August 23 2011
The midcentury modern furniture vogue shows no signs of abating. To the cognoscenti of this craze, it’s mainly the functional, streamlined yet luxurious style of 1950s and 1960s Danish furniture that appears to be most popular. So Matt Evans and James Hooper have been canny in setting up Elliott & Tate, a company specialising in it, this year. Its rather curious name – neither Danish-sounding nor relating to the co-founders’ names – is taken from their mothers’ maiden names since they wanted to avoid a corny moniker such as “Vintage Danish Retro Store”.
Hip though this trend is, Evans and Hooper – who are both skilled joiners – haven’t jumped on the bandwagon. Hooper has restored furniture from this period for years, while Evans has collected it for 15 years. “We’ve always loved the great Danish designers Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl, Arne Jacobsen and Arne Vodder for their clean-lined designs and stunning wood grains,” says Evans. Elliott & Tate also stocks pieces by lesser-known names such as Erik Buch, Kai Kristiansen and Gunni Omann, suggesting that it has a more in-depth interest in this era than some other dealers.
“We restore most of the furniture,” says Evans, “and offer a restoration service for clients with their own items. We source all the pieces from Denmark, and ensure their authenticity.”
The furniture comes under the categories Lounge, Dining/coffee tables, Desk/storage and Chairs/stools – rather prosaic labels that belie the sheer, sleek glamour of the pieces. Take Wegner’s oak daybed (£895) and sofa covered in an original olive green fabric (third picture, £2,100), Omann’s rosewood desk (second picture, £2,499), Kristiansen’s paler oak desk (£1,428), six oak dining chairs with upholstered blue seats (first picture, £870) and coffee table incorporating very discreet drawers with barely noticeable handles (£714). Ultimately, these pared-down pieces have an appealing neutrality that, as Evans says, makes them “sit perfectly in both contemporary and classic interiors”.