Six cult shops for vintage design

Where to seek out rare, classic and idiosyncratic objets from East Sussex to Santa Fe

Alex MacArthur in her eponymous store in Rye, East Sussex
Alex MacArthur in her eponymous store in Rye, East Sussex | Image: Sophia Spring

Alex MacArthur

“I love big pieces, both in terms of scale and impact, and there are no limits here,” says antiques dealer Alex MacArthur of her eponymous shop set in a 14th-century former Augustinian friary in the town of Rye, on the East Sussex coast. Here she can indulge her passion for grand architectural pieces from the 17th century through to the 1980s. Examples range from a French c1890 iron spiral staircase (£6,950) to a 1970s Italian brass and glass dining table (£4,950). Devoted clients – a mix of hoteliers, interior designers and private customers – come seeking decorative statement pieces, such as an imposing 3.5m-long bronze bull she shipped over from Turin and was snapped up for a client’s sculpture garden. Lighting is a trademark, particularly 1960s Parisian Holophane streetlights (£1,500 each) for domestic use, often by adding brass detailing. alexmacarthur.co.uk. ELISA ANNISS

Alfonso Icaza Aresti, founder of Madrid midcentury specialists Bakelita
Alfonso Icaza Aresti, founder of Madrid midcentury specialists Bakelita | Image: Gianfranco Tripodo
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Bakelita

“The appeal of antique furniture from the Victorian and Georgian eras has been waning for decades and, in its place, people want the sort of lighter 20th-century pieces that are typical of the genre we focus on,” says Alfonso Icaza Aresti, who worked at Sotheby’s auction house before setting up shop in his native Madrid 12 years ago. His is an ultra-glamorous take on the midcentury trend, focusing on pieces from France, Italy and the US. “I’ve had some quite rare and valuable pieces through my hands, such as a remarkable blue glass and talossel framed mirror by Line Vautrin, and a red lacquer dining table by the celebrated British interior designer David Hicks.” Current stock includes a pair of 1960s golden-hued egg-shaped Murano glass lamps and a pair of 1950s bamboo and marble coffee tables attributed to Gabriella Crespi (both POA). bakelita.com. SIMON DE BURTON

Shiprock’s Jed Foutz, a fifth-generation dealer in rare Native American textiles and artefacts
Shiprock’s Jed Foutz, a fifth-generation dealer in rare Native American textiles and artefacts | Image: Steven St John
Ulla Jahn, founder and owner of Hamburg design mecca Func
Ulla Jahn, founder and owner of Hamburg design mecca Func | Image: Christian Kerber

Shiprock

“Some dealers are collectors, but I like finding homes for things,” says Jed Foutz, a fifth-generation dealer in rare Native American textiles and artefacts, who operates from a six-room space overlooking the central plaza in Santa FeNew Mexico. “It’s soulful,” adds Foutz of his collection that at any one time could include a classic and highly collectable 19th-century Navajo blanket ($55,000), a midcentury black-on-black ceramic vessel ($3,500) from San Ildefonso Pueblo, or a c1950 three-strand necklace of turquoise and coral nuggets ($9,500). The ultra-Instagrammable Rug Room alone is worth the trip, full as it is with historic hand-spun textiles in saturated hues of vermilion and indigo. shiprocksantafe.com. CHRISTINA OHLY EVANS

New York decorative objects/jewellery shop De Vera
New York decorative objects/jewellery shop De Vera
Isaac Pineus, left, and Andrew Duncanson of Modernity, in Stockholm
Isaac Pineus, left, and Andrew Duncanson of Modernity, in Stockholm | Image: Felix Odell

Func

“I’m a treasure hunter,” confesses Ulla Jahn, founder and owner of Func, a Hamburg design mecca specialising in industrial furniture and midcentury classics. Jahn’s passion for design is palpable and, as well as sourcing popular classics such as a Mies van der Rohe Barcelona daybed for Knoll, she has a knack for uncovering rare special editions. Among them are an iconic Arne Jacobsen Egg chair from the first small production series of 1958 and a 1962 tandem shell seating system by Ray and Charles Eames for Herman Miller (both POA). One of her favourite designs is the Poul Henningsen Artichoke light, an example of which she recently sold. “It’s the perfect combination of beauty and functionality.” funcfurniture.de. RUTH CAVEN

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De Vera

“This store is about things people were crazy enough to create,” says Federico de Vera. “I like the handiwork and attention to detail.” De Vera opened the eponymous decorative objects-cum-jewellery shop in SoHo in 2003 and has just moved to a new Chelsea location. The cult mix, however, remains the same, running from 19th-century statuary to Venetian glass and 200-year-old wooden figures originally found in churches in de Vera’s native Philippines. “There are some pieces here I was obsessed with for a long time before I could buy them. My customers are the same way. This is a shop of want.” deveraobjects.com. RIMA SUQI

Modernity

Stockholm’s gallery-centric Ostermalm area abounds with antiques dealers and design purveyors, but real aficionados of vintage Nordic design all know one name by heart: Modernity. The exquisitely curated shop was opened in 1998 by Andrew Duncanson, a Scot with a design retail background (who was later joined by Isaac Pineus), and is anything but a typically spare Scandi-chic setting. “I wanted to get away from the 50-shades-of-white Swedish norm,” says Duncanson, whose bounty of furniturelightingjewellery and decorative objects ranges from the swirling, layered beech Evolution ceiling lamp by Igor Munoz (£1,568) to a pair of sheepskin-covered 1940s Fritz Hansen easy chairs (POA). modernity.se. CHRISTINA OHLY EVANS

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