Competing with the twin auction-house titans of Sotheby’s and Christie’s is a tall order—and a dubious undertaking—but recent moves by Phillips (phillips.com) are making art watchers sit up and take notice. Last October, the contemporary-art auctioneer unveiled an impressive new European headquarters in London’s Mayfair district. Reportedly costing roughly $160 million, the 73,000-square-foot space contains a 6,800-square-foot salesroom equipped with three private skyboxes overlooking the auction floor. The opening comes at a time of great change for Phillips, which recently welcomed Edward Dolman—a Christie’s veteran and former executive director at the Qatar Museums Authority—as its new chairman and chief executive. Thus far, the news seems to have bolstered Phillips’s reputation. In February, a 30-lot sale of contemporary works at the new London outpost fetched a collective $26.9 million. The night’s triumph, Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads sculpture, commanded $4.4 million, setting a new high record for the Chinese artist and advancing the underdog auctioneer’s claim as a viable challenger to the longstanding auction-house duopoly.