Modernica Factory House Tour

Modernica Factory House Tour

Laure Joliet
Dec 14, 2007

Name: Modernica Factory
Location: Downtown LA
Size: Seemingly an entire city block and 3 floors.

After hosting our Fall Colors Contest last month, we got an invite from Frank, one of the co-owners of Modernica, to tour their factory in downtown LA. This is where every order comes through--yes, every case study bed, every split rail couch. To say that it was a complete wonderland would be an understatement. Not only do they have an entire prop department that fills 2 floors with decades worth of collectible furniture, artwork, housewares and electronics but they have thousands of Fiberglass Shell Chairs and Bubble Lamps at the ready. Frank took the time to answer a couple questions below the jump...

Frank, who started the company in 1989 with his brother, now runs the warehouse and factory, while his brother runs the showroom on Beverly. I got to ask him a couple of questions:

What year was Modernica founded? 1989

What is your favorite color? Purple, even though I don't anything purple in my house, I love it. To me it's the new orange.

What is your most treasured piece of furniture? A RM Schindler box stool from the Lovell Beach house that I replicated for the Schindler furniture show at UC Santa Barbara.

Do you have any Modernica pieces at home? I have two Case Study daybeds with bent wood legs, a custom Tenon table, a Delta couch(no longer in production), a Poppa Bear chair a Case Study fiberglass desk chair, a custom Case Study desk ,some Schindler tables and Case Study stainless steel outdoor furniture. My favorite piece is the Case Study double wide stainless steel chaise. It's like having a bed outside. I have a Russell Wright dining set that was made in the same year as my house, 1937. It looks like it's been with my house forever.

What's your favorite thing about LA? It's a great frontier for new ideas. I couldn't have started my business anywhere else and been as successful. There's an amazing synergy between all of the creative fields from film to food. People here are more open to new ideas than anywhere else in the country. That's why so many trends start here.

Other than Modernica, what's your favorite place to find furniture? I love to shop in used furniture stores, as opposed to antique stores. I've been dealing with old furniture for over 30 years, originally with my parents business, and I still get a rush from finding something that I've never seen before.

If you didn't work in furnishings, what would you do instead? I made a movie a while ago, , later re-titled Better Housekeeping. I'd like to make another one.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? I write a column for Arkitip magazine, Modernov.

And finally--is there anything about Modernica that you'd like to tell us that maybe we don't already know? We were remaking mid century furniture before it was popular. Many of the period designs that we make were abandoned by the original manufacturers.

It's also worth noting that the props were the biggest surprise--who knew Modernica had a prop department? The two full floors were amassed over decades of collecting by Frank and his brother. Every notable design from the 50's, 60's and 70's is included, most impressive the whole room dedicated to vintage tableware.

As for the factory, it was surprising to see how little of the assembly is automated. Some of the pieces are manufactured a couple of miles away in the original Eames Factory, but everything is assembled at this location by ... people. Real people. Incredible.

Thanks Again Frank!

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