Boasting record online sales in vintage furniture last year, American online marketplace 1stdibs has now expanded to include mid century Scandinavian furniture. We talk to the site’s founder Michael Bruno about his recent trip to Copenhagen and Stockholm and what inspired the introduction of his new ‘Scandinavian Modern’ collection to the website.
Galeri Feldt/House of Finn Juhl; Photograph 1stdibs
What share of the marketplace does mid-century furniture hold for 1stdibs?
It’s hard to know because the global market is not tracked in a reliable way. I can tell you that in 2013, 1stdibs dealers did over 1 billion dollars in overall sales, more than a 50% increase over 2012. I believe we will see similar growth in 2014.
Are there any trends that you’ve observed in the sale of mid–century furniture?
The market continues to expand globally for mid century design. In addition to consumers wanting to own unique pieces that are collectable, they also want pieces they can purchase immediately, which is one of the great advantages of buying vintage design online.
Scandinavian furniture remains arguably the most popular among vintage collectors in the UK, is this true of the US as well?
The US is by far the world’s largest market for design and the areas of collecting are centered on Italian, Scandinavian, American and French pieces.
roxyklassik.dk; Photograph 1stdibs
We hear you’ve been on a recent tour of Stockholm and Copenhagen, adding a Scandinavian furniture ‘category’ to 1stdibs – what led your decision to extend into this specialism?
Scandinavian design has been desirable for hundreds of years. The best Scandinavian antiques, with their fine design and slender profile, were the precursor to today’s Mid century Modern. Extending into the Scandinavian furniture market was natural for us, it was just a matter of timing. I like to personally visit every market to meet the dealers in their galleries before we launch the region.
Is there still plenty of original Scandinavian furniture available in these regions?
It’s the ultimate source, just visit the galleries and you will see some of the finest examples available.
What was the most interesting learning you took from your trip to Scandinavia?
I learned that you might go hungry if you are not in the mood for a five-course meal! There are more Michelin star restaurants in Scandinavia than in most parts of the world.
Do you have any recommendations for Scandinavian furniture design stores?
Of all the streets in Stockholm, Sybyllegaten in the Ostermalm neighborhood is the best for vintage design and antiques. In one fell swoop you’ll find the galleries Modernity, Jacksons and Sjostrom-Antik, each specialising in Scandinavian furniture, ceramics, glass, lighting and jewellry. In Copenhagen, I recommend The Apartment, a recently restored 18th century apartment in Christianshavn, in which owners Tina Seidenfaden Busck and Pernille Hornhaver sell 20th century furniture and contemporary design. There’s also Fil de Fer, Galeri Feldt/House of Finn Juhl, Modern.dk, Roxy Klassik – all of which stock Scandinavian furniture and objects.
reModern.dk; Photograph 1stdibs
Do you collector mid-century Scandinavian furniture yourself?
I have a brick Georgian mansion built in 1900 on a lake. Because it’s so large I painted it all white and stained all the floors black. It’s the perfect backdrop for mixing antiques and 20th century design. Most of whatI have is from 1stdibs dealers around the globe with about half of it being mid-century and the other half being antique.
Do you have a favourite mid-century designer?
Arne Jacobsen, Jean Michael Frank and Gio Ponti are all favourites of mine.
1stdibs appears to have grown dramatically in the last 10 years. What are your plans for the future?
Online luxury is a fast growing category. According to a new study released by Bain & Company, the online luxury market experienced 28% annual growth in 2013 and came close to reaching nearly 5% of total luxury sales. We are meeting this rapid growth by expanding into more markets and making it easier to buy and sell to anyone any place on earth.
Check out the Scandinavia Modern Collection at 1stdibs
Find out about collecting Tapio Wirkkala jewellry
Take a look at the Copenhagen home of Danish design Great Finn Juhl