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Furniture December, 9 2009

Antique Dealer Spotlight | Sit & Read Furniture

Previous spotlight posts have focused on what may be considered the old guard of antiques. Sit & Read Furniture is based in Brooklyn (the showroom at 236 Grand Street is open by appointment only) and maintains a well kept stock of mid-century and industrial pieces. Their blog details current inventory, each post giving concise background to the profiled item. Additionally, related and informative bits (like Herman Miller commercials pulled from youtube) help contextualize the chosen wares.

I caught up with owner/founder Kyle Garner for a brief Q&A about the inspirations behind Sit & Read.

Enjoy the interview and some images after the jump.

How did you come to antiques?

Growing up my father used to take me to garage sales every single weekend. He taught me that with a little patience and commitment you could find anything second hand , if you looked hard enough. In my early twenties, while living in the Bay Area, I dated an obsessive typewriter collector. Every Sunday we’d go to the Laney Flea Market in downtown Oakland. and search for thing we didn’t know we were looking for. When I moved back to New York a few years ago I started designing sets for film. I’d always be out looking for the right props and furniture for productions I was working on, and in the process began to build up my own collection and archive, Sit and Read was birthed from a need for more space, and an incurable addiction to acquiring beautiful things.

Why industrial furniture?

I’ve always been interested in furniture because it is functional art. A well designed chair is not only a beautiful object, but it is also comfortable and serves a very practical purpose. Industrial furniture is rarely designed with aesthetics in mind- it’s pure function. Regardless of it’s design, furniture records history with every use. That recording/recorded process is what I am becoming most interested in. Industrial furniture is designed for use under the harshest of conditions, thus that recording process tends to be more defined. Industrial pieces last long enough to tell a story that would render most other furniture unusable.


Which designers are you drawn toward?
I’m drawn to designers from the late 30’s-50’s that were interested in designing quality furniture that was affordable and attractive. I’ve been really inspired by the Bauhaus school, and the idea that form and function should not be exclusive from each other. The American Designer, Paul McCobb is another of my favorites. His Planner Group line of furniture is the perfect blend of rustic early American and Danish Modernism. Recently, I have also been trying to track down as much Arthur Umanoff as I can find. His wroght iron and wood designs for Raymor in the early 50’s are so simple and beautiful, and have a certain ‘domestic industrial’ quality to them.
What materials/processes do you favor?
I love the mixture of wrought iron and teak. Unfortunately it is/was a rarely used combination, so I usually satisfy this urge by mixing pieces. I tend towards the handmade, favoring slight imperfection and asymmetry to clean lines and pure profiles.
What materials/processes do you favor?

I love the mixture of wrought iron and teak. Unfortunately it is/was a rarely used combination, so I usually satisfy this urge by mixing pieces. I tend towards the handmade, favoring slight imperfection and asymmetry to clean lines and pure profiles.

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