It’s not everyday you meet someone who willingly arises at 4:30am to hunt down vintage lamps! Passionate about unearthing iconic designs, Chris founded Objects of Interest 20c to live out his dream of working as a collector and dealer of vintage pieces. He talked to us about the rise of ‘Early Ikea’, sourcing Mad Men lamps in Barcelona and where you should spend the weekend in London!
Why did you become a vintage collector and dealer?
I always bought and sold stuff. When I was younger I bought a lot of old cameras and sold them on Brick Lane and over the Internet. I realised that I could still do it as an adult and so I got an Anglepoise lamp. As with cameras, it enticed me to learn more about these items and suddenly I have a huge number of lamps and it has gone way too far!
The reason I started doing it as a business was because I could be my own boss. I worked in a job for a long time, but it was merely a job and not something I enjoyed. I’d rather be happy doing something everyday which brings me satisfaction.
Who is your favourite designer?
I really enjoy Bauhaus. It’s not a designer as such and more a field of design but Bauhaus inspires me very much. It was not just about designing furniture or architecture but it was about designing a new way of life.
What would be your dream vintage find?
I actually don’t know if I could answer that! There’s a thousand things on the list. I think one of my favourite things about sourcing furniture is actually going out and hunting down items rather then just seeing them on the Internet. Part of it is being there in the moment and experiencing that find, realising what something is. It’s not about necessarily seeing something and wanting it because it’s in front of you on the screen. For me, I love the thrill of the find having really looked for it. If I stumble across something great, I’m extremely happy!
What is the favourite piece you’ve sourced?
It was a Fase Boomerang 64 lamp. I bought it in Barcelona in this tiny little shop. The guy took me upstairs and I saw it and thought, ‘Oh my’. These lamps were really on trend a few years ago because there was one on the desk from Mad Men. I was lucky enough to find one in a colour that I’d never seen before.
What parts of being a furniture dealer do you most enjoy?
For me sourcing is the best part, going out and finding stuff. On Tuesday I left my house at 4:30am! I hadn’t been out shopping for the whole of Christmas so I was really eager. Sourcing something, finding something, and knowing a customer will receive this piece that you have found and be really pleased and blessed with it is a great feeling.
What do you think is going to be popular in the future?
Early Ikea designs have already started trading hands for good money. Early Ikea is actually going to become quite sought after. Ten years ago we had so many Victorian pieces and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of that came back because there’s a lot of quality. As we get further along in time pieces start to lack that quality of craftsmanship.
Which famous person’s home would you love to sneak peek into?
I would say the fashion designer Paul Smith. He is known to be an avid collector. I’ve seen pictures of his home with strange and peculiar objects which I find incredibly interesting.
Best way to spend weekend?
Columbia Road Flower Market. Primeur restaurant, go for the small plates. I’m a big fan and I’d eat there every day if I could afford to! For markets, go to Portobello for a day. It’s a really great atmosphere. It has made an interesting transition from the 50s – when it was quite a poor area – to becoming to one of the wealthiest parts of London but it still has a great atmosphere.
Browse all vintage lighting in the Objects of Interest 20c collection here.