Friday, 20 January 2012

shopping in ~ Spitalfields

Feeling rather inspired by a recent trip to one of my very favourite places in London I've decided to start a new section on the best places to shop for interior design. Well technically it started with the post about Brighton, so lets call this part two shall we?

The area around Spitalfields Market is a treasure trove of shops for the home. Indeed, if you go on a Thursday, the whole of the Old Market is dedicated to traders in vintage and antique homeware which is well worth the visit alone. I  fell for a completely gorgeous restored 50's armchair from uphoolsterd in a charoal wool. Traders are also selling antique prints, retro ceramics, original designer lamps, old school chairs, vintage suitcases, tea sets, cutlery, picture frames, tailors dummies, mirrors, street signs, 50's kitchen cabinetry, table linen, drop leaf tables, silverware, chair frames for re-upholstering, side tables, buckets, book cases, magazine racks and, on the day I was there, a badger skull. Unfortunately a beautifully tattooed gentleman in a rather fetching hat beat me to the purchase of said skull.

Image source: nothin' but the rent

Just off from the market are perhaps two of my favourite shops of all time. Elemental mostly sells reclaimed industrial or don-domestic furniture, with the odd leather club chair too. Their ever changing array of finds (updated weekly) includes metal cabinets and lockers, industrial lamps and shades, cinema seating, benches, old bar stools, dining tables that were once school science benches, wooden shop cabinets and signage. Not only is everything lovingly restored, each piece comes with a description of where it came from and what it was used for in it's previous life, so not only do you have a great piece of unusual furniture, you literally have a talking point too. On the day I went I totally fell for some numbered metal coat hooks on a wooden mount, a coffee table made from a printers chest on wheels and most of all, a pair of 8 foot high filing drawers that used to hold rock samples, rescued from the Geological Society. I'll need a ladder with that too. 

Of course, the price of these isn't cheap, but what you are getting are unique pieces that are solidly made and will last for years and years, well worth the investment if you can afford it.

Image source: elemental

Similar things can be said of Bohemia a little further along, although they specialize in vintage domestic and designer furniture. They also have old printing blocks, metal signs, wooden shoe lasts, antique mounted skulls and smaller accessories. They have a grey teak framed sofa by Hans Wegner that I've been coveting for months, a vintage ph5 light by Poul Henningsen and I really really want one of those skulls.

At the top of the market you'll find 4you, a flower shop that also sells exotic houseplants and in the summer, outdoor shrubs. There's also Source, mainly a clothes boutique, but it also sells pretty home accessories. Right next door is EightSquare selling gifts and some furniture. I love their Japanese inspired boxes, simple kitchen ware and candles. 

At the centre of the market is OneDeko selling high end, sleek, contemporary designer furniture. Just outside on Lamb Street you find the Lollipop Shoppe selling modern mid-century classic pieces and Scandinavian design from the likes of Eames, Fritz Hansen, Ercol and Knoll as well as furniture by Vittra, Tom Dixon, Hay and Cassina. They also stock some more affordable kitchenware from Stelton, Duralex and Muuto along with body care products from MALIN+GOETZ and Comme Des Garcons.

For sheer oddities, head over to Beedell Coram on Commercial Street. It's full of taxidermy, paintings and furniture. In the summer the are are boxes of wares out on the pavement, including beautifully delicate glass negatives that I'm dying to 'curate' and frame one day.

Of course there are many more shops close by, but once you start getting into Shoreditch High Street, that's a whole other post. 

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