Two of the world’s foremost design pioneers, Sir Jonathan Ive, KBE, and Marc Newson, CBE, have collaborated with musician and philanthropist Bono in organizing a (RED) Auction celebrating the very best of design and innovation, which took place Saturday night at Sotheby’s. Jony and Marc spent the past year and a half curating the collection, which comprises objects from disciplines as diverse as space travel, home goods, contemporary art, and rare automobiles, all unified and distinguished by their excellence and innovation.
The auction featured icons of design selected by Jony and Marc, works that were personally customized by the pair, which includes the Henning Koppel Pitcher 992 lacquered in Pantone 1805C, by Georg Jensen. Jony’s father was a silversmith, and Marc trained as one, so the precious metal is tremendously significant to both men. The hand-made solid sterling silver pitcher showcases the techniques in which total mastery of material and method is paramount. Georg Jensen has never before lacquered the interior of a jug with color, but at Jony and Marc’s request, the piece glows with red.
The Georg Jensen pitcher was auctioned off alongside exclusive items from brands including Hermes, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Alaia, Apple, and Leica, among others. Jony and Marc created both the Leica camera, and an aluminum desk produced by Neal Feay Studios. All other items were customized exclusively for the auction. Estimated to go for between $40,000-60,000, the pitcher ultimately went for $106,250.
The auction raised $13 million, while the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation agreed to match every dollar, which brought the total to $26 million. Highlights of the auction included Bono and Chris Martin singing and playing the Steinway piano up for auction, as well as Christy Turlington Burns modeling the Alaia dress as people were bidding. Attendees included Bono, Jony Ive, Marc Newson, Chris Martin, Azzedine Alaia, John McEnroe, Harrison Ford, Charlie Rose, Gayle King, Courtney Love, as well as David Chu, CEO of Georg Jensen. Once the auction ended, guests were treated to an after party on the 10th floor of Sotheby’s, where Bono performed well into the night.