Retailer Spotlight: Markanto

Share this post Twitter Facebook Tumblr Email Posted February 04, 2013 in Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, Eliel Saarinen, Florence Schust Knoll, German Modernism, Markanto, mid-century, Midcentury Rocking Chairs, Modernism Cologne, Ralph Rapson, Rapson Architects, Rapson Greenbelt Rocker, Rapson-Inc.

We here at Rapson-Inc. are very excited to introduce our latest retailer, Markanto. Based in Cologne, Germany, it has established itself as a premier European retailer of unique designer furnishings, both current and vintage, and ships across the EU.

Now featuring Rapson Greenbelt® Line, Ralph Rapson is the latest Cranbrook Academy alumni whose designs are sold at Markanto. (In the 1940s-50s, the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan was known as the hotbed of American modernism. Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Ray and Charles Eames, and Florence Schust Knoll are a few of Rapson's best-known classmates and colleagues from his Cranbrook years.) 

Sven Vorderstrase, the Markanto owner/manager, graciously took time for an interview with us just as Markanto's Rock It Baby exhibition in Cologne was in full swing:



I am always interested as to how people get their start in the business. How did you become interested in modern design?

In the 90s of the last century I was personally already interested in design classics. I loved the Bauhaus design, specially the tubular steel furniture, which was very popular at this time. Getting deeper and deeper in this stories, I recognized many other great designers, their creations or their stories.


I see Markanto opened in 1999. How has your business evolved over the years and where would you like it to go in the future?

At the beginning we had another business model: The idea was to be a platform for vintage design originals for dealers and collectors (like maybe today Deconet or Designaddict). We had over 1.000 vintage products published at this time on our web page. But the time was too early; dealers did not update us with information or response; and for many dealers the web was an enemy! But today we still offer a nice collection of vintage originals for museums and collectors.

So we started one year later as a second step with a web shop of design classics in current production. We were the first online dealer for many important design brands like Knoll, Vitra or Zanotta in the German market. Then we started our own re-editions, too – this include the re-edition of the carpet collection from Knoll International by Sigrid Wylach. She designed in the 70s for almost every furniture group of Knoll a special carpet, and this collection was very popular in Europe. But this collection was not sold in America, that's the reason that the nice collection is not published in the literature about Knoll.



And nearly every year we make now a special version of a design classic with one of our partners, like a limited version of the Ball clock from George Nelson with Vitra, an Art Deco version of the stool 60 with Artek or  a collector version of the seating object Otto by Peter Raacke (one of the first furniture in cardboard from the 60s).


I love the Rock It Baby exhibition you organized for January 2013. What feedback did you get from attendees about the Rapson Greenbelt Rocker?

Thank you for the compliment! In the last years we made already some exhibitions about STOOLS for example or last year about architects chairs in co-operation with the design museum in Cologne. So the idea came to us, to make this year's Markanto exhibition about rocking chairs, where we show designs by Panton, Tapiovaara, Guhl, Eames, Wegner – and Ralph Rapson. Many people liked the idea of this concept and came to see the exhibition. The Ralph Rapson rocking chairs were  a big surprise – because I think, they were shown for the first time in Germany (because they were never part of the Knoll collection in Germany). 



You have chosen to feature the three Rapson chairs from the Greenbelt line in Markanto. What was it about these chairs that attracted you to them?

I think, that there are not many really good rocking chairs, and the Greenbelt rockers are one of the best designs. I like especially the combination of American walnut and the cotton. It is timeless. We are proud to present the Rapson collection in Germany. 


I know this is a terribly hard question to answer, but if you had to choose a favourite piece or designer, what/who would it be?

That is really not an easy question! I love the period of the last mid century. At this time, many great designers made milestones like Eames with the first plastic chairs, George Nelson with the wall clocks, Eero Saarinen with the Tulip Chairs and many more. But I don't have an all time favourite piece, this changes every quarter – at the moment it is a fantastic vintage radio from Braun.



We really love the Rapson Greenbelt rocking chairs. They have a great story, because they belong to one of the first collections from Knoll, and together with the Jens Risom furniture, they look fantastic and are enjoyable to sit in.


[All photos sourced from and property of Markanto.de]

The Markanto showroom is located in the South of the  city, only 15 minutes away from Cologne Central Station. 

Markanto Depot, Mainzer Strasse 26, 50678 Köln. Germany 
Opening times: every Saturday from  11 am - 4 pm.


Caroline Engel for Rapson-Inc. 
  1. I am always interested as to how people get their start in the business. How did you become interested in modern design?

In the 90ths of the last century I was privatly already interested in design classics. I loved the Bauhaus design, specially the tubular steel furniture, which was very popular at this time. Getting deeper and deeper in this storys I reconised many other great designers, there creations or their storys.


  1. I see Markanto opened in 1999. How has your business evolved over the years and where would you like it to go in the future?

At the beginning we had another business model: The idea was to be a platform for vintage design originals for dealers and collectors (like maybe today Deconet or Designaddict). We had over 1.000 vintage products published at this time on our web page. But the time was to early, dealers did not update us with information or resonse and for many dealers were the web an enemy! But today we still offer a nice collection of vintage originals for museums and collectors.

