February 19, 2024

They are sustainable, they are original and acquiring them can be an adventure. The furniture vintage It has always been an alternative to acquiring newly manufactured furniture, but, with the arrival of the pandemic and the consequent decoration fever, this type of old pieces has gained special prominence in the interiors of many houses. Although there are no official data on its sales, these usually go hand in hand with the furniture market itself: a sector that in Spain in 2021 experienced a rebound of 19.4%, reaching up to 1,630 million euros, according to the DBK Sector Observatory. . A little golden age of these jewels vintage (label with which those pieces with at least 20 years old and no more than a century are called), to which the increase in web pages and applications for the sale of products between individuals has also contributed, where the furniture have a place of exception, or the opening of new specialized stores after the pandemic.

“This type of piece was designed and built to last, so keeping a piece of furniture like this is, first, a sustainable way of decorating. But it is also a way of preserving objects full of charm and history from oblivion”, says Luis Quiñones, responsible, together with África Salces, for La Recova, one of the most iconic stores in the Rastro area of ​​Madrid. From this space specialized in furniture from the fifties, sixties and seventies, they advise some precautions when buying vintage. The first and most indicative is that, as in love at first sight, we find it attractive. We may not need to think much about their purchase, “since many are sold for a crush,” says Quiñones. The next step is something more mundane: take a good look at the state you are in. “If a piece has lasted 50 or 60 years, taking care of it a little doesn’t mean it doesn’t live for as many more. A good piece of furniture can be seen with the naked eye”, explains Salces for his part. Although the eye of an expert has better resources than those of an amateur, you can try to recognize the kind of wood from which the furniture is made and if it presents any defect, observe the joinery work or the finishes that indicate its quality.

Exhibition of antique furniture in the El Recibidor store, in Barcelona.
Exhibition of antique furniture in the El Recibidor store, in Barcelona.LOANED PHOTO

Properly restoring the piece can make it look much more current, so make no mistake: just because it looks good doesn’t mean it doesn’t have decades of history. In fact, the experts do not advise acquiring them without restoring and neither do we do it ourselves. It almost always goes wrong. “Always buy restored. Restoring is an art, more than a trade, it is passion and experience. For example, in our case it is the most important part of our business”, asserts Gerard Thomas, founder together with Jorge Carrascosa of El Recibidor, showroom and furniture store specializing in mid century (those produced in the mid-20th century). From this Barcelona store with a decade of experience, they advocate reliable labeling of the origin and original state of each product so as not to sow distrust in the buyer. “For us it is important to offer a record. Indicate origin, designer, year of manufacture and material, as well as any curiosity about the piece of furniture. Not many do, but we believe that it is relevant”, highlights Carrascosa.

'Showroom' DE IKB191, in Madrid.
‘Showroom’ DE IKB191, in Madrid.bethlehem imaz

Thanks to these measures, one can know if they are buying an authentic piece, a reissue or one inspired by an iconic model and combat one of the main dilemmas in the sector: passing off a piece of furniture for what it is not. Thus, cases such as the seats would have been avoided. chandigarh by Pierre Jeanneret (Le Corbusier’s collaborator) who, after decades of being shot with increasingly better copies, one original and one that is not, are practically impossible to distinguish. “The imitations are usually for the super classics. In any case, it is very evident that the result is wanting and not being able to —they warn from El Receptor—. We all know how to see if a piece is real or an imitation, the price is always a clear indicator of what we buy”.

In fact, whether it is a recognized piece, the firm or the creator can be another of the great dilemmas when deciding on one purchase or another. Is it necessary to look at the designer? Is the brand that released it in its day more important or what the piece makes us feel? “A piece of furniture does not have to have a renowned designer or renowned publisher behind it. Not everything is a name”, explains Nicolás Poggetti from IKB191, one of the temples of collector furniture in Madrid. In its space in the central Barquillo street, it is not difficult to find pieces with “power and personality” by authors considered cultural heritage in countries like Italy and which in Spain are beginning to be increasingly in demand by a public avid for charming furniture that, in Ultimately, make our home a more welcoming place and more ours. “The most important thing about a piece is that it entertains us and makes us happy beyond its functionality,” continues Poggetti. Above all, they have to help us create unique spaces that define us and make a difference”.

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