A TOUCH OF HISTORY FOR YOUR HOME
Story by Amanda Thomas
Photos provided by Caviar 20
The 20th century saw a lot of creativity and innovation in furniture design. In the ‘60s, France wanted to promote the steel industry, so the government gave steel products to furniture designers, resulting in the creation of unique metal furniture. Also during this time, paints traditionally used for cars were being used on furniture.
Long time art and antique lover, Troy Seidman, studied Art History at McGill University and was given the opportunity to work at the renowned Sotheby’s Auction House for three years upon graduation. There he learned about Canadian art, and the working of the “secondary market” (i.e. investing beyond the traditional). After moving to New York to do his masters at NYU, Seidman had a new appreciation for the 20th century design market, and decided to explore his opportunities.
In 2009, Seidman opened Caviar 20, an online store specializing in 20th century home decor. His tasteful and unique stock comes from estate sales, auctions, antique markets, current clients, or from the contemporary designers he represents.
“I have to respond to it,” Seidman says of his selection process of the pieces. “One term that I use a lot is ‘sculptural presence’. If it’s a piece of lighting or a table, I like that it has the characteristics of a sculpture; by itself, it should have an interesting form, texture or color.”
When perusing Caviar 20′s wares you’ll find items ranging from a Verner Panton lounge chair to unique umbrella stands, lithographs and mirrors. For those not necessarily in the market for a $3,000 lighting display, the site also has ‘Six On Sale’ – six items with gentler price point. Many of the accessories also go for under $500 – a small price to pay for a piece of design history.
Seidman believes in “the importance of the object”, and tries to emulate one of his great influences, interior designer Kelly Wearstler, when he makes choices. “Each piece that goes into her space is amazing by itself. The piece has responsibilities and does them well, but if you take it out of that space it’s still special.”
As a Gemini, Seidman likes merchandise with bold colors and personality just as much as he likes black, white or gray patterns with clean and interesting lines to them. His extensive clientele from all around the world appreciates the individuality and uniqueness of each piece.
One thing that the art history buff feels very strongly about is replicas. “It’s really easy to buy knockoffs of 20th century design in Toronto,” he says. “If I went to a party wearing a pair of fake Gucci shoes and you knew they were fake, would you give me a compliment? Would you take a picture of it and put it in a magazine? In fashion wearing fake stuff is considered to be very tacky but in Toronto there isn’t a similar standard for furniture.”
Seidman’s advice for those in search of something unique for their home is to “Keep looking! It takes time to find that special piece.”