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Recent evidence of this interest has ranged from the new SM’ART fair at the Carrousel du Louvre, which ran from September 29 to October 2, to the exhibition of Design 1930-1965 in the Palais Kinsky rooms of the Wiener Kunst auction house in Vienna, which continues until the end of January.

The Paris-based Camard auction group have been to the fore in exploiting, and promoting, the designer trend and their most recent sale, at Drouot on October 3 under the hammer of Yann Le Mouel, was deliberately scheduled straight after the SM’ART fair. The sale was entitled Metal Design, more a slogan to attract international attention than an accurate reflection of the sale’s content – by no means all the 171 lots available were metallic.

In normal circumstances the sale’s cosmopolitan appeal would have extended to the United States, and an absence of Americans may have had something to do with some disappointing results.

That was particularly the case for work by Jean Royère (1902-81), whom the Camards have been championing for some time. No fewer than 29 items by Royère were on offer here, and the Camards’ claim that the sale “confirmed the progression of prices for Royère” was a brazen example of post-sale hype. Only 12 of those 29 lots sold, and failure met all but one of the ten lots expected to clear £10,000: a Hirondelles (swallows) standing lamp in blackened metal, 5ft 5in (1.65m) tall, with seven arms of different heights spouting from a red metal ball, at a top-estimate Fr120,000 (£11,400).

Three Oeuf (egg) armchairs, each on four beechwood legs, were well clear of predictions on Fr92,000 (£8760), so was a ‘curule’ seat with goat-hair cover and ebonised X-shaped legs that made Fr53,000 (£5050).

Erratic prices were reflected in the fates of two similar tubular metal eight-light chandeliers with twin-sphered shafts: one, with gun-metal patina and conical shades, sold for Fr75,000 (£7140), well ahead of its Fr60,000 top-estimate; the second, with an orange-red lacquered shaft and cylindrical shades, went for Fr58,000 (£5520), short of its Fr60,000 low-estimate.

Three red-lacquered tubular metal Hérisson (hedgehog) two-armed wall-lights made an expected Fr39,000 (£3710). A pair of comfy armchairs with imitation fur upholstery sold short of hopes at Fr50,000 (£4760), while a set of four open-backed metal chairs, with ball feet linked by cross-shaped metal stretchers, neared top-estimate on Fr48,000 (£4570).

The main Royère failures included a gilt-brass Persan standing-lamp; an oak Scotch Club dining-table with black opaline top; an oak console-table with similar top; a corner canapé; a four-doored oak sideboard; a metallic openwork grid screen; and an oak dining-room suite (table, sideboard and 12 chairs) estimated at over £20,000.

Some other familiar French figures of post-war design also found it tough going. Only two of six pieces by Charlotte Perriand found takers: a four-legged dining-table in bois exotique, 8ft (2.45m) long, for Fr17,000 (£1620); and a matching bench, with seat made from two planks, for Fr10,000. Both prices were well short of estimate.

A two-armed, articulated, lacquered metal wall-light by Serge Mouille (c.1953) hit a low-estimate Fr80,000 (£7600), as did an oak bench by Jean Prouvé, 4ft 8in (1.43m) long and with blue-lacquered, welded metal supports, that took Fr30,000 (£2860). An ivory-coloured cupboard on stand by Le Corbusier, with two sliding doors, fared only slightly better on Fr32,000 (£3050).

It is perhaps understandable that estimated prices in an emerging and volatile market should prove unreliable, and there were several good surprises too. One of the sale’s best results was Fr100,000 (£9520), five times estimate, for Jean Perzel’s circular light-up table with matt glass top and tapering shaft on a round, chrome-metal base.

A pair of settees by Pierre Paulin, each composed of three lengthy foam sections with cream and coffee-coloured upholstery, on moveable black-lacquered metal bases, was also well clear of expectations on Fr82,000 (£7810).

Italian design attracted some keen bidding. Lino Sabattini’s signed, silvered metal sculpture, shaped like an angular rugby ball with an egg-sized crater, 10 x 13in (25 x 33cm), sold well at Fr30,000 (£2860). Two lots by Joe Colombo tripled estimate: a wide, curvy, orange-lacquered armchair with (worn) black leather back and seat, produced by Kartelle between 1965 and 1975, at Fr28,000 (£2670); and a pair of Birillo leather and chrome metal bar stools, with moulded X-patterned plastic bases, and marked Made in Italy, at Fr31,000 (£2950).

A rectangular, glass-topped coffee table by Marco de Gueltz, 2ft 2in (66cm) tall and with curved, brass-inlaid metal legs and an iron stretcher topped by a glass block, doubled hopes on Fr65,000 (£6190).