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New Traditions

This is my 8th and last guest post here on FarFetchers, and I want you to know that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing these Tuesday posts. It’s been so much fun to share some of my design finds with you, and I hope you’ve enjoyed them too.

I can’t wait to continue reading new posts here on the blog from the FarFetchers and their unique finds around the world.

And while you’re here reading, do swing by their inventory of finely curate pieces. They source the world for us and I’m constantly inspired by what they find.

Today, meet Swedish furniture designer Sophia Lithell, who strongly believes in modernizing traditional craftsmanship in her design.

A while ago I came across her “Naver” stools. In the Scandinavian countries this birch bark is traditionally used to make baskets, cups and Christmas ornaments, but this Swede is taking the tradition to new heights with this beautiful stool.

Sophia Lithell has managed to blend tradition and modern design beautifully. Her ’Naver” stool is playful-looking with it’s unfinished edges that freely dance along the borders of the seat.


In her design she raises the issue of how the traditional craftsman needs to renew their way of thinking in order to thrive in todays design world. Earlier in January we featured the English furniture designer  Tortie Hoare, who also played around with this question choosing to incorporate the old technique of boiled leather in her furniture designs, creating ergonomically correct seats and chairs.

Sophia Lithell’s seat is created using a traditional craft of weaving birch bark into a basket, however she’s defying tradition with leaving the lightest colored side of the birch on the outside, and not completing the basked leaving its sides unfinished. Then turning it on its head she’s creating a new look to an old stool.


It’s encouraging to see an upswing of interest that young designers are showing in using traditional techniques to create new designs. In an era of mass production and cheap design solutions this speaks of interesting design times to come.

Written by: Marte Marie Forsberg

( Author of the blog Le voyage creatif )

Photo via: Sophie Lithell


Note from the Editor: Thanks to Marie. I don't know how you find all of these up and coming designers but we'll be watching your blog (and linking there) to see what you find next. Visit Marie's blog for some great interiors too.

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Better than Tolix?

Tolix chairs are wonderful but there are other great designers in the world of vintage metal chairs.  Below are a sampling of our finds in France this week

MULTIPL: this was (arguably) the first brand to make Bistro chairs that were nestable. Created by engineer Joseph Mathieu in 1922 they were hugely popular in restaurants in Paris and Lyon

This model is from about 1938 and has the signiture wooden "fibrocrit" seat stamped to look like aligator hide. Not to worry, no aligators were killed in its manufacture. These were sold very quickly and you can see why.

And here is another example of the metal seat design. This we found at the Paris Flea Market but sadly was also sold. 

Here are six vintage cream and "fibrocit" Multipls. They are Belgian models and represent the continuing tradition. Better than Tolix?  

Cute nicely worn Multipl stools in the classic design with metal seats.

SURPIL: This company created more than 40 models of industrial metal chairs.
They are a competitor to Tolix and were made from recycled welded steel tubes in the 30's and very popular in cafes and restaurants throughout France. The two shown are the first model Surpil made called the "avante-garde" chair Surpil still makes new versions which are available at 

CHAISE BIENNAISE:  Two nice examples of the Biennaise chair made in the 1920's, Versailles.

A Biennaise adjustable stool in nice condition

SINGER:  A singer stool with cast-iron foot and black leather seat (recovered.)



Here are four "compass" style adjustable stools made in 1950.

An unusual barber chair with adjustable back and headrest. Despite it's spare appearance, it is extremely comfortable (or so I'm told). 

Sources:  Nord-Ouest Antiquities, Metal and Woods, Du Cote Du Design, Dedale l'atelier

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Furniture That Seduces


It flexes, it bends, and it’s the yoga of chairs, constantly working that seat pose.

I often find myself drawn to more sturdy wooden furniture pieces that are committed to a lifelong relationship with me. The chair and table, from the contour line by Bodo Sperlin, are both pieces that can, even though they look fragile, stand the test of time with it’s classic lines and sensual curves. And since they are made of hardwood they will also age quite gracefully.

I’ll admit that I am in fact a tad seduced by their flexibility and playfulness, especially by the chair and it’s beautiful pose that I know for a fact I’ll never be able to do no matter how determined I am to practice yoga.

