrafted by Germany’s Palwa lighting company from gilded brass rings encrusted with diamond crystals, and a super-stylish curvilinear Italian mid-century rosewood bar cabinet on splayed legs.

“I hope our choices will encourage people to pump up the volume on their decor,” Doonan says.

A uniquely shaped Hollywood Regency–style mohair slipper chair by Grosfeld House should do exactly that. “Chairs can just be a place to sit, or they can be incredibly expressive,” says Adler. “This one captures the essence of mid-century cinematic glamour with its scrolly lines and epic presence.” It’s waiting, he adds, “for the right starlet’s home.”

Adler zeroed in on another 1stDibs discovery — an octagonal French marquetry mirror crafted from burlwood by Jean Claude Mahey in 1970s orange — simply because, he says, “it tingles my chakras!”

Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan in their New York City domicile.
“I desperately want them all,” Adler says of his and Doonan’s auction selections, which were guided, in the latter’s words, by a “love of visual drama.” Photo by Melanie Acevedo

Bidding on 1stDibs is simple. Go to the Auctions tab on our navigation bar to view all auction items at once, or find biddable pieces while browsing the site by keeping an eye out for special auction tags. If the seven-day timed window on an item has begun, you’ll see a countdown clock.

Some lots have reserves, others don’t. The long-established 1stDibs Buyer Protection policy applies to all auction items, so bid away with complete peace of mind. And no worries about that bane of old-school auctions: the buyer’s premium. You’ll pay only the final, knock-down price, plus any taxes and shipping. To smooth the process further, 1stDibs facilitates the shipping.

So place your bids, and check back often. As they said in the heyday of live auctions, Going . . . going . . . gone!

Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan’s Auction Picks

Eleanora Peduzzi-Riva, Heinz Ulrich and Ueli Berger for de Sede DS-600 sectional sofa, 1970s
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Eleanora Peduzzi-Riva, Heinz Ulrich and Ueli Berger for de Sede DS-600 sectional sofa, 1970s

“Being married to an interior decorator has its advantages, one of which is being turned on to curved sofas.” — Simon Doonan

German Art Deco steel pendant light, 1930s
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German Art Deco steel pendant light, 1930s

“My mantra is ‘Get a chandelier that is bigger than you think you need and more expensive than you think you can afford.’ ” — Jonathan Adler

Palwa brass and crystal glass chandelier, 1960s
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Palwa brass and crystal glass chandelier, 1960s

“Jonny’s mantra definitely applies to this beauty.” — Doonan

Bar cabinet, 1940s, attributed to Osvaldo Borsani
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Bar cabinet, 1940s, attributed to Osvaldo Borsani

“Simon and I don’t drink, but my Pellegrino would look so much chicer in a bar like this.” — Adler

Max Ingrand for Luigi Fontana mirror, 1950s
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Max Ingrand for Luigi Fontana mirror, 1950s

“Jonny’s favorite color just so happens to be blue mixed with other shades of blue. Might need to add this to his Christmas list, but don’t tell him that!” — Doonan

Italian high-back dining chairs, 1950
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Italian high-back dining chairs, 1950

“I love the twinkly brass paired with the chartreuse seat — dream combo!” — Adler

Jacques Adnet coat hooks, 1940s
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Jacques Adnet coat hooks, 1940s

“Tartan is always a yes.” — Doonan

Delphin Massier butterfly planters, 1890s
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Delphin Massier butterfly planters, 1890s

“These remind me of something Auntie Mame would have had in her home — louche, eccentric and way over the top.” — Doonan

Faux-turtleshell umbrella stand, 1970
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Faux-turtleshell umbrella stand, 1970

“Burlwood holds a special place in my heart, as do fab and functional umbrella stands.” — Adler

Mastercraft Classic bar cabinet, 1970s
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Mastercraft Classic bar cabinet, 1970s

“This is a chicer version of a cabinet Jonny and I decoupaged one afternoon on a whim, and it’s become one of our favorite pieces.” — Doonan

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