Above photo by Topher Scott Photography

We sat down with designer Josh Evan to discuss (what else?) the value of good design and why some pieces are so much more expensive than others. A lover of vintage himself, Josh helped us pick the best of the crop, advising, “It’s our responsibility as designers, as connoisseurs, to make sure whoever is buying the piece knows its history.”

Karl Springer Low Coffee Table

This table is absolutely fabulous, the shape of it is unreal. I’m loving anything burl, and I love the mix of materials and the movement. It kind of reminds me, the shape of it, a little bit like a piano, which I also think is super fun and interesting. To me, the price seems pretty fair, and here’s why:

  1. Karl Springer is so collectible and expensive. (I’ve never seen a piece like this from Springer, making it more rare.)
  2. It’s custom, which makes it even more of a steal.
  3. The burl is just sick, it’s so beautiful. And then of course with the brushed brass at the bottom, I love the pop of sheen that it gives.
  4. The shape—and this mix of burl and another sort of wood used like this—is not something you see a lot of.
  5. If we were going to make a table like this, it would cost twice the price.
  6. It’s from the ’70s, and it’s collectible, and it’s a big table, and it’s in New York—if you’re a local New York person, it’s even more of a steal.
  7. And there’s light wear to it, but I don’t really see much wear; and it’s from Wyeth, which is a really expensive dealer. So I’m on the side of saying it’s a pretty good price.

How I would use it:The shape allows itself to be utilized so beautifully in a lounge-y setting because it’s not terribly high, but you could do a beautiful sectional, or something that wraps around the piece, and then kind of share it with the other side and it makes for a really fabulous upper station. The two tiers and the shape of it lend itself so beautifully to a non-traditional setting. I just see this really cool sectional wrapping around it, with really amazing conversations, if you will. Loud, fussy—I think the ’70s are so cool. And the burl, hello, burl is just so amazing, and the brass brings it to a glamorous place, a touch of the Hollywood Regency. It’s a treasure.

Nanna Ditzel Coat Tree

People are afraid of coat trees. They think it’s from their grandparents’ era, but they’re actually really practical, especially in the city—and they’re cool, they dress up a hallway.

  1. There’s twelve arms on this and you could put a whole slew of your coats or jackets on it, and it’s just beautiful.
  2. This is especially attractive to New Yorkers, who have no closet space.
  3. It needs fixing but it’s a small-scale investment, not like we’re talking about an enormous table or whatever—it’s a coat tree—and all of a sudden it’s like a piece you hold on to forever.
  4. If you make each arm a color (I would play with two or three colors), it almost becomes a piece of art. And it becomes a really cool, unique thing to have in your hallway in your front door.
  5. The craftsmanship is amazing.
  6. Plus it’s from a female designer from the mid-century in a period when the field was dominated by men.
Afra and Tobia Scarpa Tub Chairs

These chairs are awesome, I love them. Put these with the Karl Springer table, add some great pillows—leopard, or textured, whatever…and all of a sudden you have this uber sexy, lounge-y room that people never want to leave.

  1. First of all, vinyl—which I think is so cool, and I’ve been seeing a lot of vinyl.
  2. I love that it’s channeled. It’s like a car seat, it’s like a super cool vintage car.
  3. Look at the side details with the buttons and the stitching, the color is so rich.
  4. Afra and Tobia Scarpa is super collectible, so you’re getting an investment piece.
  5. Having lounge chairs like this, they’re hard to find.
Piero Fornasetti Secretary

Look at this piece. I’m a huge Fornasetti fan. I had a Fornasetti screen and I mixed it in with such interesting, weird, eclectic things, and it just takes on such a different personality in any setting. I think this is a lifetime piece.

  1. The exterior is exceptional, the glass shelves. You could make it a bar, it could be a secretary bookcase. It’s so versatile. Obviously, there’s storage.
  2. This is the kind of piece you see in a museum. I remember when there was a show at the Met Breuer last year and I saw something very similar to it.
  3. You’re buying a piece that’s super significant and important, and I don’t know how anyone could resist putting this in an eclectic room.
  4. It’s a showstopper. It’s like investing in art, art as décor, and what better than using decorative furniture as art.  

How I would use it:
I tend to think it can be layered—when you’re doing this kind of piece, more is more. That’s one personal preference. I can also see it being super minimal, having this and an amazing seating area, and a couple other pieces of art and very minimal clean lines. It could really go both ways, it’s just incredibly versatile. The thing about a good piece like this is, maybe someone buys it now and they have more of a maximalist aesthetic and they go over the top; but as we all know, people’s aesthetic changes, and you could repurpose this for a new kind of aesthetic, and there’s nothing better than being able to take pieces you love with you along the journey, right? Especially when you’re spending this kind of price.

Märta Måås Rug

With these colors, the pinks and reds, you could do such an amazing room around this rug. I mean imagine lacquering the walls in pink or bringing some brown leather into the mix, lots of brass and burl and sexy lighting, and all of sudden you have a magazine showstopper room.

  1. Beyond gorgeous, it’s a treasure.
  2. There’s only a finite number of rugs that were made in Märta Måås’ lifetime (this one is original and signed).
  3. It’s a versatile size.
  4. It’s the kind of piece that you hope to build a room around. And even if it doesn’t stay in that room forever, it’s the kind of thing that grows with you, and it maybe moves into a guest room. Or maybe it moves into a small sunroom or sitting room or den.
  5. You’re buying art and history, and I could see this being in a home where this becomes a special accent rug in a room that’s super designed and styled and eclectic.
  6. Having a rug cleaned, even an old vintage rug, isn’t an insurmountable undertaking, and it’s worth it when you buy something like this.
  7. This feels timeless. This feels on-trend for today. It feels like it would make sense for mid-20th century. It’s just so chic.

 

ABOUT JOSH EVAN
Josh Evan celebrates the glamorous, exuberant, substantial, and subtle. His studio focuses on design that delivers comfortable spaces, creating balance in innovation and rich enduring forms. He states, “I love the history of furniture. I’m such an obsessive vintage collector, and I will always push for the vintage piece, even with a little bit of patina, because it is original, and there’s just something about the energy of the fact that it’s old and there’s history that I’m so attracted to.”

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