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It is more than a business...

Finding furniture treasures is a particularly appealing job for us, Magriet and Ali, as ex-journalists since it has so much in common with chasing a great story. One also has to investigate and research to get to the truth. This week we found a rare and beautiful Danish dining table. When Magriet saw the advertisment online it did not state that it was Danish. From the picture it was obviously a Danish modern style piece, and the chances were good that it would be a South African derivative – it mostly is. And that is also good. But one develops a sixth sense when you look at furniture pieces day in and day out, and when Magriet got to the...

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New life to old shop ‘kaste’

  A haberdashery cabinet where it has been in service for more than 60 years, now restored and ready for a new home or shop. Even though Huisraad Modern is in the first place a mid-century modern shop, we also have a particular love for the craft of early 20th century shopfitting. Now, cranky old men usually maintain that things were made better in “ye olden days”. In most cases this is not true. Small modern Japanese sedans are infinitely more reliable and better performers than old American sedan wagons, even though these old cars are comfortable and have soul. But in one industry the old is clearly better than the new. Shopfitting. Haberdashery shops, clothing shops, shoe shops, bicycle...

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To ball and claw or not?

Ball and claw furniture is not modern. At Huisraad Modern we’ve always struggled with the idea of featuring an imbuia ball and claw piece that we like, occasionally. Should we or should we not? The fact is that even though it is not modernist, most imbuia ball and claw furniture is not antique either, although a lot of people think it is. The bulk of these antique looking furniture have been made in the 1940’s to the 1970’s (even still today) to look antique. Our guess is that furniture makers of the time recognised that there were many upwardly mobile people in the decades after World War II. The United States led the way with the idea of the American...

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It is not just about finding and flogging

One might think that it is a relatively easy exercise to track down one of these common schoolteachers’ desks. After all, almost every school classroom in South Africa had one of these over a period of sixty to seventy years.That is what we also thought when we launched Huisraad Modern more or less six years ago. After all, apart from being common, they were also part of a pretty cool design history, being in the tradition of Marcel Breuer’s revolutionary tubular steel Bauhaus designs.But we were wrong. After all these years this is the first one that we could lay our hands on. Baffling, isn’t it? But when you really think about it, it is not so unusual. Speaking to...

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Local is more than lekker

The amount of beautiful lounge chair designs done in the golden era of Scandinavian design – the 1950’s and 1960’s – are astonishing, not only in Denmark and Sweden but all over the world, even South Africa. This week we feature three of these chairs. We only managed to identify the brand of one, the oldest one, by GH Starck Ltd, the company that later became one half of Frystark Furniture. Mr. George Starck, the original owner of the company, is also significant to us at Huisraad Modern, since he was a significant figure in the northern suburbs of Cape Town who made a great contribution. The George and Annie Starck Complex for the aged is merely a few blocks...

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