Sunday, 29 May 2016

Collectors' hotel room key fob

This key fob from room 1045 of the Hotel Bristol Kempinski in Berlin has just been posted on eBay for auction. My first thought was that this was cheeky, and it should be returned to the hotel. But it is called 'vintage' and I suppose it is. Heavyweight keys are things of the past. Now all we need is a bit of plastic like so many other pieces of plastic, with the room number written on an enveloping sheet that is not worth anybody collecting. Those hefty old key fobs tell of a pre-smart time when everything was shaped for purpose and given particular substance. Even as I look at it I can sense it in my palm, giving me a secure feeling that I have a safe and sound bed for the night.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Buffa chairs from Hotel Bristol Merano

This pair of chairs by the Milanese designer Paolo Buffa (1903–1970) have just come up for auction in New York, with an estimate of $3,000–$5,000. . They come from the Hotel Bristol in Merano, one of the most famous modern hotels in Italy before and just after the second world war. the hotel’s elegant furnishings no infrequently turn up at auctions, and a book about its demise was posted in Hotel Bristol News in December 2008. 

The Architectural Digest says: "Studying the oeuvre of Milanese architect and designer Paolo Buffa is generally a lesson in sophisticated, inventive classicism. Whether he was producing furnishings for a swish ski-resort hotel or constructing gracious villas for the haute bourgeoisie of Italy’s northern Lombardy region, where he lived, Buffa’s work was marked by unmistakable suavity.”