Curating Preowned Design Pieces for the Home

  • How often have you attended a live or online auction selling vintage furniture and been disappointed not to be the winning bidder? Sound familiar? Well, Design Consigned, established five years ago by interior designer Mel de Campo, has put that disappointment behind us, with those keen to purchase preowned designer pieces and artwork in a more relaxed way.

    At Design Consigned, buyers can browse some of the most coveted designs, with images and detailed descriptions – many of which once featured in blue-ribbon houses across Australia. “The idea started when I worked at a leading interior design studio and came into fruition after trips to New York and LA where I visited consignment stores filled with fabulous designer furniture minus the retail price tags,” Mel says. The business has succeeded through the past two years of the pandemic, as many became frustrated by growing lead times for European-designed furniture. “If my customer is in Melbourne, I can often offer free same-day delivery or interstate within ten days,” she adds.

    In partnership with Design Consigned

    Having local Australian customers willing to shop sustainably eliminates energy consumption from international shipping and being 100 per cent online means zero carbon footprint. “I am proud to run a 100 per cent sustainable operation – it’s paperless and uses recycled packaging,” Mel says. “If a client feels the item is not as described we offer a three day cooling off for a partial or full refund and return,” Mel says, though she has rarely encountered a disappointed customer. “We present every aspect of the item including any faults”.

    Selling high-quality vintage or preowned design pieces in this way allows the life of objects to be extended and maintains the integrity of the brand and the designer. The new owner enjoys all the environmental ‘zenefits’. It is a sustainable outcome for all. “A great, well made, authentic design can have many lives. We are seeing far too much ‘fast furniture’ on the sidewalk on its way to landfill,” Mel says.

    Mel can also offer expert advice or tailored design packages as an interior designer. For example, she recently supplied a complete turnkey solution for a client in West Melbourne. Three white ‘About a Stool’ from Hay Denmark were selected for the kitchen bench, a vintage Millennial Drive red sofa from Tacchini Italy and a Gaston black leather armchair by Vincent Van Duysen for the living room, as well as a Poliform Josephine bed frame with lift up storage for the owner’s ski equipment. “I took design cues from images the owner had shot in Japanese ski villages, in particular the combination of snow, red temples and black wooden bridges,” Mel says. A Taliesin floor lamp in cherrywood with Japanese shoji paper shade designed in 1023 by eminent architect Frank Lloyd Wright for his own home was also included in the mix.

    Those wishing to sell their unwanted design pieces can also contribute to the ‘sustainable chain’ by submitting images directly via the CONSIGN button on the Design Consigned website. “There is a great feeling of satisfaction knowing your unwanted pieces will be presented alongside some of the best design pieces in the world and will be going safely to their new home,” Mel says. “I never want people to feel trapped with design. Who says you have to live with the same pieces forever?” she adds.

    Other items in Design Consigned’s collection include the highly coveted Mario Bellini cab chairs, De Sede DS-600 sofa and B&B Tufty Time sofa. “I just shipped The Cloud Chair by Moroso for just over $5,000 to a client living in Armidale in New South Wales,” Mel says, who sees the value in purchasing designer furniture and art without having the headaches of a long wait for pieces to arrive. Art can also be found at Design Consigned, including work by well-known Melbourne-based photographer Bill Henson and artist Dean Bowen, also based in Melbourne. “I prefer to support local artists,” Mel adds.

    Although Mel’s penthouse client chose numerous items, Mel suggests mixing things up, using a few of her vintage pieces with well-loved pieces. And as with a gallery owner who hand-picks the artists represented, Mel carefully looks through pieces offered to her, suggesting that some are not quite right for her clientele or with price tags too prohibitive for her market. Given visits to furniture fairs have been on pause for the past couple of years, people are quickly discovering the pleasure of browsing through great designer furniture from the comfort of one’s home.

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