Tag Archives: mid-century furniture

In defense of relationships

Chandelier by Enrico Fisti

Amazon’s new grab and go store’s technology allows you to slip your credit card into a reader, take what you want and go. Great huh! But some are skeptical. Everything is pre-packaged. One size fits all. What’s good for Amazon is good for us too? I doubt it because some of us are gonna want mustard and some mayo! We’re spending more time online and less and less time making friends. Is shopping only about getting stuff fast at the cheapest possible price? Why else do we shop? What makes us go to one place over another? Is it desireable for us to avoid human interaction? I worry that Amazon’s new store kills communication and kills jobs. Their website has done the same to many small businesses. Admittedly technology has helped us all but I think there are also negatives.

The poet and cleric John Donne wrote in 1623.

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were. Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

From that perspective cashier lines aren’t so bad. This was posted by my facebook friend Jackson McCard;

On this drizzly night in New York, getting coffee

Me: Thank you sir, for the coffee

Guy behind the counter: You’re welcome. Would you like a bag for your head?

Me: I beg your pardon ?!?!?!

Guy behind the counter (embarassed): For the rain.


The internet connects us with  people. It’s a miracle. It’s also contributed to a lot less face to face interaction. And it’s killing brick and morter one store at a time.

Dezzen’s interview with Rem Koolhous reported large buildings, going up in rural America, for fulfillment and farm equipment. They’re too big to build in cities. The face of the countryside is changing. The shocking thing is these buildings are designed for machines, not humans.  Expensive enormous farm machines are shared by “partner farmers”. Machines so big that their size and cost dictates where the farms are physically located. These giant machines replace workers and their buildings ominously intrude on the landscape. While more efficient They’re putting our people out of work.

An evolving movement of young people rejects agribusiness and its advanced technologies. My son, an ivy league butcher, (a small group for sure) is working with small farmers. These young farmers value human enterprise respecting the animals and the earth. While they don’t reject technology in toto, their preference for more sustainable farming, and relationship building is making their lives more meaningful. These are the men and women of the farm to table movement.

I’m envious of their communities. It’s something I think is increasingly lost in the antiques business. Online marketplaces have made it possible to buy antiques and 20th century design, from dealers with whom you’ve never spoken. We can buy design without seeing it in the flesh. By promoting shopping convenience we’ve made walk in customers more and more scarce. The justifications for keeping an open shop are dwindling and many are closing. The same technology that was to increase our reach is making it increasingly difficult to build the person to person relationships that are essential to the health of the antiques business. The teaching that goes with essential hand examination of older pieces is being put aside. Fakes are evermore present as less and less people take time to see pieces in the flesh and learn how to tell the real from the fake.

I’m hoping as we create closer community ties in response to these unsettling times, we’ll learn that people and working directly with them makes us truly happy. I’m hoping our experiences will lead us to consider how we do business with each other and the value of trust and meaningful interpersonal interaction.

Come by! We want to share our knowledge and experience with you. We want the close personal relationships with you that are developeloped by face to face meeting. Talking with customers about antiques has been one of the great pleasures of what I do and I think that pleasure is mutual.

After the holidays come in and see us. We’ll make you a cup of tea and talk antiques.

Book Signing November 9th



Please Join us on November 9th at Good Design from 3-7 to welcome our good friend Torinese Architect Davide Alaimo and to celebrate the publication of his two books. Davide has written two scholarly books which document for the first time the productions of Cristal Art and of Colli. Cristal Art was a glass company making products in Turin whose mirrors have been shown by dealers for a number of years. In February I wrote a blog about Cristal Art. I’m planning another soon about Pier Luigi Colli and his company. Both Torinese makers were important manufacturers in mid century Italy but up until now it was difficult or impossible to find documentation and misattributions were being made. Now we have Davide’s two works which include original drawings and catalog images from their company’s archives. Come meet Davide and see these important new works and meet their author!

Good Design
200 Lexington Avenue Suite 423 NYC.
212 722 1110


Look Closely Again And Again

Last week, I was very excited to see a larger version of appliques that I have in my home. They were shown in an auction catalogue and attributed to the influential Italian architect Tomasso Buzzi. Buzzi was friends and colleagues with Gio Ponti during the 1920’s and 1930’s. I’d bought my appliques, a single leafed pair, a dozen years ago from a dealer who knows Buzzi’s work well. She hadn’t said the sconces were by Buzzi when I bought them. My sense is that they are by Barovier but this attribution of Buzzi made me look into it further.

The auction catalog sited page 399 in the Marino Barovier book “Tomasso Buzzi at Venini” by Skira 2014 as it’s documentation that the appliques were legitimately by Buzzi. This large and detailed book regarding the work of Tomasso Buzzi accompanied the splendid Buzzi exhibit that year in Venice.

During the summer of  2014 I was in Venice, and I went to see the exhibit a couple of times. It was exquisite! Set at the renowned Fondazione Giorgio Cini on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, it was a joy to behold. What Buzzi produced for Venini is amazing and I spent hours looking and studying. Somewhat minimalist, perfectly scaled, exquisitely colored, finely made, these pieces are remarkable examples of Murano glass. While I hoped my appliques were by Buzzi, my gut told me that the auction house attribution wasn’t right. While I love my little appliques I don’t see the hand of Buzzi in them. Still the question needed further investigation. Opening my copy of the exhibition catalogue to page 399 here is what I saw. Continue reading

R.M Schindler


The early modernist Lechner House by R. M. Schindler was featured on the cover of last Sunday’s New York Times Style Magazine.  Restored by architect Pamela Shamshiri, who lives in it with her two children, it’s a modernist’s dream. I poured over the article, noting every wonderful detail and marveled at the extent to which Shamshiri had gone to restore and renew this Schindler masterpiece. In my research I found a video made to market the house prior to its restoration.  It shows that much of Schindler’s original design had been renovated out of existence. Hat’s off to Ms Shamshiri for having restored and thus saved a noteworthy work by an important early modernist.  Continue reading

Announcing Gio Ponti Fabrics at Good Design

Gio Ponti Fabrics by Tre80.
Gio Ponti Fabrics by Tre80.

It’s my pleasure to announce that the Gio Ponti printed textiles will be available at Good Design. We are introducing these fabrics during What’s New What’s Next. Currently being produced by Tre80 whose founder is Fede Grampa,their production is exclusively authorized by the Gio Ponti archives.  These printed textiles are the result of a collaboration between her father, Luigi Grampa and Gio Ponti in the 1950’s. Mr. Grampa’s company, Manufattura JSA, located in Busto Arsizio was one of the chief printed textile concerns in Italy. Ms. Grampa is honoring us with a presentation on Ponti and his relationship with JSA. It should prove to be a very personal glimpse into Mid-Century Italian design. Her talk will begin at 5:45 P.M. on September 22nd. Please register for What’s New What’s Next Here.