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Old is the New Thing

The growing trend I’ve spotted in the design community is combining something old with something new. It’s on all the design and remodel shows as well as in chic, new contemporary office spaces and some of the latest home builder websites. Everyone is beginning to incorporate something old into their space. So, why is this happening now? Has the pendulum swung back to when antiques were cool? Is it just a flash in the pan or have people realized the power of one amazing piece that can add a pop of interest or even spark great conversation? Marketing departments have known this for years… If you can make people stop in their tracks you can win their hearts. A disrupter is proven to refocus attention on what’s important.

Also, there’s a renewed interest in antique investing. And the thing is, it’s seen as a “new,” alternative, tangible asset class. And funny to me, or terrifying, is the items from the 1970s and 80s are now considered antique. The new rule of thumb is it generally takes 40 to 50 years before an object is considered antique. In auctioneer training, we are taught that generally an item needs to be at least 100 years old to be considered antique, but it’s just not the accepted norm anymore. So, as we move into the 2020s, objects from the 1970s will start to be widely accepted as antiques. And it’s believed that the disco era of the 1970s, with its crazy combinations of sleek modernism and textured, abstract naturalism is sure to attract a large connoisseur following. This is just as other periods of the past have done. Nothing new here. Even items from the 1980s will begin to acquire an aura of antiqueness as they reach their collectible age. I think it’s the Deco comparison. The “Miami Vice Period” has similar, exaggerated geometric designs, but had a preference for bright, primary or neon colors and the use of luxury materials. The 1980s as a genre will most likely carve out an important niche for itself in the collector community. If you doubt me, remember when we all thought bell bottoms would never come back?

As in all things, it’s a cycle and history will repeat itself. Even with our minimalist ways right now, we seem to want that conversation piece or disruptor in our chi. Anything that stimulates an interest in collecting or investing is great for the secondary market and even better for your new design and style. So remember, out with the old, and in with something a little older, because your 90s style is so, not in vogue. Just sayin’.

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