Bodo Sperlin is a boutique design consultancy led by designer Bodu Sperlin, and the sensual curves mentioned above is a part of their trademark when it comes to their in-house furniture line.

Bodu is originally from Germany but moved at a young age to England where he studied to become a product designer at what is now called the University of Arts London. Bodu has a long track record of working big international clients, but it’s his contour furniture line I fell for.

The sensual and curvatious chairs are just as perfect companions to a rustic long dinner table, as they are to a heavy round cements desk. They remind me of Danish classics from the golden design age of the 50’s and 60’s, and I have no doubt these chairs will go down in history as somewhat of a collectors item.

If you want more posts on great finds within the furniture and interior world, I daily update my design blog called Le voyage creatif

Written by: Marte Marie Forsberg

Photo via: Bodo Sperlein

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Discoveries this week

Rare dental cabinet from the 1920's standing five feet tall in brushed stainless glory. (Original Bakelite handles and glass doors).

A pair of Strafor metal cabinets. Interesting note: Steelcase headquartered in Michigan joined with Les Forges de Strasbourg (Strafor) in France and in 1926 became the Steelcase/Strafor joint venture. Below is a beautiful example of two STRAFOR cabinets


19th century rustic (and we mean RUSTIC) wood table.  this one is approximately six feet long.

Who needs another carrousel horse when you can have a carrousel pig?  Original paint circa 1900

1920's painting avec Jacques Russell

two original blue Tolix Bistro Tables. 


Double-sided 1930's Slave clock

Fun set of industrial stools

folding metal wash cabinet with marble top circa 1900

Capron coffee table from 1950 stone and wood. Four feet long

Slat wood chair 

Which do you prefer? Both are fun and durable (the coffee table measures five feet log.

Photos from Les Nouveaux Brocanteurs, Le Grenier,and  Nord-Ouest Antiquites

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The beautifully weathered


What is it with rusty and old that causes us to swoon over products that are so far from glamorous?

Whenever I show my grandmother about great new furniture pieces made from reclaimed wood, or objects that go under the chic-sounding name of industrial vintage, she just looks at me with an empty gaze. She cannot fathom why I would want own that rusty piece that looks like it belongs in an old garage.

Maybe it’s the sustainability aspect of it that is appealing, or maybe the uniqueness of each piece as none are alike. Maybe it’s the lack of shiny, perfect or fake that so often and so easily can be mass produced. 

Or maybe it's the intrigue of a very creative mind, that looks at all these torn, rusty and weathered objects, and gives them a second life by creating something new, that is so appealing to us? 

No matter what it is, this is the time of recycling and Sean Woolsey is a master at this blending of mixing old and new.

Sean Woolsey is an artist and a craftsman who creates great lamps that have the perfect weathered look from his Costa Mesa studio.

His background is in fashion, but recently he was looking for a carreer adjustment and looking to work with more challenging materials than fabric. So he rolled up his sleeves and got to work with salvaged wood and rusty objects he found.

On his site Sean Woolsey writes about his art as 'a marriage of the natural aging process and experimental techniques  which together create an almost otherworldly outcome... Where he; 'explores reworked, cast off materials blended with the new.'

And what a great blend it is!

These lamps have a beautiful sense of personality, and are ready to embark on a new life illuminating someones home.

Work like this, that makes use of materials that are already here, undergoes a hands on make over, and becomes something that can last a lifetime is an art-form.

If you want to see more of Sean's work go here.

Written by: Marte Marie Forsberg

(Author of the blog Le voyage creatif)

Photos via: Sean Woolsey

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Knit me a lamp

Having grown up in a home where my grandmother and mother were acomplished knitters, I’ve come to love the beautiful handmade products they create. However, I tend to be drawn to the more modern interpretations of this old folk craft.

When I spotted these great lamps from llot llov, a German design team, I just fell in love with their use of knit to create a soft lamp that can be arranged in any way you’d like.

In fact the RAY light has a cord that measures 12 meters. You can carry it with you, drape it around, tie it in a big knot or just gather it on the floor. The same goes for the smaller versions called MATT.


These lamps are great alone, but even more fun when many of them are tied together in a group over a dinner table or a reading chair.

The German design team behind the lamps, llot llov are quite versatile in their talents that span from creating these fun products to installations and interior spaces, but what makes me fall in love twice with the lamps they create is their mission statement.

