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The Collector

PUBLISHED: 16:28 25 August 2015 | UPDATED: 16:28 25 August 2015

Eames Lounge Chair and Ottomon

Eames Lounge Chair and Ottomon


There are some designers out there in the world of furniture that will always be in demand. CAROL BURNS names names

Marcel Breur Wassily ChairMarcel Breur Wassily Chair

When it comes to hunting out the perfect piece of statement furniture from flea markets, antique fairs or salerooms – there are a few that everyone should look out for. Modernist furniture created somewhere in the mid-20th century are among the most sought after. Many of us are familiar with some of these modernist classics even if we don’t realise it. It informs so much of contemporary interior design and we come in contact with it daily on a cultural level on television and in films where the set designer will understand its importance and its place.

The ultimate in modernist luxury and iconoclasm – and for me the ultimate prize in antique furniture is Charles and Ray Eames classic ‘Lounge Chair and Ottoman’. The style guru and hepcat’s lazyboy chair. All black leather and walnut veneer, a safe bet as the star piece in any living room/study/library/den, no other furniture need apply.

Marcel Breuer’s inimitable ‘Wassily chair’, or the ‘B3’, if you’re feeling pedantic, is a prime example. All bent chrome and black leather, it couldn’t be more macho (but is surprisingly comfortable). For a funky look out for George Nelson’s ‘Marshmallow Sofa’, with its dazzling combination of linked up, multi coloured, lozenge shaped, leather padded cushions

If you were a fan of paper lampshades as a student to cover up those ugly dangling bare bulbs, then you are probably already familiar with Isamu Noguchi. Every paper and wire lampshade you’ve ever owned was inspired by this Japanese American artist and originals of his work can fetch a huge sum. His glass topped, wooden legged coffee table is another design classic. With its pebble shaped glass surface it is the standard bearer in Zen design.

For a quirky dining experience why not go for some old school (literally) British design icon with the Robin Day ‘Polypropylene Chair’. For a touch of added class get the 1967 version with ski base.

If you’re inclined to think that wall clocks are a bit passé in the age of digital and mobile technology then you may want to rethink your position after seeing the Arne Jacobsen ‘City Hall Clock’. With its perfectly perfunctory design. Its monochrome backing, hands and dials, bring to this modernist time piece an elegant symmetry, which will play a starring role on the wall of any room in the house, be it a kitchen, study or living room.

While all these classic modernist pieces certainly don’t come cheap, their expense is very much offset by their visual drama and the pleasure you will receive in ownership and practical use of the most elite pieces of furniture ever created in a mass-produced spirit of egalitarianism. Of course you can buy them new – these classic designs are still very much in production - but where’s the fun in that? w

This month

30 August: Glastonbury Brocante & Vide-Grenier

A vintage, antique and collectables fair for antique buyers, vintage fans and collectors of all things rare. Opportunities for Brocante Fair traders include indoor hall pitches plus street pitches in a number of central locations in the town including the High Street, Northload Street, The Archers Way and Market Place.


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