Today Bonhams, the third-largest international fine art auction house in the world, will open the doors of its brand new saleroom in Hong Kong on the 20th floor of One Pacific Place, a setting that provides what will be the most technically advanced permanent auction saleroom in the region.
This is the first dedicated saleroom created by any auction house in Hong Kong. It means an end to hiring temporary preview space and instead provides the very best and latest in auctioneering expertise. This will be a permanent platform for appreciating art in stunningly lit and displayed previews, and a setting for entertaining among superb art. Bonhams has set out to create a new global standard in Asia, from the sophisticated museum-quality lighting for the art on display, through to superb online bidding facilities, and the outstanding art expertise available onsite.
Designed by award-winning architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, the saleroom gallery echoes the company's brand new £30m Bond Street headquarters in London's Mayfair, a project undertaken by the same firm of architects, and recent winner of a major American architectural award.
Colin Sheaf, Chairman of Bonhams Asia, who has a 30 year track record selling Chinese art around the world, says: "Today, a new
chapter starts for Bonhams in Hong Kong and China. With this new saleroom we are signaling our further commitment to this hugely important and vibrant market, which in five years has become our fourth biggest international auction center. Just a decade ago Bonhams only operated in Britain, but under its new management the company has grown massively. It now operates in 27 countries on five continents and with its spread of 60 specialist collecting areas and 800 specialist staff it regularly achieves world records in everything from classic cars to jewelry, wine to watches, Old Master Painting to Urban Art. Our record in selling Chinese art on four continents is exceptional. We plan to offer clients the very best auctioneering experience which is why we have invested in these wonderful new premises in a city that is fast becoming a great challenger to London and New York as a global arts hub. We look forward to welcoming our clients from across Asia to this new facility which will further enhance our brand."
He adds: "It is time that the city's auction scene moves away from a "Roll up to the circus" operation. Auction houses tend to make most of their Hong Kong revenue in two separate weeks of hyperactivity in the spring and autumn, while sales are far more spread out in London and New York. Bonhams will no longer call its May sales the "Spring" auctions. Instead, we will expect to hold our premier auctions as well as smaller sales more evenly spaced throughout the year, an approach more in line with international practice."
The new Hong Kong premises will accelerate Bonhams growth as the fastest growing international fine art auction house in the world.
Bonhams launched its Hong Kong presence in 2007 and this new saleroom highlights the great expansion that has taken place as well as the promise of future growth. The past seven years has seen many world records achieved for a range of artifacts: a tiny, yet exquisite, 'famille-rose' enameled glass 'European-subject' snuff bottle made in the Imperial Palace workshops in Beijing during the Emperor Qianlong period (1736-1795) sold for the new world record price of HK$25.3 million (£2,108,333), an exquisite sapphire and diamond ring by Van Cleef & Arpels featuring a rectangular-cut Sri Lankan sapphire weighing 43.16 carats set a new world record of HK$12 million at HK$280,000 (US$36,000) per carat, and a Leica Luxus 1 camera from 1930 selling for a world record price of HK$7.46 million. Bonhams was the first auction house to offer wine, whisky, cognac and camera sales in Hong Kong and now the company has a broad Asian presence with offices in Beijing, Taipei, Tokyo and Singapore.
Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands is renowned for its innovative and high profile designs, ranging from bridges to buildings of all types. Recent projects include the new flagship Tsvetnoy food store and restaurants in Moscow, and the historic La Rinascente department store in Milan. Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands also has a 15-year relationship with Harvey Nichols, creating their restaurant brand with six restaurants in London, Edinburgh and Manchester. The studio is currently designing a number of leading London projects including the new Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross Road. Close by Bonhams new salerooms in London Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands is also designing a large mixed-use development at Hanover Square above the Crossrail station and also has been recently appointed to design a scheme for the Middlesex Hospital site.
Alex Lifschutz of Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands said, "We're very excited to have been entrusted with this prestigious and challenging project for Bonhams. Our design responds to Bonhams' rich British history, the particular architecture of the locality and to realizing the company's vision for the future. We have created an important destination for what is one of the world's fastest growing cultural institutions."
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com