For thrift store-lovers and garage sale-shoppers alike, there is nothing more rewarding than digging through an old box of goods and unearthing the gem that you have always been looking for. Now, combine that with a passion for vintage and home design, and what you get is Downtown Modernism, the second annual market for vintage modern design coming to Los Angeles this Sunday.
The event is hosted by Modernica, a manufacturer of modern furniture. Though the company is not selling its own furniture, it is creating the opportunity for collectors, connoisseurs and treasure hunters to sift through mid-century, modernist and vintage artifacts from the company’s hand-picked group of furniture, lighting and décor design dealers.
“We’re going to have over 85 booths, from the best dealers that are around Southern California — and it’s not just dealers, but also collectors that are coming to sell their collections,” said Director of E-commerce Cara King. “There are a lot of things that aren’t currently out in stores that people can come find. It’s a real treasure hunt.”
Though not every single item sold is specifically from the mid-century — with some products erring on the earlier side, others on the later — King said that what separates this marketplace from others going on around Los Angeles and in other cities is the unique time period in which it finds itself.
“There aren’t many venues where all of the dealers of this nature can really come together, so it was about recreating that shopping experience to bring the best vintage modern designs of Southern California together,” King said. “There’s events like the [Rose Bowl Flea Market], but that’s more inclusive to clothing and to a larger date range, as opposed to being more of a focus on modernism specifically.”
Furthermore, the location couldn’t be more fitting. Architecture and interior design’s mid-century modern period ranges from approximately 1933 to 1965, The movement is said to have originated in Los Angeles and picked up speed with the well-known Case Study Program. The style emphasizes clean lines, bold colors, organic shapes and industrial materials.
“[The event] does tie closely into our business, but that is the love of the owners,” King said. “They’re very excited about that time period.”
Having a furniture company host the event — taking place on its factory premises outdoors and sprawling across five acres — also proved beneficial when it came to selecting the participating dealers.
“The owners of Modernica are huge furniture enthusiasts, and we also have a props house, so we have a vast network of people that we deal with,” King said. “Some of it is personal invitation, and then also some of it is word of mouth as well.”
Though Downtown Modernism is only in its second year, there has already been an overwhelmingly positive response from both sides of the market.
“Everything was really positive that came back from the shoppers and from the dealers,” King said. “We have most of the dealers returning from last year, and we had attendants — probably between 1,500 and 2,000 — last year, and we expect that amount back.”
In addition to displaying furniture and other small objects such as pottery, Modernica has organized partnerships with multiple local businesses featuring food vendors and gourmet coffee, making it an enjoyable experience for shoppers of all ages, backgrounds and levels of interest.
“We’re working with Downtown Dog Rescue, and they’ll have some dogs available for adoption,” King said. “We also will have some food and coffee on site. We’ve got Cafecito Organico and Border Grill and Sweet Lucie’s Ice Cream will be there.”
Downtown Modernism will be held at 2901 Saco St., Los Angeles, CA 90058. The event is open to the public and tickets can be purchased for $5 at the venue.