Flea markets, garage sales, charity shops and hand-me-downs are all the rage these days, especially given the persistence of the ‘vintage’ trend. Enthusiasts rise at the crack of dawn on Saturday mornings for their weekly treasure hunt expeditions – because if you snooze you lose and early birds catch the best worms. Dutch art director, collector and stylsit, Julien Rademaker is one of these enthusiasts. With a difference though.
Instead of rummaging through markets at day break, he has gone digital. Julien scours the online classifieds website Marktplaats, the Dutch equivelant to Gumtree, to find unique objects and rareties among the thousands of listed bric-à-brac.
Julien showcases his beautiful finds on his blog Gevonden Op Marktplaats. He also does a weekly feature on a top find in the De Volkskrant newspaper. DECO sat down with this style maven for a stroopwafel to get some tips on online treasure hunting, his take on the vintage trend as well as more info on his Wintersalon pop up shop…
Is there an official job title for what you do?
Not really I suppose; I work as an art director, stylist and curator. And currently I’m a shopowner too..
How difficult is it not to buy everything you find?
Quite difficult, but having a temporary store (Wintersalon) helps, because now I can buy much more than I would normally.
How do you known when to stop searching?
I usually just decide in advance how long I can spend on Marktplaats, if I don’t do that I would spend hours and hours going from left to right and all over again!
How does the sourcing for Wintersalon work? Did you buy each piece or are you more a curator that sells the object on behalf of the original owners?
I do a bit of both. It’s a mix of smaller items… lamps, art and accessories that I would normally buy. And often the couches and desks are on consignment from the owners, which I sell on their behalf.
Where does the name Wintersalon come from?
I did a Salon last summer, so this one was going to be the winter version. The idea of a ‘salon’ comes from the 18th century, where interesting people gathered and inspired each other with interesting art, literature, philosophy and sometimes music.
What aspects of the vintage trend do you find the most interesting?
The fact that we are looking back at furniture from the past, and finding out how it was produced in that day and age. A lot of the stuff I come across these days is maybe 60 or more years old. It’s incredible to see what good condition it usually is still in. It might be a bit dirty or the fabric might be worn, but most of the time construction wise it’s still in very good condition. True craftmanship. I also like to see what people in other time periods were drawn to. To me, it is all evidence that in every era there is a status quo, and a bunch of weirdos who go against this and produce items that maybe weren’t very popular. I like those designs best.
My style is definitely eclectic. This means that I match visual forms that work well together; whether in colour, shape or texture. That means it’s not conceptually eclectic, but rather visually eclectic. I also enjoy finding the unique art pieces and integrating them with the rest of the interior.
Do you have any tips for other online flea market/treasure hunters?
There’s sadly no golden tip.
You just have to spend time at it. If you want to find good stuff, let yourself go, don’t be afraid or prejudiced and put in the hours.
What is the strangest thing you have found/bought on Marktplaats – that thing that even you were surprised to buy?
I found a lot of amazing things, but for me it’s not the single objects that matter the most; its the combinations. Three items that aren’t very special by themselves, might become stunning together. I like to create value that way, by styling it and putting objects in another context.
Julien’s remarkable finds are available until the end of April 2016 for purchase at the Wintersalon, a pop up shop in Amsterdam. You can also find Julien and Wintersalon here…
See more of Hendrik’s work here and here.
Text: Hendrik Coetzee. All photographs: Dim Balsem, www.dimbalsem.tumblr.com
Hendrik describes himself as a hands-on man in a designer suit…with his tool belt underneath his jacket. He lives and works between The Netherlands and South Africa – conceptualising, styling, sourcing and making things by hand for photo and film shoots as well as special events. He loves adding humour and a bit of cheekiness to what he does. Find him on Facebook: HENDRIK WORKS, Twitter @HL_Coetzee and IG @hendriklcoetzee