PART 2: How to Buy a Vintage Mid-Century Chair?

 

So we powered through Part 1 of this Designer Guide: How to buy a vintage mid-century chair! Click here to read it now.

Welcome to Part 2! This is where we give you the lowdown on where we sweep and hunt and find the gems. Half the fun in vintage furniture shopping is most certainly in the hunt.

Do you like flea markets and junk sales? How imaginative are you when scouting for pieces? Do you get put off by the dust and cobwebs? Can you see beyond the scratches and age marks? Do you appreciate the patina of aged metals or worn wood? Do you embrace the joys and disappointment of seeking one-off items? Do you view something used as old or full of life and history?  Are you hopping with pure delight when you've procured something unique and characterful? The experience of vintage furniture shopping can be incredibly sensorial and emotional, so be warned.

 Jean Prouve chairs by 1st dibs

Jean Prouve chairs by 1st dibs

I've included both online and local shops where I would hunt for vintage Finn Juhl and other mid-century designer chairs. There are tons of other furniture like consoles, dressers, benches, tables, cabinets but for this post, we are focused on the chairs so here they are:

ONLINE

1st dibs

By a long mile, it has the best online collection of vintage mid-century furniture. Their stocks move quickly and there are always new items listed. They run a slick and solid operation and I trust their process of vetting dealers and collectors. Website works beautifully and their app is pretty user-friendly. What's important here is trust and accessibility. Their sellers understand the international demand and can easily arrange fuss-free international shipping options. Overall, a very solid starting place for vintage chairs.  

Chairish

Based in San Francisco, this platform for vintage furniture, art and curio fares better than many of the other reseller sites out there. I have seen a handful of good quality Finn Juhl chairs and Barcelona chairs listed here for competitive prices.

Pamono

Very beautiful site with plenty of mid-century options here depending on what you're seeking.

Social media and online vintage sites have elevated this form of vintage furniture hunting to new heights. There are just so many options available with easy and hassle-free international shipping. How lucky are we to be living in an age where we can deal with antiques and vintage furniture with a few clicks of a mouse or with an app. Having said that, I have learnt that nothing really beats seeing, touching and smelling the purchase wherever possible. Which brings me to my next section on buying a vintage mid-century chair:

GOING LOCAL

Where possible, I would always seek out and support local artisans and traders because one would be silly to ignore the gems in our community. Go in, talk to those who are in the know, their stories are far more enriching to our lives than a slick phone app.

Here are some fantastic Singapore vintage dealers & retailers in this section. I hope to continue adding more to the list!

 Image by Noden

Image by Noden

NODEN

Splendid store with drool-worthy furniture. One of the Singapore's best kept retail secrets and this is why. They are tucked away in a godown style warehouse probably as old as many of their refurbished vintage furniture pieces. This place is curated and run by Scandinavian mid-century design connoisseurs Tawan and Marko, something they execute with great pride and passion. Their intimate knowledge of every piece of furniture is remarkable and their attention to every scratch, blemish & detail gives me great comfort that I'm dealing with professionals. Who take their work seriously. And I truly admire that. All their finds are original and personally sourced in Copenhagen before given some TLC by their wonderful artisan restoration team. And thank goodness, there is not a replica in sight here. 

I would highly recommend checking them out if you're looking for an original vintage chair or furniture. The experience of being amidst so many exquisite pieces leaves me in awe each time I visit. I feel invigorated after stepping out. It's undoubtedly a happy place to be even if you are new to the journey of collecting vintage furniture.

MOBLER SINGAPORE

 Mobler Singapore

Mobler Singapore

Mobler Singapore is run by the beautiful and beguiling Emilie Heden and her sister. I wouldn't underestimate her Swedish vigor nor her deep love and passion for vintage furniture and decor. Her style is effortless and chic. The aesthetic here is certainly more eclectic with a Scandi twist - imagine moose head antlers mixed with Windsor chairs and 19th century cabinets. There is an unmistakably weathered feel to all their pieces, like they were plucked from a barn in the middle of rural Sweden. The pieces span different periods and genres so one can expect a clever collision of traditional Swedish farmhouse meets mid-century in this warehouse showroom. 

When I visited Emilie at her showroom on a hot sweltering afternoon, I was in hunt mode. I had a list of things and I wanted to tick them off. Wrong. Frame. Of. Mind. Reset. There were treasures everywhere. Often, the most humble pieces, like a beaten up farm table holding up the collection of medicinal jars and glassware, are the unsung heroes in a vintage store so roll up those sleeves, it's time to dig and prod away. Treasures befall those who aren't intimidated or put off by the imperfections and patina of old furniture.

So there you go, I hope you enjoyed this run down. Don't be intimidated by vintage furniture or chair shopping. Embrace the experience, especially the human experience, of creating community spirit, of reveling in history, making memories, and deepening our soulfulness.

It's been a lovely long post and I hope you'll come back again for more Designer Guides! 

Stacey

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