So we started one year later as a second step with a web shop of design classics from current productions. We were the first online dealer for many important design brands like Knoll, Vitra or Zanotta in the German market. Then we started our own reedition  too – this include the reedition of the carpet collection from Knoll International by Sigrid Wylach. She designed in the 70ths for almost every furniture group of Knoll a special carpet, and this collection was very popular in Europe. But this collection was not sold in America, thats the reason, that the nice collection is not published in the literature about Knoll.

And nearly every year we make now a special version of a design classic with one of our partners, like a limited version of the Ball clock from George Nelson with Vitra, a Art Deco version of the stool 60 with Artek or  a collector version of the seating object Otto by Peter Raacke (one of the first furniture in cardboard from the 60ths).


I love the Rock It Baby exhibition you organized for January 2013. What feedback did you get from attendees about the Rapson Greenbelt Rocker?

Thank you for the compliment! In the last years we made already some exhibitions about STOOLS for exsample or last year about architects chairs in co-operation with the design museum in Cologne. So comes us the idea, to make this year a Markanto exhibition about rocking chairs, where we show designs by Panton, Tapiovaara, Guhl, Eames, Wegner – and Ralph Rapson. Many people like the idea of this concept and come to see the exhibition. The Ralph Rapson rocking chairs were  a big suprise – cause I think, they were shown the first time in Germany (cause they were never part of the Knoll collection in Germany). 

You have chosen to feature the three Rapson chairs from the Greenbelt line in Markanto. What was it about these chairs that attracted you to them?

I think, that there are not many really good rocking chairs, and the Greenbelt rockers are one of the best designs. I like specially the combination of American walnut and the cotton. It is timeless. We are proud, to present the Rapson collection in Germany. 

I know this is a terribly hard question to answer, but if you had to choose a favourite piece or designer, what/who would it be?

Thats really not an easy question! I love more the time of the last mid century. At this time many great designers make milesstones like Eames with  the first plastic chairs, George Nelson with the wall clocks, Eero Saarinen with the Tulip Chairs and many more. But I dont have an allltime favourite piece, this change every quarter – in  the moment it is a fantastic vintage radio from Braun -

http://www.markanto.de/product_info.php?language=en&products_id=1265


Please write anything you would like included in the blog that I may have missed. Also, do you have any photographs from the Rock It Baby exhibition? I would love a photo of yourself as well to feature on the blog - possibly one with a Rapson chair. Whatever you like! Finally, would you give permission for us to use any of the photos featured on your website?

We really love the Rapson Greenbelt rocking chairs. They have a great story, cause they belongs to one of the first collections from Knoll togther with the Jens Risom furniture, they look fantastic and it is enjoyable to sit in.

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Specifier Spotlight: Kurylowicz and Associates

Share this post Twitter Facebook Tumblr Email Posted May 11, 2012 in Architecture, Kurylowicz & Associates, mid-century, minneapolis, Modern furniture, poland, Rapson Rocker, Rapson-Inc., warsaw

A custom built Rapson Rocker has arrived to its new owner, Ms. Ewa Kurylowicz in Warsaw, Poland. Ms. Kurylowicz resides in the beautiful Nowe Powisle apartment complex, designed by her architectural firm, Kurylowicz & Associates. We are so pleased to share the photos she shared with us. The Rapson Rocker looks completely at home in its new surroundings. Shortly thereafter, her son Marek, wrote us, saying, "I had the pleasure to sit in the chair today. Great furniture. It's not a rocker only by name.



[photo credit: Ewa Kurylowicz, all rights reserved]

With over 70 employees on staff, Kurylowicz & Associates have a highly prolific profile. Much of their work is in the commercial sector, yet their structures are far from dull or run of the mill. As a practice, they seek to eliminate the too common division of social environments and commercial spaces. The Centre for Preventive Oncology in Warsaw is just one such example. The intent from inception was to create a calming sense of peace and harmony for patients. At the same time, the building emanates a message of superb care and technological advances. The pale silver exterior has a playful industrial aesthetic about it, accentuated by the Mario Bros geometrically shaped plots of grass in the surrounding landscape. The interior is light and airy, furnished with natural woods and vibrant space-age furniture. In turn, the atmosphere is a positive one, not one of boredom and dread that is so often felt in hospital waiting rooms.



 

   


[images credited to: Lukasz Czechowicz] 


Their adept, finely-tuned designs are not limited to large-scale projects. As mentioned in the preceding Q & A, the private house at Kazimierz was designed as a retirement home for Ewa and her late husband, and it currently serves as a weekend holiday home for the family. Although overtly modern in form and decor, the overall design pays tribute to the local historical building traditions. The natural lime stone walls, inside and out, along with the enormous wooden beams and ample wooden planking, create a tie between human habitation and nature. If it isn’t too early to dub a structure as neo-postmodern, this house is it. The forms are extruded, simplified and exaggerated, with a sort of light deconstructivist vibe. The stairways take on an almost structural quality, emphasizing the length and height of the house. Despite the oversized elements of the house, stairways, fireplace, ceiling beams, etc., and the actual large volume of the house, the spaces appear intimate and inviting, a feat that should not be under-acknowledged.




[images credited to: Kurylowicz & Associates, all rights reserved]


Caroline Engel for Rapson-Inc.

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