New service for furnishings

New antiques website 1stdibs promises to take the legwork out of the search for fabulous vintage furnishings for Londoners
Illuminated Fontana Arte mirror with glass shelf and blue plaques depicting mermaids, Italy 1950s (approx £7,800, Decoratum)<br />
Illuminated Fontana Arte mirror with glass shelf and blue plaques depicting mermaids, Italy 1950s (approx £7,800, Decoratum)
A dozen of the capital’s most stylish dealers have added selected stock to antiques website www.1stdibs.com, including Sean Berg Ltd, Talisman, Gordon Watson, Guinevere, De Parma and Decoratum.

The 1stdibs website started as the pastime of Californian downshifter Michael Bruno. After a lucrative career in real estate, Bruno decided to follow his dream: to live in Paris.

In 2000, he sold his San Francisco home and arrived in the French capital, with nothing but a few changes of clothes. He found an apartment and spent much time in the markets and antiques dealers of the city, sourcing furniture for his new home.

A large armchair and footstool by Warren Platner upholstered in original blue fabric, USA c1960 (approx £6,000, Talisman)
A large armchair and footstool by Warren Platner upholstered in original blue fabric, USA c1960 (approx £6,000, Talisman)
Visiting the traders daily, he was amazed at the quality and uniqueness of the pieces on offer, and the swift turnover of stock. Thinking the folks back home would enjoy a daily update on what was available there, 1stdibs was conceived.

An interior decorator’s delight


From the beginning, the site reflected Bruno's taste for high-quality 20th century lighting, furniture, glass and ceramics, mostly by named designers or makers, in great condition. Seven years on, his brainchild has developed into an interior decorator’s delight, displaying the cream of dealers’ stock from Paris to Palm Beach, New York to Miami. And now London is in the loop.

Illuminated Fontana Arte mirror in organic form, Italy 1950s (approx £7,800, Decoratum)
Illuminated Fontana Arte mirror in organic form, Italy 1950s (approx £7,800, Decoratum)
Prices on the new London section (all in dollars) go from about $2,000 to about $50,000. A pair of 1930s chiselled glass and chrome chandeliers by Fontana Arte costs $1,700 at De Parma. Gordon Watson offers a gorgeous pair of blue glazed Gunner Nylund vases, c1960, at $1,900. Guinevere has a spectacular Art Deco rosewood dining table, c1935, for $12,400.

A French Gothic mirrored cupboard, c1870 (approx £12,400, Talisman)<br />
A French Gothic mirrored cupboard, c1870 (approx £12,400, Talisman)
If you are after elegant Italian lighting and mirrors, check out Decoratum’s page: a 115cm-high Italian ‘diamond cut’ mirror costs $4,900, illuminated mirrors by Fontana Arte, $15,500, and a Venini chandelier, made from ‘spun sugar’ glass plaques is $6,500.

For those looking for sculptural, sleek, mid-century furnishings, Sean Berg Ltd has an excellent selection of quirky pieces from $720 for a simple triangular metal magazine rack, to $17,500 for a set of eight wire-framed, leather-upholstered Beaubourg chairs, designed in the 1960s by Michel Cadestin for the Pompidou Centre. Star of Berg’s section is a coffee table with mirrored top and macassar veneered legs, by Jacques Adnet, c1935, at $25,700.

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