Buying Mid-Century Vintage Design Furniture: Our Guide

by @industrialkonzept Team

The renewed interest in Mid-Century-Modern designs brings along the popularity of collecting vintage design classics. It is crucial to invest not only in a discerning taste but also in solid knowledge and care when acquiring these pieces.

(Image credit: Catherine Potvin, Courtesy Eames Institute)


The Role of History and Origin

Each vintage furniture piece carries its own history that can impact its value and authenticity. Knowing the origin and associated history not only adds emotional but also potential financial value to the furniture.


Assessing Quality and Originality

The authenticity and quality of a vintage piece are crucial for its value. Pay attention to the manufacturing process and materials. Authentic pieces often reveal craftsmanship not found in newer replicas. Small details and characteristic features of the workmanship can provide insights into the era and designer.


Avoiding "Frankenstein Furniture"

An issue in the vintage furniture market is what many experts call "Frankenstein furniture," composed of various, sometimes original and sometimes non-original parts. Such furniture often loses value and authenticity. Therefore, a trained eye for such modifications is essential.

(Image credit: Catherine Potvin, Courtesy Eames Institute)


Patina vs. Condition

The preservation condition of a vintage piece can greatly influence its value. A flawless condition is attractive, but an authentic patina can be equally valuable as it tells the story of the furniture. Unnecessary restorations that compromise the original's character should be avoided.


Education and Research as Keys to Success

In-depth knowledge of design history, various eras, and designers is crucial. This knowledge enables a qualified assessment of the quality and authenticity of a piece. Resources such as design books, old magazines, exhibition visits, and engaging with experts can provide valuable insights.

(Image credit: Catherine Potvin, Courtesy Eames Institute)



Collecting vintage design classics is an art form of its own, requiring not only a keen eye but also a deep understanding of history, craftsmanship, and design. With the necessary knowledge and a thoughtful approach, anyone interested in design can build a meaningful and valuable collection that holds both aesthetic and historical significance.


More from the magazine

  1. Saint Laurent Unveils Parisian Bookstore

    In a move that continues to weave the brand's Parisian essence into its initiatives, Saint Laurent, under the guidance of creative director Anthony...
  2. 2700 House by IGArchitects: Architectural efficiency in a small space

    The "2700 House" in Saitama, Japan, a masterpiece of modern architecture by IGArchitects, impressively demonstrates how creative design can elegant...
  3. Beton Brut and Berlin: A History of Brutalism

    Cover Image: Headquarters of the French Communist Party, Architect: Oscar Niemeyer - Photography by © Denis Esakov   In the world of architect...