during miami art week, (RED), sotheby’s and gagosian came together to raise $5.5 million USD to support the fight against AIDS. the third (RED) auction totaled $10.5 million, including matching funds by the bill & melinda gates foundation. curated by artist theaster gates and architect sir david adjaye in collaboration with musician and activist bono, the auction featured contemporary art and design donated by marc quinn, sean scully, sir jony ive and marc newson, jennifer guidi, among others. in addition, david adjaye and theaster gates created unique pieces for the sale.


designboom was in attendance at the star-studded auction where we saw the gavel drop on a number of high profile pieces.

RED charity auction
the auction took place inside miami’s moore building
image © designboom | main image by craig barritt/getty images for the (RED) auction 2018



centered on the theme of light and the color red, the sotheby’s auction was led by theaster gates’ ‘a flag for the least of them,’ which achieved $807,000 — an auction record for the artist. additional auction records were set for artists including jennifer guidi, hank willis thomas, and leo villareal. ‘conjuring this exhibition has been such a privilege. we are so grateful to the art, architecture and design community, all of our friends and colleagues who stepped up for the third (RED) auction to contribute such beautiful work,’ says david adjaye. ‘pieces of work that now will extend beyond traditional utility and serve an even greater purpose in helping save lives,’ adds theaster gates.

RED charity auction
designboom was in attendance at the star-studded auction
image by cindy ord/getty images for the (RED) auction 2018



to date, (RED) has generated more than $600 million for the global fund to support lifesaving HIV/AIDS programs in africa. proceeds from the evening will go to the global fund to fight aids to provide life-saving HIV/AIDS programs in sub-saharan africa, while also helping to fund community- strengthening programs in chicago with the rebuild foundation – an organization championed by theaster gates.

RED charity auction
architect sir david adjaye with bono and artist theaster gates
image by cindy ord/getty images for the (RED) auction 2018



for one of the most talked about pieces, marc newson teamed up with apple’s chief design officer sir jony ive to design a lab-grown diamond ring. the one-of-a-kind item of jewellery has been created by the diamond foundry, using its plasma reactor technology and a scientific process involving the manipulation of atoms to create a diamond block big enough to cut a ring in all its entirety.

RED charity auction
naomi campbell was also in attendance
image by dimitrios kambouris/getty images for the (RED) auction 2018



the final outcome is a ring with no band or metal settings: a solid block carved with intricate facets and a hole through the middle. it is created by removing material rather than adding – an ambition made possible by the extraordinary scale of the stone which will enable the ring to be completely made of this material. the process takes cues from the unibody design of a macbook, which is similarly created out of a solid piece of aluminum.

RED charity auction
the (red) diamond ring, a diamond foundry® created diamond by sir jony ive and marc newson
sold for $256,250 | image courtesy of sotheby’s



the biggest challenge in making the diamond ring was in the cutting. the diamond block is faceted with approximately 3,000 facets, a feat never been seen before on a single piece, some of which are as small as several hundred micrometers. with the help of a fourth-generation master cutter in antwerp the interior ring will be cylindrically cut out for the desired smoothness using a micrometer thick water to create the cylindrical cut of the inside of the ring.

RED charity auction
liquid glacial color coffee table by zaha hadid
acrylic | 15 3/4 by 106 1/4 by 35 3/8 in. 40 by 270 by 92.5 cm.
sold for $300,000 USD | image courtesy of sotheby’s



the san francisco-based diamond foundry is a carbon neutral producer of lab-grown diamonds. they develop the proprietary technology to form diamonds safely and sustainably offering an alternative to the current diamond mining model. it counts blood diamond star leonardo dicaprio among its primary investors. the bespoke ring will be custom-shaped to its new owner’s finger up to a size five, and the estimated sale price is between $150,000 to $250,000.

marc newson and jony ive design lab-grown diamond ring for (RED) charity auction
sir david adjaye, wahington skeleton™ (RED) side chair, die-cast aluminum with mortise and tenon joint connections
image courtesy of ilan rubin



also for the auction, david adjaye donated unique metallic red versions of the washington corona coffee table and skeleton chairs, originally designed as part of the architect’s first ever furniture collection. other items include those by christo, frank gehry, jeff koons, and ai weiwei. all works were exhibited by gagosian gallery at the moore building in the miami design district.

marc newson and jony ive design lab-grown diamond ring for (RED) charity auction

sir david adjaye, washington corona™ (RED) coffee table