Sourcing 20th Century Design for Modern Living

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    There’s used furniture, and then there’s Design Consigned, some of the world’s most coveted furniture, lighting and design objects that come with history and provenance. For those looking for great style, but who don’t necessarily have the budget: read on.

    Conceived by interior designer Mel de Campo in 2016, it was her time working with a leading interior design studio that prompted her move into selling preloved contemporary designs predominantly from the 20th century to the more recent past. “I’m interested in keeping things local, rather than bringing pieces in from overseas,” Mel says, whose first transaction in the early days was a chandelier by Frank Lloyd Wright. Items come with history, such as the Thonet chairs brought to Australia by a Viennese family fleeing the Second World War. “I call my furniture and objects my ‘orphans’. I protect them and try to find their next home,” she adds. 

    In partnership with Design Consigned

    While the elderly couple selling their Thonet chairs were downsizing into an apartment, many young couples renovating their first home are seeking top-end designed furniture with a history. At de Campo’s warehouse, it’s a treasure trove of designer items including the work of Patricia Urquiola, Verner Panton and Le Corbusier. There’s even a commemorative ceramic plate by Marcel Wanders, almost a metre in width and originally designed for the opening of the new B&B Italia showroom in Milan.

    In the mix, one can find an LC7 armchair from Cassina designed in 1928 by Charlotte Perriand for her own apartment in Paris, whilst working as an apprentice for the legendary architect, Le Corbusier. The price tag is $4,800.

    In another part of the warehouse, this writer spots a rare ‘Party Set’ designed by Verner Panton in the late 1960s. Akin to a set of Russian dolls where each piece magically appears, this plywood table has four stools stored inside, each with a leather seat. “It’s perfect for those living in a small apartment, yet still like entertaining. And when one’s guests have gone home, you can pack the stools away and use the table next to the bed,” Mel says, who is selling this unique design for $5,000. “I love seeing pieces take on a new life. I find often people have a tendency to be blinkered as to where furniture can be placed and I like to open their eyes to possibilities,” she adds.

    “I love seeing pieces take on a new life. I find often people have a tendency to be blinkered as to where furniture can be placed and I like to open their eyes to possibilities.”

     

    – Mel de Campo

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    The Party Set designed by Verner Panton in the late 1960s.

    While Panton’s Party Set will be unfamiliar to most people, the ‘Tufty Time’ sofa by Patricia Urquiola is coveted by those looking for great-looking contemporary furniture. Presently, de Campo has two white wool upholstered Tufty Time elements in her warehouse, priced at $8,800, along with a chaise in chartreuse and an ottoman in black leather. “Some of these pieces will find their way into holiday homes or sometimes places where there are short-stay guests, children or pets. You can get nervous taking a new designer piece into these homes,” Mel says.

    Although de Campo has a large collection of enviable pieces to sell, there are a couple of chairs that will remain in her own home. She has two Warren Platner wire chairs with black velvet backrests (circa 1966). “They’re just so glamorous. I feel like I’m in Hollywood on the stage set of Shampoo, circa 1975 starring Warren Beatty,” Mel adds.

    “Some of these pieces will find their way into holiday homes or sometimes places where there are short-stay guests, children or pets. You can get nervous taking a new designer piece into these homes…”

     

    – Mel de Campo

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    Warren Platner designed the Platner Armchair in 1966.

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