Must-Have Collectors Items at Brooklyn's Open Air Modern

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By Kelsey Keith / Published by Dwell
Open Air Modern is based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but its reach extends to midcentury Scandinavia and beyond with a selection of curated vintage furniture and a hand-culled design library.

Open Air Modern proprietor Matt Singer's tagline for his Williamsburg shop is appropriate: Surround yourself with objects you love. Singer sources—and in many cases, refurbishes—a curated selection of vintage modern furniture, and can speak eloquently about each and every one. He's also amassed an impressive design library from rare designer monographs to interior design surveys from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. We stopped by to get some recommendations on top items for sale; stop by the store in person to chat with Singer and see what's newest in his inventory.

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Papa Bear Chair by Hans Wegner: "There's so much to love about this chair, but one thing I really admire is how Wegner took a traditional form, the wingback chair, and exploded it. Plus, it's the comfiest chair ever." Similar to shown at Open Air Modern.

Open Air Modern

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Greta Magnusson Grossman: A Car and Some Shorts: "Just a gorgeous book! A true pioneer, Grossman came from Sweden to California and almost single-handedly brought modern design to the west coast."

489 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn NY 11211

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Osvaldo Borsani P31 chairs: "An Italian take on the Eameses' molded plywood seating. But Borsani totally made the technique his own. And three legs? Hotness." $6,800 for a pair at Open Air Modern.

718-383-6465

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Gino Sarfatti: Selected Works 1938-1973: "Incredible survey of Sarfatti's work. Each lamp gets its own page, plus there's an encyclopedic reference at the end for quick IDs."

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Peter Hvidt drop-leaf table: "One of my favorite pieces in the shop. The wood selection is amazing. The design solution for the drop-leaf function is pure elegance." $4,500 at Open Air Modern

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MoMA Organic Design: "The historical 1941 exhibit this book catalogs predates the LCW [editor's note: the Eames Lounge Chair Wood]! It also shows a collaboration between the Eameses and Eero Saarinen and the roots of their future work. Scarce."

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Pair of round chairs by Hans Wegner: "Proportionally perfect! And with a generous seat platform for comfort. You don't just sit in this chair, you have a sensuous seating experience." $6,800 for a pair at Open Air Modern

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Motion and Beauty: The Book of Nanna Ditzel: "The genius behind Kvadrat's Hallingdal fabric also designed furniture, jewelry, and playgrounds, at first in collaboration with her husband and later on her own. A talented designer whose varied output ought to be more well-known."

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Paul McCobb dining set: "Super versatile; the chairs look great mixed-and-matched with other styles, and the table kills with Eames chairs. A call back to early American Shaker furniture. Just as well-built, too." See more Paul McCobb furniture at Open Air Modern.

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Decorative Art and Modern Interiors: "We have several books in this series from the 1960s and 1970s. Each one gives a snapshot of what was happening that year in international interior design, including objects, textiles, glass. Very inspiring."

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Ib Kofod-Larsen secretary: "This teak piece epitomizes Scandinavian utility design. You can use it all your life and it will serve a dozen different functions as your needs change and evolve. The secret locking drawers are so cool." This item has sold, but shop for other Scandinavian secretaries at Open Air Modern.