1stdibs Inches Closer to the One Percent


Early this week, the bricks-and-mortar version of 1stdibs, the high-end online marketplace, will open in the Terminal Stores building: the blocklong, late-19th-century brick warehouse and relay station that was once home to the Tunnel, the grim nightclub owned by Peter Gatien.

The 50-odd exhibitors corralled there — a mix of art, antiques and contemporary furniture dealers — join neighbors Uber and L’Oreal; on the building’s cavernous main floor, where ravers once hallucinated, is Porchlight, a Danny Meyer restaurant, one of a few in what will become a food court along the lines of Eataly or Chelsea Market.

1stdibs had spent the last eight years at the New York Design Center at 200 Lexington Avenue. Its migration westward offers more convenient shopping for the Frieze and Art Basel set, now nesting part-time in condominiums along the High Line, along with the yet-to-materialize denizens of Hudson Yards.

The move comes as 1stdibs continues to expand as a global e-commerce site, a process that has not always been smooth for the dealers that are its lifeblood. Nearly three years ago, they were affronted by changes that added commissions to sales generated through the site and also veiled their names. “We lost 2 percent of our dealers when we changed our policy,” said David Rosenblatt, the company’s C.E.O. “But since we introduced e-commerce, we’ve grown our inventory from 440,000 items to 860,000.”

Some dealers still grumble privately. Others who once balked say they are eager to continue a relationship with the company.

In the Aero booth, a powder-coated dark green aluminum outdoor chair by Thomas O’Brien with a whorled back is $1050. The polyethylene version of Faye Toogood’s plump Roly Poly chair, priced at $570 and already a best-seller on the 1stdibs website, is a bargain when you consider its bronze incarnation costs $45,000. Among a funky, still-anarchic-looking collection of ’70s-era Italian Radical design by Gufram are contemporary productions of that impish work: anthropomorphic green foam coat racks by Guido Drocco and Franco Mello start at about $4,600; Bocca, the disco-glam lip-shaped sofa by Studio 65, is about $7,500. A slightly grubby, but comfy looking, brown corduroy Danish modern sofa in Nate Berkus’s booth is $4,400. At Assouline, which has a booth here too, you can find Miles Redd’s “The Big Book of Chic” for $85.

Last Wednesday, Inga Davidsson of Area ID was hanging an Italian chandelier of florid amber-colored glass ribbons and curlicues tipped in red, Venetian style ($4,950) in her 315-square-foot booth: a north facing spot with a window, prime real estate that she is renting for $3,200 a month. Ms. Davidsson sells an eclectic selection of midcentury furniture artfully styled, like a bergère from the ’50s now covered in a bold Miró-like fabric ($2,950) along with contemporary shagreen pieces.



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