Q+A: antikmodern

- What is classic mid-century modern vintage furniture and why should we be making room for it in the house?

Mid-century modern typically refers to design from the 1940′s through to the early 1970′s. Furniture (as well as other home accessories) from this period are characterised by clean lines, simplicity and democratic design. Good designs from the period are not only functional and built to last they’re also a great investment, for example if you were lucky enough to get your hands on a Eames Lounge ten years ago, you not only own a beautiful chair to use and enjoy everyday but it’s probably doubled in value

- Do you have favourite designers whose work, when you come across it, just gets your heart pumping?

Lots! I’m a fan of most of the big name mid century modern furniture designers – Charles & Ray Eames, Hans Wegner, Arne Jacobsen, Finn Juhl, etc., but it can be just as exciting to find beautiful piece from a lesser known designer whose work can be equally well made/ designed, yet available to buy at a fraction of the price

- On that score, how do you source your pieces? I’m thinking you suddenly pile into a battered old camper van and set off on a North Sea ferry for a flea-market in rural Denmark, not to be seen for days – how wide of the mark am I?!

You can’t really fit that much in a camper van (or my old Saab for that matter) and traipsing around rural Denmark for flea markets can be a hit and miss affair, so it’s normally a case of bulk buying at auction and then having it all shipped back to the UK

- You must occasionally come across pieces, clearly having been discarded without knowledge of what it is. As an enthusiast, how exciting is it to unearth a real ‘lost’ gem?

I’m still looking for that ‘real lost gem’ (I think it only happens on Antiques Roadshow!). Although I have though been lucky enough to pick up a few US made pieces recently which are really quite rare to find outside America – a set of Paul McCobb chairs and an Andre Bus coffee table, both of which should make it to the pop-up shop at Upper St

- But being a wandering collector and purveyor of fine furniture isn’t what you’ve always done, is it? How did you start out and why?

Prior to launching antikmodern I worked in various marketing roles, they were well paid but not terribly exciting, so in 2009 after 15 years in the business I made the decision to try something new. I’d been collecting 20th century furniture for a number of years and had also started following a few style blogs (Secret Forts, Inventory, ACL), I thought a blog/ shop anchored in mid-century modern would be a great idea to develop – luckily things took off straight away and since then I haven’t looked back


- So how does running antikmodern help you better live how you wanted before you started and what are your tips on ‘Following The Dream’?

I work when and how I want which is great, but anyone who runs their own business knows it’s normally a lot of hard work and long hours. However, if you have a passion for something which you’re able to make a reasonable living from it rarely feels like a chore, you get to meet lots of interesting like minded people along the way and for me personally it doesn’t actually feel like a proper job

- Couldn’t help notice your penchant for The Cars, Tom Waits and classic 60s Pop/RnB via your blog – so what songs make your perfect soundtrack to successful furniture road-trip?

I’m not sure I have a perfect soundtrack for a road-trip. It’s usually just a case of whatever my most recent purchase is, which I then play to death before it falls to the bottom of the CD pile. There are a few artists I never seem to tire of though – Townes Van Zandt and Johnny Cash are a couple of my faves

- And your favourite books/mags (for when the radio packs in!)?

Books – anything that takes my fancy on the shelves of my local Oxfam

Magazines – Monocle, Inventory, Apartamento, Kinfolk

- When you’re not away furniture hunting, how does the perfect weekend play out (food, restaurant, sport etc etc)?

I work most weekends but a perfect day would include a run in the morning and either a pub lunch or an evening meal out with friends at a restaurant. The Village Pub at Barnsley (just outside Cirencester) and St John Bread and Wine (across the road from Albam’s Spitalfields store) are two places I always enjoy

Albam Presents antikmodern, 19 Jan – 17 Mar 2013, 286 Upper St, Islington, N1 2TZ