I've just spent one of the most enjoyable days of the year in Reading, Berkshire, at Mid20C, owned by my friend and long-time antique and 20thC design dealer Al Baynham. Those who have bought the Fat Lava DVD will have seen him being interviewed at the original Fat Lava exhibition in 2006. It was unsurprising, then, to see a fantastic and wide variety of West German vases from the 1950s-70s on display. I spotted stonking, classic designs by Scheurich, Ruscha, Roth and more, with prices ranging from £30-over £200. And pricing is an important point to make with Al's stock. I've been to many 20thC design shops where the prices have made me gasp - in horror! The only gasps you'll make here are of delight, or you plan how to get everything you want to buy home. His prices really are on the (much) better side of fair.
As well as Fat Lava ceramics, you'll find a great selection of eye-catching Whitefriars, Czechoslovakian and Scandinavian glass, classic mid-century modern furniture by the likes of Eames and Saarinen, and a selection of collectable ceramics from around the world. Arranged in two large and well-lit, newly decorated rooms, it's a joy to browse and a real retro jewel in Reading's crown. Al also lists some of his stock on eBay, but tells me that many buyers prefer to come to collect their new purchases, chat about their collections and see other pieces he has on offer. If you're in the area, it's a must to visit.
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