Thursday, July 26, 2007

Retail Therapy: Form Vintage Modern

Tucked amidst the cozy traditionalism of College Avenue in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood is a store with a decidedly more modern bent: Form Vintage Modern.

Classic teak, walnut, and rosewood furniture by Eames, Knoll, Wegner, and other design luminaries (as well as less-celebrated makers) comfortably rubs shoulders with newer items from the likes of Modernica, Flos, and Vitra in the showroom, owned by husband-and-wife team Joe and Lindsay Kunis.

Judiciously mixed in with the clean-lined Danish modern furnishings is a smattering of pieces with more elaborate Hollywood Regency styling: A pair of red lacquered nightstands (which may or may not be by James Mont) as well as Asian modern consoles and sideboards, a faux bamboo occasional table, and a pair of brass wheat-sheaf side tables. The combination works because the items all have a simple elegance and sophistication. Though midcentury is the store’s unifying theme, it’s more eclectic than you might expect. “We specialize in things that are unusual and relatively accessible,” Joe Kunis says.

Rounding out Form’s offerings are reissues of George Nelson’s iconic Bubble Lamps, new midcentury-style sofas and chairs from Bombast, and Alessi tableware. Delicate pottery by Emeryville ceramicist Sara Paloma as well as colorful blown glass and vintage ceramics grace many of the tables and shelves. Seventies Op-Art serigraphs share a bright exuberance with contemporary work by local artists such as Bethany Ayres and Justin O’Neill.

Although roughly 90 percent of Form’s wares are vintage, everything in the store is in pristine condition. If it’s not mint (and most of it is), then the Kunises have it refinished and reupholstered so that it shines like new. And unlike a lot of high-end showrooms with similarly pedigreed stock, the vibe at Form is laid-back and friendly, and Joe is happy to chat and to fill in his customers about each piece and its maker.

Prices for signed sideboards, chairs, tables, and dinette sets are not for budget shoppers -- they run several hundred to a few thousand dollars apiece -- but still compare favorably to similar stores in San Francisco and other large cities, making an excursion worth your while if you’re on the hunt for classic, collectible furnishings. (Plus, Kunis says that prices for many vintage items are negotiable.)

Most of the store’s accessories cost under $100, and many can be had for less than $50. You can also snag relative bargains by keeping an eye out for the shop’s occasional eBay auctions (they have a few up now, so be sure to check them out).

Form Vintage Modern is located at 5330 College Avenue in Oakland, six blocks south of the Rockridge BART station, and is open Wednesdays through Sundays from noon until 6 p.m.

(Note: This post -- written by me -- originally appeared on another site.)

1 comment:

deerseason87 said...

Oh! Love this store. Also, have you been to Retro at Home on San Pablo in Emeryville? It's right next to the Pack and Save. They have beautiful things, even if they are pretty expensive.


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