Industrial style is hot, hot, hot! I love that it is, but the market’s become oversaturated with inexpensive industrial reproductions. I’ve been doing authentic vintage industrial design in the Cedros Design District for over fourteen years now, longer than any of the chain stores who’ve since jumped on the bandwagon. But, in reviewing the past year, I, too, found myself sucked in to the abundance and affordability of “made in _______” knock-offs. Since true vintage and antique industrial pieces have become so scarce and thus expensive, these mass-produced options were tempting. But, I feel as I surrendered to the temptation, I lost my true intention.
It’s time to get back to my roots. While I’ll continue to source affordable well-made accessories and gifts, I’m searching farther afield for the good stuff. I’m digging deeper. I’m tapping into my well of artists and craftsmen to collaborate on more one-of-a-kind pieces. I’d rather spend my buying budget with these creative souls … it’s a win-win. I much prefer selling one fabulous vintage $2000 table or original artwork than ten or twenty cheap, poorly made pieces of ….
Imagine the time I’ll save not having to peel off millions of “made in Chindia” stickers! More time to blog!
Are you with me?
Note: One of my goals this year is to be more prolific with my blogposts. When I started the blog last Spring, I was planning to post weekly. But, life got in the way and weekly became bi-monthly became monthly became occasional! If I can at least accomplish a monthly post, I’ll be happy. So, by the skin of my teeth, I just made January!
//Photos: Jennifer Price
It’s time for “What Was It?”, where you try to guess what it was before it became what it is! We’re famous for reimagining found objects into functional pieces, particularly lamps.
What do you think this was before we turned it into a hanging light? Answer here.
// Photo: Jennifer Price
Ooooh, couldn’t wait to share my newest find! Arriving in the shop this week is this fabulous antique cobbler’s bench. Beautifully crafted with dovetail joints, it’s rare to find these early benches so sturdy and complete with all fourteen drawers perfectly intact. Many of these older pieces can tend to have a cutesy country look to them, but the clean lines and apothecary-type drawers make this one feel more rustic industrial. And in my opinion, it has just the right amount of wear & tear.
Probably dating from the mid 1700’s to late 1800’s, I’m struggling to pin down its age, as I haven’t come across another example quite like it. I always learn a lot from my customers, so if you’re knowledgeable about this primitive piece, please share!
// Photo: Jennifer Price
On a visit to a flea market in Buenos Aires 15 years ago, one of my vendors came across a family selling a collection of beautiful vintage seltzer bottles from the 1930’s. He bought all that he could carry, bonded with the family and promised to stay in touch. Back in the states, he showed them to designers and sold out of them immediately. Realizing the demand for these cool pieces, he contacted the family about getting more. On his next visit to Argentina, he decided to set the family up with their own business, collecting and restoring the bottles. He helped them learn to use the Internet, open a bank account, take orders by fax or email, etc., thus developing their own local enterprise. He then buys the finished products from the family and resells them to customers in the U.S. Since then, he’s worked with many families all over Argentina, fostering small business development and recycling classic pieces from the past.
For years, I’ve lusted over these amazing seltzer pendant lights and finally got to use them in a design project. Made from original metal-clad Argentine bottles, the nozzles removed, bottoms sheared off and fitted with UL approved electrical components, these lights create an industrial statement with a warm authenticity. Installed over the bar at Zel’s Del Mar, my favorite local café, I get to enjoy them regularly and love sharing the story behind them.
I currently have limited stock of the pendant lights available at my shop.
// Photo Zel’s Del Mar: Ed Chan