Heather McNab, CENTRAL
FOR Dave Beeman, the key to being a collector of rare and vintage furniture is to only buy pieces that it pains you to part with.
“You’re not following trends, you’re following your heart. If you’re selling things you don’t want to sell then that’s a good thing,”
Mr Beeman said.
The owner of Vampt Vintage Design in Surry Hills, a specialist store for highly collectable and unique pieces of vintage and mid-century modern design, Mr Beeman would know a thing or two about buying things for love.
“Being a collector, you need to find the things you’ve always wanted or would love to have — it’s not really about whether you make a dollar, but I think if you’ve got to like it if you’re buying it,”
While there are many prized items in the store, from mainly Scandinavian designers, it is the Ovalia chair and footstool by industrial designer and inventor Henrik Thor-Larsen which Mr Beeman is hoping to keep for himself.
On a purchasing trip in Sweden, Mr Beeman spotted the cognac coloured velour chair and knew he had to have it.
Created in 1968, the chair is one of only two in the world, owned by the Thor-Larsen family for their personal use.
Now valued at $20,000, which by no means the most expensive item in the store — that honour goes to a circa 1940s Danish leather armchair by Fritz Henningsen at $28,000 — there’s good reason for the price tag.
The Ovalia was $9000 upfront, with a road trip from Denmark to Sweden to pick it up ($600 including road tolls).
After the initial purchase Mr Beeman said “I bought it for my wife — I paid so much for it, so I said that to get me out of trouble”.
Add to that shipping to Australia, 15 per cent import tax, restoration of the foam, and a brand new fit of BOSE bluetooth speakers which create a sound wall within the chair ($2600) and you can begin to understand why Mr Beeman refers to the chair as the store’s “golden egg”.
Destined for Mr Beeman’s dream holiday home, the Ovalia chair is part of a collection that are all “icons of their time,” he said.