Continuing the occasional mini-series on Good Shops That You Need To Know About, this week, Mad About The House turns its attention to the contemporary store. Obviously, this is just a taster rather than claiming to be an exhaustive list. But if retro and vintage isn’t your bag or you like to mix the two styles together then here are some of the places you should look to start with.
Billing itself as a Modern Design Superstore, this is the place to come if you want to buy a design classic. They stock everything from the aforementioned Adelta bubble chair to Zanotta, the Italian furniture company set up in 1954. And they have a vast range of everything else in between. Owner Christian Hawley determined to set up a store that would bring people from far and wide, and given that the shop is in Sheffield he has achieved that. The website has some 15,000 products and the staff are knowledgeable and happy to answer questions about their pieces.
Smaller than Nest, The Lollipop Shoppe prides itself on its carefully curated collection of modern designers. The mix is eclectic reflecting the different backgrounds of the two owners so you are more likely to be surprised by what you find here. With two shops in London and Brighton – if you prefer to try before you buy – as well as the online store, you can find everything from an Alessi coffee pot to a Tom Dixon chair or an Eames Lounger. The collection is surprisingly large and the staff pride themselves on their exhaustive knowledge.
Panik Design was founded by Paul Overton in 2001. A family-run company, the name comes from Paul, Nic and their son Kai. Paul fell in love with good design when he went on holiday to Copenhagen as a child, with his father who worked for SAS Airlines. Later, he worked for Olivetti. Until 2004, Panik was run from a small unit in a Milton Keynes shopping centre but has now grown to fill a 6,500 sq ft warehouse with a large online presence as well. If you are a fan of Italian and/or Scandinavian design, this is the place to come and Paul can tell you everything you need to know.
MADE IN DESIGN
Another vast e-shop, Made In Design has everything from a beautiful Scandi tea towel for under to a tenner to – well as far as you dare to think. As well as all the classic names that you would expect to find, the sheer scale of the store, allows for plenty of those that will be new to you. The detail is exhaustive; there are 11 different types of eggcups and three pages of rugs alone. Make sure you have time for a browse or the children will be left at school, the deadlines will be missed and there’ll be no dinner for anyone.
Run by husband and wife team, Justin Baddon and Juliet Moleta, this store in Edinburgh has a good selection of both the classics and the up and comers, which is good to see. Come here for Anorak, Dead Good and Mass Productions as well as Fatboy, Louis Poulsen and Anglepoise. You can shop by room, brand or department or spend a happy hour in the clearance room and there’s also a gifts section if you need inspiration.
In our quest to bring you the best store from around the country, it’s off to Liverpool we go. Utility has a huge range of modern, original designs from furniture and lighting to smaller accessories made by both smaller, independent designers and the bigger brands. There’s a slight Italian emphasis, for those of you who are interested and the team recently opened a gift store where you can buy jewellery and greetings cards as well as a premises in the King’s Cross area of London.
Chaplins is a vast warehouse of contemporary design beloved by all the interioristas. If they haven’t got it, you probably don’t want it, but you’ll need to set aside plenty of time to find out as there’s always just one more chair to test and one more bed to lie on. Chaplins also prides itself on introducing new designers but beware the prices aren’t online.
THE CONRAN SHOP
A piece about the best design shops in the UK can’t go by with mention of our very own Sir Tel. The first store was responsible for the revival of the iconic Michelin building and there are now six branches with many more planned. The collection is both classic and contemporary, inexpensive to aspirational not forgetting the fabulous Well Considered range which offers great design at more affordable prices.