Covid-19 (coronavirus) means we’re living in unprecedented and uncertain times. Mass public gatherings are banned, some travel is restricted and minimal social contact is recommended. For the most up-to-date health information, visit the Department of Health.
It’s every collector’s dream to come across a mid-century masterpiece with a $10 tag on it. Unless you’ve got a lot of time on your hands to trawl through op shops, you might need to swap the regional second-hand shops for something a little more specialised. Here’s a list of stores around Australia that are worth travelling to in order to find the Eames chair of your dreams.
Retro Room, SA
In a couple of years, Kathy White’s Retro Room went from being a hobbyist’s market stall to being a full-blown bricks-and-mortar furniture emporium. Speaking to Broadsheet in July last year, White explained how her love for mid-century design has combined with her anti-waste philosophy: "I’m passionate about recycling. I think we throw away far too much, and we buy too much disposable furniture." White restores much of the furniture herself, scouring salvage yards and garage sales for a promising piece and lovingly bringing it back to life. When a rent-free spot opened up via Renew Adelaide, White took the opportunity to transition from market stall to permanent retail space, and six months on, Retro Room has become the place in Adelaide to look for modernist design.
37 East Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000
The Modern Furniture Store, QLD
When you think of mid-century design, you probably think of Scandinavia. The Nordic countries have a rich heritage of clean, functional design – and if you want something that ticks those boxes (and isn’t from IKEA), you’d be well-advised to make a visit to The Modern. The store specialises in exactly the sort of understated, elegant design that has become synonymous with northern Europe. As its website explains, the inspiration for the store “grew from a long held appreciation of the simple form and functionality of Scandinavian furniture design”. The Modern maintains collections of mid-century modern, and Scandinavian and Danish modern pieces both vintage and contemporary, which means there’s something for pretty much everyone.
69 James St, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006
20th Century Vintage, WA
Perth institution 20th Century Vintage specialises in, well, 20th-century vintage. The store’s buyers comb estate sales, op shops and garage sales so you don’t have to – resulting in an ever-changing inventory and a rapid turnover. (The blog is a fascinating insight into this process, cataloguing exactly how 20th Century Vintage came by some of the pieces on sale.)
216 Whatley Cres, Maylands WA 6051
Great Dane Furniture, NSW
Sydney’s Great Dane focuses as much on contemporary Scandinavian design as it does on vintage pieces, describing itself as “[a] curator of Scandinavian furniture and lighting”. Founder Anton Assaad started, like many others, by selling vintage pieces, but over the years he’s forged partnerships with designers old and new. While the Great Dane showroom on Oxford Street in Sydney has only existed since 2018, Assaad has been importing and selling Scandinavian furniture since the early 2000s. The store has built an impressive inventory of classic pieces, as well as an ever-evolving roster of contemporary designers.
344 Oxford St, Paddington NSW 2021
Nord Modern, VIC
As with many of the other stores on this list, Nord Modern started out as a hobby and became an obsession. Owner Jarrad Turner spoke to Broadsheet in September last year and explained how mid-century fever takes hold: “It starts out in the garage, and then you get a little space, and that turns into a showroom or a shop. And then before you know it you’re importing containers, and it’s sort of taken over.” Turner’s weakness is Danish design; about 80 per cent of the furniture here is from Denmark, so if you happen to be looking for something from that part of the world, go nuts. The store is also well-stocked with pieces from further afield, and if you’re after a specific purchase, Turner will help you hunt down your dream desk or dining table.
261 Albert St, Brunswick VIC 3056
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with MINI and is inspired by the MINI Countryman, the vehicle made for days spent exploring.