In a world of mass production where the quality of the products and the people involved in production is less valued than the final profit, this design company desires only to work with smaller companies to ensure final quality of products, and personal communication.

The lamps are constructed around a steel frame and the shade is knitted from the softest Morino wool, the type we usually associate with a soft sweater or a feel-good blanket. It's all very hands on, and each lamps is made with great attention to detail and quality.


Both MATT and RAY become fun lamps when they take what can be a mechanical object and softened it, loosen it and made it changeable. With a 12 meter cord the lamps can easily move around the house with you creating a fun lighting element to play with. And if the lamp design and mission statement did not have you at hello, the energy saving light bulbs they use to produce the soft light will.


Written by Marte Marie Forsberg

(Blog author of Le voyage creatif)

Photo via llot llov

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Classic carpenter's tool becomes modern table leg


How many times on your travels haven't  you stumble upon a great barn door, a window, or parts of a wall or fence that just has that wonderful aged feel and texture you’d love to incorporate into your home? And it would be such a great “souvenir” from that trip to Istanbul or the south of France too!

French designer Stephane Choque has created a table leg modular system called Naja that can easily transform that barn door into your dream coffee table.

The Naja system opens up for creating tables out of any surface. In fact, it can modernize and give new life to many great tables where the legs are not doing the tabletop justice anymore as well.

It’s quite intriguing how, a designer like Stephane Choque, has taken an everyday tool from a carpenter’s workshop, and tuned it into a very functional object that all of a sudden breathes life into the dullest of surfaces.

The legs have the right curve to spruce up the most plain wooden square, and give it a bit of that vintage industrial feel. However if the legs are too rustic for you, Stephane Choque has created another set of table legs that might be more up you alley.

They are based on the same principal but are more modern in design and material use.

There's something so intriguing about a designer that draws inspiration from a mundane object and turns its function on its head.

Stephane Choque has really hit homerun with her Naja table leg module system.

Who would have thought that some carpenter clamps were going to bring that old table or barn door into your living room with such ease.

I think these legs are quickly becoming my favorite design idea so far this year!

And if you are in the mood for some more tables?

Do swing by FarFetchers vast collection of vintage tables here!


Written by: Marte Marie Forsberg

(Author of the blog Le voyage creatif )


Photos via Stephane Choque, Designboom and Trendhunter.

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Arne Jacobsen's Classic Egg Chair


There are some designers who have the ability to make something that captures the zeitgeist of the time, yet their products never seem to go out of style. They have managed to tap into something classic that we marvel at over and over again.

The Danish architect Arne Jacobsen is such a designer.

When I was 19 I started working as flight attendant for Scandinavian airlines spending much of my time in great hotels all over Europe. One of my favorite hotels was The Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, now a part of the Radisson SAS group. Arne Jacobsen was the head designer behind it's interior and furniture when it was built in 1958, it was one of the first designer hotels of the time.

The grand lobby is adorned with a giant spiral staircase that is a breathtaking statement piece, but make no mistake, the staircase may have you at hello, but it’s the egg chairs you want to secretly steal upon departure.

The egg chair has sensual curves, gives a sense of privacy with its “ears” on each side, and is beautiful to watch. Now, a chair cannot live long on its beauty alone, it need’s to fulfill it’s function as well, and the egg chair certainly does. I loved bringing the book down in the lobby in The Royal Copenhagen and curl up with a St Pellegrino in hand. The design of the chair allows you to nestle up and find the perfect position in. Not all designer chairs have that quality.Arne Jacobsen has contributed greatly to forming Danish modern design and is probably the most know Danish designers of the golden 50’s and 60’s.

The egg chair  Arne Jacobsen designed in the 50's is still in production, and although it has been made in many colors and types of fabric, I still have a soft spot for the original brown leather version that ages like a fine wine. That, to me, is the beauty of great classics; they become more and more valuable with time.

If you enjoyed the above post, do swing by Le voyage creatif, where I write daily on interior and furniture design.

Written by Marte Marie Forsberg

Photos via: Pop cultureCollectible-articles and Anne Sage

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Reclaimed and recovered made modern


Good design can be a very fluid concept, and the definition will change depending on whom you ask.

