It was while trawling the internet for the perfect midcentury chair to grace his Paris home that Lionel Obadia realised there was no singular online source of his favourite designs. As a digital engineer who has worked for the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Obadia envisaged an all-encompassing marketplace that would allow shoppers to browse and buy items from a wide range of international galleries and individual dealers, complete with authentication checks, worldwide shipping and secure payment. And so in 2014, with business partner David Mimouni, he launched Design Market, a site specialising in midcentury design (examples in first picture) from some 300 galleries in Europe.
This specialism keeps the edit tight (far more so than on the behemoth that is 1stdibs), and there are regular updates to the 8,000-plus pieces listed for sale. The site’s major sellers are, as you’d expect, pieces by the likes of Charles and Ray Eames and Arne Jacobsen, but there is plenty of diversity. New listings, for example, include a set of four 1950s Gio Ponti Superleggera chairs (€5,880) for Cassina, a glamorous 1970s Italian drop chandelier (€1,260) from Gaetano Sciolari and a bright yellow Pop-esque 1970s folded coffee table (€630) by France Bertin. There are also beautiful anonymous pieces, such as a pair of 1950s green velvet lounge chairs (€2,060, second picture).
The design classics are snapped up fast; a pair of 1960s Alta chairs by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer recently sold for €30,000 a piece, and several 1950s Pierre Jeanneret chairs from the Le Corbusier-designed Indian city Chandigarh for between €10,000 and €20,000. And for those looking for an exact item, the Paris-based team will scour their galleries until the right one becomes available.