Form Vintage Modern lies tucked amidst the cozy traditionalism of College Avenue in Oakland's Rockridge neighborhood. Owned by husband-and-wife team Joe and Lindsay Kunis, the store showcases classic teak, walnut and rosewood furniture by design luminaries such as Eames, Knoll and Wegner, as well as newer items from the likes of Modernica, Flos and Vitra.Judiciously mixed in with the clean-lined Danish modern furnishings is a smattering of pieces with more elaborate Hollywood Regency styling: a pair of red lacquered nightstands, as well as Asian modern consoles and sideboards, a faux bamboo occasional table, and a pair of brass wheat-sheaf side tables.
The combination works because the items all have a simple elegance and sophistication. Though mid-century is the store's unifying theme, it's more eclectic than you might expect. As owner Joe Kunis says, "We specialize in things that are unusual and relatively accessible."
Rounding out Form's offerings are reissues of George Nelson's iconic Bubble Lamps, new mid-century-style sofas and chairs from Bombast, and Alessi tableware. Delicate pottery by Emeryville ceramicist Sara Paloma as well as colorful blown glass and vintage ceramics grace many of the tables and shelves. Seventies Op-Art serigraphs share a bright exuberance with contemporary work by local artists such as Bethany Ayres and Justin O'Neill.
Although roughly 90 percent of Form's wares are vintage, everything in the store is in pristine condition. If it's not mint (and most of it is), then the Kunises have it refinished and reupholstered so that it shines like new. And unlike a lot of high-end showrooms with similarly pedigreed stock, the vibe at Form is laid-back and friendly, and Joe is happy to chat and to fill in his customers about each piece and its maker.
Prices for signed sideboards, chairs, tables, and dinette sets are not for budget shoppers. Prices can run several hundred to a few thousand dollars apiece, but still compare favorably to similar stores in San Francisco. (Plus, Kunis says that prices for many vintage items are negotiable.) Most of the store's accessories cost under $100, and many can be had for less than $50. You can also snag relative bargains by keeping an eye out for shop's occasional eBay auctions.
Form Vintage Modern
is located six blocks south of the Rockridge BART station and is open Wednesdays through Sundays from noon until 6 p.m.
Local Artist Links:
• Sara Paloma
• Bethany Ayres
• Justin O'Neill
(Edited from this post originally published 07.06.07 - CB)