Stuff&Stories – Raw Vintage

I started searching vintage items in late 2014 in the province of Friesland with a good friend. We sold our treasures at vintage markets in Amsterdam. Quite soon we came to the conclusion that either we didn’t look at the right places or there was simply nothing to be found anymore. During this time of poor inspiration my friend started to brew beer, I was a enthusiastic taster, but my interest was with vintage design. At a design fair in Amsterdam some time later my eyes dashed around from one Scandinavian vintage stand to the other. And then they were drawn to a stand with Czechoslovakian design from the sixties. I fell in love and next thing I knew was that I found myself on the highway to Prague.

I had been before in Prague but that was when I had fallen in love with ‘Frenchie’ my wife, living in Prague. Because of her I had a bit of a network. And yes, I was all eyes for her back then, problaby explaining why I didn’t discover Czech design then and there. Slowly I discovered the design beauties which had been hiding for so long behind the Iron Curtain. It was difficult to understand how such beautifully shaped and especially coloured design could have evolved in a country that in my view was oppressed by the then Soviet Union that ordered one minimalistic apartment bloc being built after another, not to mention their poor car design. I delved into the country’s history and found out that a special part of the Czechoslovakian history resembles their design, (read this in the About our Design page).

 

In late 2015, I founded Stuff & Stories, I guess I don’t need to explain the stories part in the name, and started collecting furniture from designers that worked for, or where inspired by Brussels 1958. That’s why the items my collection are so in harmony with each other. They all date from the late ’50s and 1960s made by Czechoslovakian designers inspired by Brussels ’58. I didn’t explore yet so much the seventies Czech design, but at first glance their beauty and uniqueness are less catching than before the Soviets crushed the Prague Spring in ’68 and with that, part of their creative dynamism too. Vintage design is therefore for me a form of art that reflects a certain historical period during which the designer was influenced by a country specific cocktail of political and socio-economic facts. And on top of this all, most Czech design is timeless. My favourite piece is designed by Jiri Jiroutek with its white, pink and black coloured drawers, it very well suits with this day and age.

 

Because Czech and Slovakia, then still together, were ruled under socialism, design had to be affordable for everyone. That is why sometimes relatively cheap materials as plastics and veneer where used instead of solid wood. And because it was not just for the elite, people bought the furniture, or were given it as a wedding present, to really use it and not just to look at it and boost about it to friends at birthday parties. That’s the reason why I almost refurbish all of my products, except when I lay my hands on a good one that was only be stared at. During the restoration process I try to discover the creation process of the designer and by bringing back his design in it’s original beauty, the piece becomes a little bit of me too. The only part I want to improve in the nearby future is to restore all my treasures by using only environmentally friendly products to preserve a 100% sustainability.