However, today it’s become more and more clear that in whichever way we define good design, it needs to have elements of sustainability to it, it needs to have a touch of green.

Want an example?

Well, let me take you to Buenos Aires.


In 2006, a cross-disciplinary design group called Gruba started up, with architect Maria Constanza Munez as the founder.

Maria desired a focus on sustainability, making use of already existing materials from the exterior and interior of old houses, and this became her passion.

Since Buenos Aires is in a construction boom, old houses are being torn down daily to make way for new buildings. Maria and her team chose this moment to create a limited furniture collection using reclaimed wood from these old homes.

With a mix of recycled wooden blinds and other recovered materials, they have merged history and future to create modern sustainable products.

Even if the silhouette is modern, the quiet curves in both the coffee table and seat give these pieces just the right amount of softness to not lose their personality.

Gruba has succeeded in creating modern furniture that is functional, aesthetically pleasing and sustainable—objects I’d love to have in my home.

Written by Marte Marie Forsberg

Photos via: Gruba

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Wood, leather and boiling water.

Just before Christmas, I got a surprise email asking if I’d be interested in contributing as a guest writer here on FarFetchers.

What a pleasant surprise, and yes, I’d be more than willing.

On a daily basis I blog at Le voyage creative, where I share with my readers my love for exciting interiors, furniture, travel and product design that move me.

When I discovered FarFetchers, I fell in love with their carefully curated pieces, from industrial vintage to rustic and retro. Each piece seemed to have a story to tell. They have that perfect worn-in look that begs you to incorporate them in your home.

(Go here to read a great entry on why we love the worn-in look)

So it’s with great pleasure that I’ll be writing a 'Tuesday guest post' here on FarFetchers that hopefully will inspire.

There’s an abundance of great design out there, and I try to sniff out designers who create something unique, somewhat timeless, and with attention to craftsmanship and detail.

Today I give you a seat that makes me swoon:

Tortie Hoare was awarded with the British designer of the year in 2010, and no wonder! 

Her design incorporates a thoughtful aesthetic, function, durability, and frankly has a cute sense of humor!

I grew up with old stools and seats around the kitchen table, and the first pieces of furniture I ever bought were two old wooden stools from an antique shop in Oslo.

In Tortie Hoare’s winning collection she has taken the simple stool and seat to a new, yet almost retro looking, height where she uses an old technique of boiling leather to make it harden, creating the ergonomically correct seat.

Not only does her design please the eye, but it’s also pleasing to the environment, as she constantly researches ways to make her furniture without harmful materials for the planet.

It's this kind of design that leave a lasting impression and has the quality to be handed down to generations to come.

Text by Marte Marie Forsberg

Photo via

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Pronounced "Ji eL Dé": Secret Sourcing

If you have ever seen a Jielde lamp you probably remember it. The first time I saw one I thought, wow I gotta get me one of those. It's partly because I was brought up on those cheap spring loaded office lamps that are so common and ugly that Jielde caught my eye. In the late 1940s Jean-Louis Domecq, a mechanic, decided that he would have to design a lamp from scratch. It took him 3-4 years and several iterations but what he produced was not only a great lamp but a company that thrives even today—the company named from his initials pronounced in French "Ji eL Dé" or Jieldé.

Which brings me to a product we had listed from Objets en Transit, a great industrial dealer in Marche Dauphine. It was sold but another customer fell in love with it and asked us to find one for her.  Here is the original.



The customer loved it but wasn't sure if it was the right height, after all Jean-Louis did account for several different configurations of his perfect lamp. And she was not sure if she wanted a restored one or one with the grime of years in a factory (we call that patina in the antiques business).  We are always up for a hunt so we went looking for more Jielde. 

First stop Nord Ouest Antiquities who had several wall mounted examples of two arm lamps with their factory finishes.



Now it should be said here that Objets en Transit are know for their careful restoration and that original lamp was a good example. This convinced the customer that she wanted the restored finish. But how many arms and what proportion? Back to OeT we found another model, one made for floor mounting.



Lovely but then she got to thinking about how it would be folded and she decided this would be about right.




Of course I had to throw her a few curves if only to give her the full list of options, so we found these at the shop of Phillipe Perigne in Marche Paul Bert.


