London West, UK - Living in the moment may be the key to happiness, but it's not the best outlook when making purchases. Antiques & salvaged materials are best appreciated within the greater context of time. Their connection with history is the very source of their appeal, but time stretches in both directions. As we move further into the 21st century, old things gain surprising value from their relationship with the future.
It is easy to see how the past contributes value. Aged artifacts can preserve a timeless style or even capture the personality of an era. Cherished heirlooms can symbolize family heritage, stimulate historical curiosity, or simply be preciously rare.
Regarding the future, the durability of well crafted antiques promises stability and quality for years to come. Antique possessions are not eternal but they last long by definition, often following us into old age.
Reclaimed materials touch the future in a different way. They are a physical testament to our capacity for renewal and reuse. They also represent the drive for innovation, recombination and reinvention that keeps culture fresh and new.
By contrast, much of the mass produced furnishings so popular today make sense only in the fleeting present tense. Their low price is immediately attractive until you consider the rapidly approaching cost of replacement. Unlike well built antiques or time tested reclaimed elements, particleboard and other flimsy materials can easily break or quickly wear out and are harder to repair. Deep thought about the questionable origins of cheap components is not recommended. Contemplating their ultimate resting place in a landfill is no incentive to buy.
Antiques expert, Judith Miller recently called out Ikea for facilitating lazy consumerism that hurts the antiques trade. She had felt sad to witness that people, even including her own teenage daughter, chose the cheap brand instead of sourcing solid wood pieces that would last. See the linked article below. Miller argues antiques are a more responsible choice and can lead us away from 'the disposable age'.
Despite the popularity of Ikea, there are signs our culture is becoming weary of the shortsighted worldview that breeds low cost, disposable products. The increasing popularity of yoga and mindful meditation practice shows desire for a more patient, considered outlook. Concern about the lifecycle and consequences of our food choices is at an all time high. Even the surprising buzz surrounding the recent reintroduction of Nokia's classic "dumbphone" suggests some may be fed up with the short attention span mentality imposed by our pocket supercomputers.
These trends toward thoughtful consideration all point to a growing appreciation for the deeper, sophisticated value of old things. After all, antiques reveal their stories only to those who take time to ask.
Images show a few past life items at last year's Salvo Fair and a few currently for sale on the SalvoWEB online marketplace.
Mail Online: Ikea 'killed the antiques trade'
SalvoWEB: Antique furniture
Story Type: Opinion