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This 20th-Century Vintage Design Store in London is Giving Peak Postmodern Maximalism

Vintage dealer M.Kardana opened a store on Hackney Road in London earlier this year, a physical space that allows owner Mario Kardana to take joy in the arranging of things. “What I love is curating all of these various pieces that could be 70 years apart and making them work together and complement each other,” he says. “I always make sure to mix styles and eras as this is what I find the most fun and interesting.” Downstairs, on the original wonky wooden floorboards, it’s maximalist and colorful whereas the newer upstairs room is more suited to Postmodern and clean-cut pieces.  

There’s a touch of the eccentric and surreal to everything that goes through the store: a standing fairytale mirror held up by curly wrought-iron ribbons, peppy pine side tables wearing shoes, surely a magician’s trompe l’oeil table with a removable carved wooden tablecloth. “I love the classic Modernist and Constructivist pieces but also anything quite wacky and out there with Beetlejuice vibes,” Kardana says.  

Kardana remembers being interested in design and objects from a young age, going to auctions with his dad. Born in England, he spent his childhood in Cyprus and returned most years to visit family. In his family homes he grew up among an unusual combination of British and Greek Cypriot design styles. “The mix I found a little over the top,” he says, “but also quite charming and touching as we always grew up with both cultures alongside us.” He’d no doubt find a way to make it work in the store. 

Kardana studied product design and went on to become a graphic designer, but after a sudden urge to quit his full-time design job, he found himself with a stall at a market selling items he’d collected over the years. From that was born M.Kardana, which started as a social media page and a website. Everything was stored in a large shared warehouse on the outskirts of London where he’d do restoration and photograph pieces to go online. Eventually opening the brick and mortar store, it was satisfying to finally create vignettes for imaginary homes. While Kardana usually sources from auctions and antique fairs around the UK and Europe, he’s perpetually on the lookout for special pieces wherever he goes. Even on holiday, he can’t help but look up local furniture markets and boot sales. “I guess it’s a bit of an addiction,” he says. Here are some of his current favorites.

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