Issue 02 is due out on 14 November and this time we've upped the page count, evolved our look, and most importantly, added more features.
Alongside the ever popular Scandinavian names in mid-century design, British furniture has been enjoying a revival for some time, so it seems appropriate to profile one of the manufacturers central to bringing great British designers like Robin Day and Fred Scott to prominence: Hille. We had the privilege to be shown around the architect-designed 1960s home of Cherrill Scheer, granddaughter of the company's founder, who together with husband Ian has collected some truly unique period pieces.
In a more contemporary take on mid-century, we meet a couple whose sympathetic but inspired renovation turned a tired '60s bungalow into a stunning ranch home. We discover more about the Edgcumbe Park estate, which played host to the fashionable soirees of airline crew in the days when flying was still glamorous, and featured in the futurist classic Fahrenheit 451.
Shopaholics continue to be well-served with Get The Look, the Buyer's Guide, highlights from the mid-century marketplace at Lord's, and of course our Directory, the all-essential tool for sourcing that must-have piece.
We have introduced a couple of new features too: Premier League, in which Miller's 20th century specialist Mark Hill profiles designers whose work commands attention at international auction, and Midcentury Travel, which will showcase some interesting and noteworthy places to rest your head.
Still priced at £3.95, the magazine is currently stocked by select retailers (we'll be adding to the list over the coming months) and an annual subscription can be purchased online via our website for £6.95. So go on, there's no time like the present!
We'll be at the Midcentury Modern show at Dulwich College, SE London on Sunday 20th November so do come and say hello if you're around. It really is a fantastic day out!
Tom Giannini of Tom Giannini Architects talks to Charlotte Luxford about why he collects Vitra miniatures
What made you start collecting the chairs?
As a little boy growing up in California, I was always interested in miniatures: Lego; Tonka trucks; Matchbox cars etc. Now I am an interior architect and we specify furniture for our projects. I was given a miniature Panton chair as a party favour years ago and that was it - I was hooked. Vitra's London showroom is just around the corner from our office and they have a selection of miniatures on display. I used to pass there often and admire them.
Several reasons: first, I love the miniature scale. Second, I do not have the space for all the classic chairs I would want to own and third, cost. Although the miniatures are expensive, they are less expensive than the full-scale chair. Having said all that, I do have five or six design classics at work and at home that I have collected over the years: Eames Plywood chairs; the Aluminum chair; Hoffmann's Prague chair and Wegner's Peacock chair.
How many miniatures do you own?
I now have 215 miniature chairs in my collection. Most I bought on eBay over the years. I had a very active period of about two years where I bought on average a chair a week until I had found all the retired and limited edition chairs. I now add chairs from Vitra's current collection to my own. I still have 16 to go. Others are special editions that Vitra gave as gifts to their dealers and special friends, which were not sold in shops. This week I bought a rare retired chair (found for me by a reader of my blog) from the gift shop at the Guggenheim, Bilbao.
Which are your star pieces?
There have been a few: Vitra only made 500 of the Lockheed Lounge by Marc Newson. It had been retired years before I started collecting. I was offered one by a reader of my blog - it is one of my most prized miniatures, and very valuable. Vitra also only made a limited number of cowhide covered Eames LCW miniature chairs (I have been told it is as few as 100). I searched on eBay for five years before one came up for auction, which I won. It is my ultimate find.
Do you have any advice for potential collectors?
Count the cost before starting: it is a very expensive hobby - there is always another one to buy. They come in wooden boxes and with information booklets - keep them safe. The miniatures are considerably less valuable without the box and booklet.
Vitra: A mini story
While these pared-down classics are irresistible to the space-saving design enthusiast, Vitra didn't initially set out to create the miniature models as collector's items; they were borne out of practicality. Design classes at universities repeatedly asked the furniture company if they could borrow chairs from the Vitra Design Museum (an exemplary Frank O'Gehry structure based within the grounds of their factory in Switzerland). After shipping out the full-scale models in the early days, Vitra soon realised that due to their fragility and value they would have to come up with an alternative.
Now these small design gems are a worldwide phenomenon and swiftly becoming valuable collectors' items. While the miniature collection began in 1992, initially with 25 chairs, Vitra added to it every year thereafter with both new and 'retired' models, meaning there are now almost 100 different models to collect.
The chairs selected are mainly based on the contents of the museum's own collection and now serve to present the history of Vitra's designs to visitors. Each model is painstakingly constructed to match the original - Vitra often collaborate with the designers to develop miniatures of their designs, making them not only true representations, but also valuable items in their own right.
Founded in 1950, Vitra has always had its roots firmly grounded in mid-century design and follows in the footsteps of Charles and Ray Eames when it comes to the sustainability of their products, right down to the miniatures.
For more information on The Vitra Design Museum and to buy miniatures online, go to www.design-museum.de or take a trip to the London showroom at 30 Clerkenwell Road. To read more about Tom's collection, visit www.miniaturechairman.com
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