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Shops We Love: Propeller Modern

This San Francisco storefront presents modern design from a roster of independent makers and locally-based talents.

Propeller Moder

Owner Lorn Dittfeld loves Eames as much as the next guy, but wanted to focus on challenging, contemporary designers. You can see the Rorschach Coffee Table, Canyon Sofa and figures by Niels Lofstrom.

Propeller Modern

Founder: Lorn Dittfield

Opening Date: October 2002

Address: 555 Hayes Street in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood

Phone: (415) 701-7767

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What’s It All About: After a career in advertising, founder Lorn Dittfeld realized that “furniture and interior design were my preoccupation, and I wanted to make them my occupation.” He opened Propeller to focus on emerging North American artists, designers and manufacturers, dedicated to the idea of moving design forward. The name is deeply symbolic as well. “As an object, a propellor is a perfect example of form following function, and yet they’re absolutely gorgeous examples of shape and form in design,” says Dittfeld. “It’s incredibly timeless as well—propellers now look the same as they did a century ago.”

Philosophy: “We focus on, first and foremost, smaller and more independent designers. I begun to use the phrase, ‘they’re local to somewhere,’ to describe the designers we carry. A company like IZM, based in Canada, it’s a small shop that has a personal signature. Furniture designed and built by someone with a stake in your happiness.”

Best Question a Customer Has Asked in the Last Month: “There are a lot of questions, so I encourage people to speak their minds.”

View our slideshow to see some of the store’s favorite pieces. is your online home in the modern world. Join us as we follow our team around the globe on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Want more? Never miss another word of Dwell with our free iTunes app.


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