August 27, 2008

Don't Sit On That! Kids Chairs In Fancy Pairs, Via 1st Dibs

I remember when 1st Dibs was just an email blast back to the States of one designer's weekly finds at the Paris flea market. But after signing up hundreds of shops around the world, it has long since turned into a global portal for the kind of antique furniture that's bought by people who don't want kids around--trophy wives, upscale suburban grande dames, and old-school gay decorators from before the "let's adopt!" generation. So needless to say, I was surprised to type "children's" into the 1st Dibs search box, and to get back something other than "0 results."

What jumps out at me: chairs, lots of chairs, and most often in pairs. Here are a few highlights, listed in order of ascending alarm when a kid actually tries to sit on one:


Vintage kid-sized "La Fonda-style" shell chairs by Burke, offered by Glo [Miami]
That's right, vintage knockoffs. Eames Studio did the original variation on their own shell chair for Alexander Girard's midtown restaurant and design utopia, La Fonda del Sol, and soon thereafter, Burke and Arkana were knocking it off. These chairs have original fabric, which is very important when shopping for vintage knockoffs. $1,175.


Wooden children's chairs by Ilonka Karasz, c. late 1920's, at Alan Moss [NYC]
The prolific Hungarian artist/designer decorator Ilonka Karasz worked in New York City; she did a lot of covers for The New Yorker, and made a lot of Austrian modernist-inspired furniture, including a teak chair that's in the Met's collection. It took me a while to realize there's not some doodad in that gap at the bottom; it's just a circle cutout. Anyway, they're nice, but not priced, so I expect they're expensive.


Gilded Children's Chairs by Carol Leskanic, Aero Studio [NYC]
The sheer ridiculousness of these chairs is surpassed only by their sheer awesomeness. An otherwise ordinary pair of wooden children's chairs were oil-gilded using white gold leaf, then decorated with a free-form spiral of dots, all by Cornwall, Connecticut's most prominent contemporary gilder, Carol Leskanic. The price of these two chairs is as irrelevant as it is unpublished, since you'll have to buy two more, plus a table, to really make it work.


Perhaps this is for those people who like those creepy stuffed children with no faces that stare into the wall.

oooooh, love the girard knock offs! can't resist that silhouette :)

So no sooner do I state (in my most authoritative tone) during an interview with a journalist that vintage "knock-offs" are extremely rare for most classic mid-century modern designs, then some blogger named Greg has to go and feature a really cool pair of Eames La Fonda knock off chairs - in child size, no less! AAAAaaargh.

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