The LAC (French for lake) desk model


The fairly rare curved-armed desk model


No it was a floor model she wanted and in the original finish with four arms of equal length. All along we had been communicating with our agents in France and they said that Objets en Transit might have another of the original design. We emailed et voila, they had a virtually identical model.


Back to the beginning but if the customer hadn't asked, we'd have missed the journey.

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Secret Sourcing: Industrial Pendant Lamps

A recent client, an Architect from Chicago, liked a set of industrial pendant lamps on FarFetchers that was no longer available and asked about other options. The inventory we list is really only the tip of the iceberg (though I'm not sure I like that analogy here). We have a load of  sources to tap so it always pays to ask. Here are a few we found.

If you like a more refined look, how about these Holophane lamps with the original glass reflectors? The exterior is enameled in light gray. They come from one of our favorite sources in North France, Nord Ouest Antiquites.

And from another angle.

But these are the ones that really caught our eye. They are from another of our favorites Le Grenier in Northern France.

They are mounted here as sconces or wall lights though they could be hung. They are salvaged Paris street lights

I'm not sure what to call these but the are pretty cool looking. From one of our new favorites, Les Nouveaux Brocantuers just outside of Chantilly near Paris.

Here's another great one from the same source made in the 1940s.


There are some great sources in the US too. How about these "Witch Hats" from Modern 50?

Well that will have to do for now. There are lots more we could show so drop me a line if you want to see more:

Update: Another client asked for something in an all-glass Holophane so we found this one at GetBack in Connecticut. Holophane has been producing some of the nicest "factory" lighting in the world since 1938. Like some other classic designs that have come out of industrial producers (Jielde comes to mind) they are still being made. These are vintage 1950-60 with just enough scuffs and dents to give them that broken-in feeling. 


Update 2: The boys at the Paris Flea Market have come on some new old pendants. These are also from the famed Holophane workshop from about 1950.

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Secret Sourcing: Tolix

There are some designs that never loose their legs. Year after year they are sought after even as trends come and go. You can't call the objects themselves unique because they have been made in great numbers but what is unique is their own individual history. 


The Tolix Bistro chair is one of these designs. You can still buy the original design brand new from Pottery Barn. So why are the vintage versions still so sought after?

Every Tolix started out like the one above, beautiful and shiny new. Nothing wrong with that but with so many of the shiny new ones around you have to admit that a bit of wear, multiple layers of paint, a few dents or scratches give the original a new depth.

This set of six started out all shiny new but somewhere along the way from 1950 when they were made they began to take on a unique character. Ah, entropy, the antiquer's fickle angel. It leaves some objects broken and others bettered. These are from Nord Ouest Atiquites in Belgium.

Maybe something a little more gently worn is your thing.

Or how about these with white on green on gray on steel?

Or maybe a different color?

too much color, maybe something a little more muted?

These come from Le Grenier in Lille France. 

I could go on but you get the idea. Age, time, and entropy can work magic on the most common of objects. They turn the ordinary into the singular. 

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We Love Collections, Do you?

We love collections. The repetitive forms with variations in color, age, wear, shape. They appeal to something unexplainable in our pleasure centers. We are, however, terrible collectors so we look for ones already assembled. But whether you are lazy like us, make your own, or lovingly collect over time they're all ok by us. Here are some we've seen.


Benjamen's Lunch Box Collection

From Apartment Therapy's shoot of Benjamen Purvis's Apartment


  Vintage Wallpaper Rollers

Here are some vintage wallpaper rollers  


    Don't Ask Me

I'm not sure what these are but we snapped this shot at the Paris Flea Market.    


Papier Mache' Shipping Boxes

These are vintage papier mache' shipping containers for ceramics we found at Marianne's Les 2 fonte la Paire in the Market.


Wedding Wishes Heart Shaped Boxes

These are French wedding wishes in the form of heart shaped boxes.


Apothicary Canisters

Vintage canisters from a French apothecary


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The Mother Lode of Lamps

This week's finds brought the mother lode of lamps. After looking at these closely you won't see the lowly lamp the same again. We have, for your viewing pleasure, the Modern Fase, the Industrial Jielde and Dugdill. Enjoy.

Jielde Four Arm Floor LampFase Flying Saucer Table LampDugdill Swing Arm Table Lamp

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