Designer furniture from the past takes centre stage in a Christchurch showroom.

Chrome and leather, canvas straps, brightly coloured plastic and intricate inlaid wood, a light that looks like an early Sputnik and another that looks like a jagged mini metal Sagrada Familia Cathedral by Gaudi – all these whimsical pieces form part of the collection by Christchurch dealer Mr Mod, whose new showroom in St Martins, opposite the New World supermarket, opened last month.

Ross Morrison, whose 30 years experience includes selling Japanese antiques in London and Paris has collected furniture from around the world, especially France, Scandinavia, and North America. Mr Mod also operates a restoration workshop and warehouse.

Those familiar with Mr Mod’s mid-20th-century designer furniture won’t be disappointed by the latest pieces, but there are few departures from the theme – notably older, more ornate pieces, such as a 19th- century Swedish baroque revival court cupboard in oak and ebonised wood; a gilded Spanish armchair from about 1900; a French 19th- century Louis XV-style walnut armchair; and an early 19th-century Danish Empire sofa made from satin birch and finished in 1900 Arts-and- Crafts William Morris-style fabric.

Contrasting with these are some zappy modernist looking pieces from the mid-1960s to the 1980s: a purple plastic Pop chair by Danish designer Verner Panton; a Memphis Sofa, by Torben Skov for Erik Joergensen, with its strong, geometric forms in red, yellow and blue; and, of course, those modernist lights.

The Sagrada Familia one is gas- cut brass, and was made in the late 1960s in Southern California by the Curtis Brothers, of Jare.

The Sputnik is by Danish designer Louis Weisdorf, from the 1960s, and there is a fun-looking tubular neon light made from Lucite, or perspex, also American, from the 1970s.

Some pieces are timeless. Examples are leather-and-chrome sofas and armchairs. These have a simplicity that suits modern homes.

A pair of leather, chrome and rosewood armchairs were made by Norwegian designer Harald Relling for WestNofa in 1965. Soft, squishy leather armchairs have three legs, and were made in Germany.

From the ’70s are the Jetage swivel armchair in leather, created by Swedish designers Alf Svensson and Yngvar Sandstroem for Dux Furniture, and the Verner Panton 123 chair – or you could choose a striking French 19th-century piece.

Recycled furniture is sustainable, and does not harm the environment, Ross says. “It’s original and the materials used were far superior.”

– The Press