Established in 1865 in Bath (and relocated to London in the late 1930s), Mallett is one of the oldest established antique dealer’s in the world, traditionally specializing in the finest of 18th and early 19th century furniture and works of art.
But as anybody in the field will tell you, the bulk of today’s buyers prefer a more modern aesthetic, the coup de grâce to many in the antiques trade. But after 147 years of business, Mallett is a survivor and has thus taken a cue from a younger generation to expand their offerings to include some very modern selections under the aegis of their Meta venture whose aim is to pair renowned contemporary designers and acclaimed master craftsmen with the knowledge and materials of the 18th century to create beautiful modern furniture and objects.
Case in point is the rockin’ multi-angular Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend lantern by accomplished contemporary French designer Matali Crasset (Can’t you picture it in the hands of Peter Marino, hanging en fillade down a corridor?). Made of 24 hand-blown glass panes, the fixture is held together by paktong, a golden-hued silver metal that first appeared in China in the 12th century and which disappeared in the 19th.
With the help of Oxford University’s archeological material sciences unit, the material was “reinvented” in the 21st century using a 1721 candlestick made of the same material. The story of the rediscovery of paktong won’t sell modern lighting, but because the design is so accomplished and sexy it works. And so like a beautiful woman dressed in vintage couture, the Mallett/Meta lantern shows us that marrying the past with the present can be very, very seductive.
image credit: Mallett
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