Maison R & C
Auctioneers in sneakers
After starting out as conventional auctioneers, Romain Rudondy and Yonathan Chamla dreamed up a new kind of saleroom.
By Clotilde Roux
Une salle des ventes qui se transforme en lieu culturel accueillant régulièrement des expositions. Comme ici Real Utopias, lors de Manifesta 13 Marseille 2020.
Pour Romain Rudondy et Yonathan Chamla, la spécialisation est la clé du nouveau marché.
Maison R&C, founded in 2017 and licensed by Drouot in 202, holds specialist auctions of luxury items and collectables, in Paris and Marseille. It stands out from the crowd for its dynamism, its innovative view of the market and the boundless creativity of its two founders. These enthusiastic men mean to modernise their profession – starting with dress style. We talked to Yonathan Chamla.
Your saleroom has a unique market position, doesn’t it?
Yes. Because what we like doing is to select lots for their collectability and not just their value. We can present any kind of object, from any period, but it has to be categorised (old, modern or contemporary paintings, old furniture, artist jewellery, luxury leather goods, twentieth-century art objects etc.).
You call it a “new generation” saleroom
We’ve always felt the need to blow the cobwebs off the auction trade and smash the image of the austere, all-powerful auctioneer. We are just trying to change the codes. I run my auctions however I like, in sneakers, for example, because I’m just doing what I love. I’ve been crazy about collecting since I was a kid. We are trying to make our mark on the social networks. We post offbeat videos to demystify our profession, make auction sales more informal, and bring in people who would never otherwise come.
What’s your saleroom like?
We’ve put a lot of thought into the way we present the lots. We display them like in an art gallery. Right from the start we wanted to make the saleroom a place for culture. Like a small museum with temporary exhibitions. When there’s no sale upcoming, we invite curators to put on art shows to promote artistic creativity in the South of France.
How would you define an auctioneer?
As an expert first and foremost. Like a doctor for objects, who makes a diagnosis so as to establish a price. He also has to be good at selling. These days we have to go looking for lots, we have to communicate and work on our image. And an auctioneer has to be passionately keen and curious. You have to seek out the information you need to value something as accurately as possible. We work with about 50 experts who help us in their fields, from African art to old jewellery, etc.
Are auction sales seen as a safe investment these days?
Our business is doing well, and I think there are several reasons for that. People are buying a wider range of things and are showing more interest in auctions. During the lockdown, online sales worked really well. Also, many people, especially in Asia, have decided to invest during this crisis period. The social and human aspect plays a big part too. Since people can’t travel, they want another way to find novelty and give gifts, so they like to buy something unique.