Opening Day at Brimfield starts early! Part 2 of my trip tells you what I found and how I managed the challenge, till next time!
Brimfield Flea Markets in Massachusets is America's oldest outdoor antique flea market. Like many of my design trips, Brimfield has been on my travel list for quite some time. The flea market only happens 3 times a year, so I had to mark my calendar to make sure I could plan in advance. May, July, or September were my options.
How do you begin to plan a visit to over twenty acres of antique stands? I had to start with logistics, where is Brimfield exactly, how do I get there and where would I stay? Just the thought of over 5,000 vendors makes me giddy and gives me major anxiety at the same time. Luckily there are some amazing online resources and veteran visitors willing to provide their knowledge to this newbie.
So far here are the resources I've been using.
and this app Brimfield Flea Finder
I try not to overwhelm myself with viewing the vendor lists and have decided to leave my finds up to chance, that's really the best way to conquer a flea market. You can't plan what you are going to find Rule #1.
Rule #2 make sure you know where to park. So far I've been told that by 8 am, parking lots are full so when they say it opens at sunrise, it's no joke. At 6 am doors will be opening to some of the fields. Over 30,000 visitors arrive in Brimfield and I'm hoping to be one of the first. My weather should be partly cloudy and sunny with 0% chance of rain. Apparently, Brimfield has a history of no rain, but you ever know. Always best to check and prepare for what you can, which leads to Rule #3 plan your packing.
When I visited the flea market in Paris for the first time it was impossible for me to know I'd end up falling in love with a vintage fur coat that took up most of the single suitcase I had with me. I considered wearing it on the flight but arriving in Miami, FL I'm pretty sure I would've raised some red flags walking through customs. To play it safe, by the end of my Paris trip, I had a new carry-on and an additional suitcase to check in - amateur move (palm to face emoji).
On this trip I am bringing an empty duffle bag with wheels that I'm packing inside my half-empty suitcase, a carry-on - empty, a shopping tote and my Mother! Yes, my Mother, the woman who taught me about Louis Comfort Tiffany lamps at Pizza Hut and dragged me to every estate sale growing up, is joining me on my journey to Brimfield. Her luggage is pretty empty too!
I'm excited to find out what we'll discover. There are so many online resources these days for searching for art and design, ebay, Etsy, Chairish and 1st dibs are just a few but none can compete with the experience of speaking directly to a vendor at the flea market. I'm hoping to learn a thing or two and engage in some great conversations, which is Rule #4 and the most important rule in flea market shopping, ask questions!! Most Vintage Dealers are extremely passionate about their inventory and love to share their knowledge.
Have breakfast at La Sirena by Mario Batali (just happened to be in the hotel)
Enjoy the decor and compare it to many other hotel restaurants: it’s nice but not groundbreaking.
Meet longtime friend Marco (designer) at the Chelsea Market
Walk the High Line while catching up
Head to design fair Wanted Design for a lecture with Alberto Alessi (as in over 100 year old Italian Design company Alessi) together with his nephew Carlo Alberto Gasparini, professors Tom Kovac, Reiner Zettl, architect Hernan Diaz Alonso and moderator Editor of Metropolis Magazine Susan Szenasy about the Future of Design.
Take away: Companies need to embrace technology together with skill to produce art and poetry through design.
Walk through Wanted Design
Highlights: New furniture for kids by Nursery Works, Kinder Modern and Oeuf. Table top pieces: French ceramics by Maison Sarah Lavoine, glass pieces by Nordic designer Lars Beller Fjetland and Marble catch all pieces by Retegui.
Hop in an Uber to design fair Sight Unseen OFFSITE at the beautiful Grace building.
Initial reaction: the Grace was a great venue with gorgeous views of Bryant Park.
Highlights: Norway x New York, Mast together with Calico Wallpaper, Bower, the Furnishing Utopia exhibition, Object & Totem, Bloc Studios and so many more. Overall there were great lighting pieces and ceramics.
Hop in a cab to Soho
Get off at Spring St to find lunch
Eat at Lovely Day
Walk over to design stores Alessi and Morosso.
See designer Patricia Urquiola at Morosso and be totally star struck.
Walk over to Canal Street to see the group show at Good Colony
Miss a lecture by Rafael de Cardenas
Meet founder and curator of Good Colony Jean Lin
Learn about Good Colony’s new collaboration with nordic textile company Febrik
Walk pass Opening Ceremony to window shop
Continue on to Matter
Ogle Matter made light pieces that resemble midcentury modern sunshades
Walk north to Future Perfect on Great Jones St
Check out the exhibition of works by Christopher Stuart and Ladies & Gentleman Studio with John Hogan.
Walk over to the Village for a drink at The Half Pint
Order hot toddy, fried calamari and coffee
Talk shop with Marco on everything we saw, the industrial design world, trade shows, future projects and potential collaborations
Take notes on to-dos
Call it a night
Breakfast again at La Sirena this time order better: Duck egg with Polenta, yes!
Check out of hotel
Leave carry on at front desk
Head over to trade show ICFF
Begin to walk the hallways
Head over to lecture on the second floor Designing Retail Stores for Today’s Savvy Shopper with Harry Cunningham from Vera Bradley, Adam Carmichael with the Saks group and Diana M. Bernal, luxe brands.
Take away: Brick and mortar is now about telling a brand story and consumer experience. Focus on materials that age well
Continue walking though ICFF to find a phone charger
Hangout at the Design Milk Lounge designed by Bower and Flor to charge phone and check map for exhibitors.
Walk up and down the hallways for the next couple hours
Purchase a crappy turkey sandwich - eat it, drink water
Continue walking up and down hallways
See new collections by Muuto, Rich Brilliant and Willing, Bernhardt Design, Egg Collective, Piet Boon, Tom Dixon and many, many others.
Get back to the hotel
Realize you still have an hour before you actually have to head to airport
Walk over to the Vitra store check out Kaari Collection by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Artek
Pick up a free coffee and cookie in the Vitra store lobby
Realize you still have 30 minutes to spare
Head over to Rebecca Taylor in the Meatpacking and make an impulsive purchase you’ll never regret.
Make it to the airport
Eat whatever they have at the Centurion Lounge
Sort through photos of all the awesome pieces you want to use in future projects
Don't miss your flight
For images from NYCxDesign check out my Instagram feed
Halloween has past and we all know Thanksgiving is just around the corner piled in by Art Basel Miami Beach or Miami Art Week as it’s called these days, leaving no time left for Christmas shopping. Experiences, they say make the best gifts these days. So, I am getting a head start here with a few ideas for weekend trips that can keep on giving great memories and accruing Instagram likes. An IOU for one of these getaways in 2016 is perfect for any art and design loving mind.
Recommendations have been put together with various reliable sources, many thanks!