One of my favourite activities to do during summer weekends is to explore the great selection of antique shops and auction houses we have here in Victoria, BC. I am always amazed at the quality of furnishings and antiques that you can find at affordable prices. Pieces that had a good life many years ago can tell a new story now. I also believe that antiquing can be something that reflects the current state of our economy; not everything needs to be new, or come with flashy packaging to be beautiful, or even to work in a sleek interior.
French Bronze Cherub
I love the thrill of the hunt, the experience in which you can identify a piece that is unique and can tell it's individual story. Victoria is also a world renowned location for great antique finds, and there are often incredible state sales. As a designer, you need to have an appreciation for the style periods, and all the decorative arts. It doesn't matter if you prefer contemporary design, you should still know the origin of many of our design elements and principals, as well the styles that led to the evolvement of what is now known as contemporary design.
Jade Foo Dogs
I know that sometimes it is a hard sell to bring an old piece full of patina to my clients homes; but to me, it is like inviting an old friend - someone who can tell a great story and bring that unique and memorable factor to the space. Nobody else has it. It is uniquely yours, you are special and your space is special to have it. We are often bombarded by the media to buy more, buy cheap and buy the best deal. A vicious circle that you can break by supporting our local antique stores and auction houses. Sometimes you don't even need to leave your home to go antique shopping, you can find something really special in your grandpa's attic for something that has been a part of your family history.
Chinese Antique Cabinet
I have been very fortunate to find amazing treasures on my antique hunting trips like a pair of Foo Dogs in jade, a 1740's antique etching with Ann of Cleve, a French bronze Cherub. an antique Chinese cabinet, a couple of paintings, including an over scale daguerreotype,and my all time favourite a 1950'S Gio Ponti tea set. All these pieces have become part of my everyday life, bringing that juxtaposition factor that as designer I love between new and old.
Tea Set -Gio Ponti
I encourage all my readers to go antique hunting their own treasures, and support our local Antique Road and see what our great town has to offer!
Ivan Meade is a local designer and principal of Meade Design Group, a multidisciplinary interior and graphic design studio in the heart of downtown Victoria – www.meadedesigngroup.com