Future design stars to be auctioned at Sotheby's

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The Independent Online

Amid a growing trend of art collectors investing in unique design pieces, art auctioneer Sotheby's has announced a sale of Eindhoven Design Academy graduates' pieces in May.

The group of former students will exhibit the works at the Saloni furniture fair in Milan before the design goes under the hammer in a selling exhibition in London May 13-17. The selected designers - which buyers hope include the next Marten Baas - graduated from the leading design school last year and range from Anna van der Lei to Yoeri Treffers, Digna Kosse and Amélie Onzon.

"Design Academy Eindhoven has a formidable reputation for producing designers that rank among the most respected in the world," Janice Blackburn, a curator of contemporary art and design, said in a statement. "The graduates of 2009 exhibiting at Sotheby's demonstrate Eindhoven's creativity, innovation, curious approach to life and down to earth practicality."

Exactly what kind of practicality Blackburn is referring to when speaking about the featured works, which include body chains and airy fabric tents, remains unclear, but their creativity is clear. A description of Yoeri Treffers's Inflatable Void design reads: "Because many people [...] do need to be completely by themselves sometimes, he devised an inflatable cube made of polythene. The cube is inflated within 20 seconds by a fan hanging from the ceiling. The exact shape taken by the cube is dependent on the objects in the environment, so can vary each time."

Sotheby's has been criticized by some design writers for "exploiting" young design talent by buying their works at low prices and selling them high to collectors desperate to find the design star of the future.

The selling exhibition will take place at the auction house's New Bond Street Galleries.