Anikesh Ramani and Gavin Thomas individually source and recommission all the Mid-Century and Scandinavian pieces that can be found in Parkhurst’s most stylish furniture store, MØDERNIST.
We stopped by, had a look around, and asked the duo a few questions about the space, the MØDERNIST aesthetic, and the difference between Scandinavian and Mid-Century design.
Where is your space?
On 4th Ave. (cnr. 12th St.) Parkhurst
What about the location appeals to you?
It’s a corner shop with an authentic ’50s façade (including original window frames) on a busy street in a bustling neighbourhood.
What is the MØDERNIST aesthetic?
Clean, simple, minimal.
What is the story behind the store?
Gavin had a small shop called Wasteland at 44 Stanley Avenue > I was a good client of his > we became friends > we expanded on this existing business model > MØDERNIST was born.
The MØDERNIST feels more like a friend’s lounge (albeit a friend with very good taste) than a furniture showroom. Was this the intention?
The intention is to be a furniture showroom while suggesting how the pieces could be used in an environment. We subscribe to a less linear layout, which allows for a more relaxed shopping experience.
If the Modernist were a lounge, who would be found hanging out there and what might they be doing?
Elvis in his fat years.
You’ve held intimate live music events in the space before – how does this add to/relate to what the space is about?
We like music. We like working on interesting collaborations. We have the space, why not utilise it?
And the “automotive pieces”?
We’ve had a couple of vintage Triumph motorbikes in and out of the shop. A 1935 Tiger T70 and a 1956 Tiger T 110. We don’t really make money on these, they are mainly for the interest value and a great example of classic and timeless design.
What defines Scandinavian/Mid-Century design? Are these two styles actually similar, or are they completely different despite often being lumped together?
Scandinavia relates to Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway & Iceland. Mid century refers to a period, mainly the 50’s and 60’s which is the era that most of our pieces come from. Specifically the Danes and the Swedes were prolific designers during this time. Therefore, you could have a piece that is both Scandinavian in origin and Mid-Century in period although they are not mutually exclusive.
How would you say this aesthetic relates to the South Africa/Johannesburg context?
Due to the simple, clean design, these pieces are timeless and work in a global market not exclusive to any particular place. Due to this quality and their history, you’ll find them anywhere where people embrace good taste & appreciate good design.
What music is playing in the Modernist?
The National, King Krule, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, About Group, Daniel Lanois, Fleet Foxes, Atlas Sound, Timber Timbre, The Black Keys, Jim White… should we keep going?
What will the space never see?
You can find out more about MØDERNIST on their facebook page here.