Sunday, January 21, 2007

chairs with airs in dumbo

we're not really sure what "chairs with airs" means, but jake mooney thought it was an apt title for his sunday NY Times post about a little node in dumbo, brooklyn, chock full of great furniture stores. "chairs with airs" implies, to us, a bit of attitude and pretension, but the keen eyes found this to be almost not the case.

we were out on the street exploring dumbo long before we knew about mooney's article in the Times today - what a coincidence! with one of the keen eyes visiting from VA and the other not so familiar with what the neighborhood has to offer, we decided to venture down under the manhattan bridge overpass to see what was up. despite it being "cold as hell out there," we scurried down the cobbled streets for hours, dashing in and out of tons of great shops, stopping only to fortify ourselves with the occasional piping hot cup of coffee or tea.

here is one of our finds from the day:

Baxter & Liebchen
baxter & liebchen was our real impetus for heading to dumbo, both of us being slightly obsessed with mid-century danish design and always on the lookout for new sources. although their showroom has but a wee door and awning, we couldn't miss the huge sandwich board outside featuring some of the shop's key pieces.from the moment we stepped through the black, window- and sign-less door, it was all we could do to keep our hands to ourselves. although warehouse settings can imply a cold, unforgiving space, the 5000-square-foot baxter & liebchen showroom is nothing of the sort. while physically no more than concrete floors and white drywall dividers, proprietor andrew kevelson has warmed the space with the glowing patina of gorgeous mid-century furniture pieces: credenzas, chairs, nesting tables, textile wall hangings, ceramics, and vintage light fixtures adorn nearly every corner.

the furniture is truly the focus of the showroom, though, and kevelson's love and appreciation of danish mid-century design is evident around every turn. we were stunned by his selection of famous name designers (jacobsen, wegner, vodder, and jalk), but were floored by the endless selection of pieces by designers of whom we've never heard (olesen, nissen, lagefoged, and many more). kevelson explained to us that he sources his supply from all across the US and europe, and works to import hard-to-find, never-before-seen-in-america pieces. he's clearly well-connected... and self-educated, to boot!

the keen eyes left the showroom feeling overwhelmed with danish-tinged joy: the furniture was absolutely stunning, down to the last detail; the prices were fair and accessible; and kevelson was engaging, kind, and a joy to speak with. it was clear that he enjoys his work and wants to share that enthusiasm with everyone who visits baxter & liebchen. (keen eye e would also just like to point out that, along the lines of look-alike dogs and owners, kevelson himself somehow resembles a handsome piece of well-sourced furniture. keen eye e means this in the kindest of ways).

another shop we were excited to visit was prague kolektiv. check back tomorrow, when we post about our [very different] experience there.
Baxter & Liebchen
33 Jay Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

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