Posted by Roy Mackey on Friday, November 30, 2012
Hey if you like cool vintage finds with an industrial twist here is a real score. The Found & The Freed. They are in the old Hamilton building on the corner of Powell and Victoria drive. We just stumbled across them awhile back. In fact they are just down the street from us. Marta and I were out one day just going for a walk to get some candy bars for breakfast the next day when we spotted the place. She said we should go in but I took one look and noticed they had a lot of junk similar to what I have in my studio. "Weirdo's" I thought after all my Dad always told me to never trust anyone who did what I did. Just the same she conned me into going in. Now I admit I did make sure I kept my back to the exit door just in case. After all you can never be too careful with people selling this kind of stuff. Before long though I was drooling over all the cool scores they had in there! What a cool place.
On top of being a really cool place the two owners, Ainsley and Lindsay, seemed very nice and friendly. A couple of real dynamo's in fact and with incredibly good taste and style. Now I am not talking here about Wally's Mart or Iskea tastes that have made Vancouver design what it is today but real taste. We are talking about classic vintage pieces covered in a patina that only time and use can reproduce. Pieces that will outlast you and are as much an investment as anything.
Now I admit if you are rich and can afford to shop at Wally's Mart or Iskea then fine you may want to stick to them. After all it is only the rich that can truly afford to buy that cheap junk. Mostly because six months later you will be throwing it in the landfill and having to buy it again. Unfortunately most lower income people don't realize the folly and expense of buying that cheap stuff. Not that big a deal though as I guess landfills gotta eat too.
Well after weeks of "window stalking" their joint I finally spotted some cool cabinets they had... in fact exactly like the ones I had been looking for. Eventually I started even dreaming about those cabinets but on my "feast or famine" artist lifestyle it was obvious that I could probably not afford them. One day when walking by I noticed they were open so dashed in to check them out in further detail. Well after after a little haggling, hair pulling, eye scratching and lying we managed to work out a deal on them. In a flash I went from looking to longing to lugging them home.
They are likely sixty years old or more and still work like day one. This in incredible considering if you are not careful with most new ones today will get damaged or broken on the way home from the store. Not a big deal if you buy the extended warranty or are rich like I said earlier but of course I ain't... at least this week anyway..
Here are the three gems I scored. Maybe not that much good for some people but absolutely perfect for what I need. I have similar ones here already that are incredible. They have each drawer loaded with well over a hundred pounds of steel bits and yet open and close like butter. It is almost hard to believe. Modern marketing has learned that if you call cheap junk good quality enough times people will start to believe it is true even if it is not the case. Eventually though people figure out that junk is junk no matter what the add says.
Buying vintage is truly "going green" at the same time being a great investment. A lot of modern stuff is designed to be "green" by making it smaller and more compact to ship. This saves fuel costs when shipping the item which seems like a good thing. The bigger question is how long will the item last. Often not that long. In fact nothing is more common in Vancouver dumpsters than a broken Iskea wood "by-product" also known as the "urkzya" coffee table or the "kilzya" chair. Stuff that lasts only six months to a year or so does not make it green no matter how cheap it was to ship. Black is black no matter what. I don't care what some slick marketer prints on the bag it ain't "green"
Now I realize that we have made landfills a big part of our life and in fact even more so as we get suckered into buying junk designed to fail sooner than later. Eventually though as more people start to see through this and start buying stuff that lasts over stuff that is trendy things will change. Sure it is a crime and if manufacturer's were held responsible then maybe they would be a little more conscious but don't hold your breath on that one. Besides we humans do get bored easily and need to be kept busy making things or we end up wanting to kill each other out of boredom. Just the same that does not mean you have to follow the herd when you can be having a riot hunting down cool and rare originals for you private use, collection and investment!!!. .
The nice thing about buying classic vintage stuff like they sell is the fact that it will very likely never see the landfill. Not only that but after you step beyond the great divide your kids will be thanking you for leaving them these valuable historic gems. Which will be far better than cursing you for buying so much disposable landfill junk that they have to deal with. After all most used cheap furniture is like old half used cans of paint... everyone's disposal nightmare. Especially since dumping them over some bank on government land is no longer politically correct or socially acceptable.
There are a few reasons to be shopping there... first it is win/win. You win by showing you have good taste that goes beyond the herd at the same time making an investment in North American history that you could profit from. Then later on your descendants win by having vintage junk they could sell for a fortune not to mention having a little less landfill to deal with. On top of that and in case you have not heard vintage industrial is one of the hottest trends in New York city right now... at least according to the mothership who have telling me for ages to buy up all the vintage industrial I can. That being the case it will be a long time before this, hard to find junk, will go down in price. When buying vintage stuff you have to be a little careful. Often we look at the price and compare it to off the shelf imported junk which is not really fair. You see if you matched prices on vintage stuff to something of the same quality today (and it can be found if you look hard enough just not at the big box stores) then you can get a real perspective. Just like you cannot compare a used Rolls Royce to a bottom of the line Toyolet.
Anyway if you are in the hood chekem out... I am telling you these two got an eye for cool stuff. Especially if you like vintage with a bit of an industrial twist, you will be glad you did. I believe they are presently open by appointment only right now but you can do a little window shopping if you do wing by the area. Or if nothing else click on the underlined link below and check out their site for a taste of vintage industrial Zen...