When Alfies first opened in 1976, it was an angel that descended from heaven to fight the demons surrounding the church street area. Or maybe it was an angelic sci-fi ship that travelled from far, far away – coming to earth to our rescue; or at least that is what the folks from the 70s might have imagined had happened.
Angel or Martian, it is clear that the Alfie community has a life on its own: they are the creative forces that cut out 20th century narratives and glued them into what I would call flow mosaic. A flow mosaic is a masterpiece where each element connects to and enhances the beauty of the element next to it, ultimately creating a harmonious togetherness of the combined effect when elements work together.
This is exactly what I found at Alfies Antiques; while each element is charged with history and individuality that comes when naturally aging with time, simultaneously the element combines perfectly well with other individual pieces living disparate lives.
I find that this is why all art connoisseurs appreciate vintage objects so much; they add the third dimension to a two dimensional space, that unfortunately has become a commonality in the modern world.
Today’s modernity has nothing to do with the modernist period from the 20th century, where each interior piece was born out of intense inspiration from the prominent artistic movements circulating at the time.
All though we are satisfied with the design simplicity and cost effectiveness that comes along with high-street furniture, each and everyone of us always craves for ways in expressing the individuality residing within us, and when searching for it, the first place we re-visit is the world during our child hood.
Then objects and identities such as ABBA, hippies, chunky 80s investment banker phones, oversized jerseys, sci-fi objects and vinyl records start to fill our memories with wishful yearning.
The shops at Alfies Antique market fill us with this kind of curiosity about the fantasy world from the past. We start asking questions about how would our lives have looked like in the 70’s or 60’s? Would we be more likely to wear a cap or travel with a chunky, leather suitcase? Would we be sipping our drinks from silver coated cups? Would we be calling my friends from a yellow dial-up phone? What kind of books would we be reading? For research, would we cut out pieces from magazines and newspapers and glue them in a sketchbook? Today with dropbox and evernote, these kinds of thoughts don’t come spontaneously in our mind unless we visit a place such as Alfies.
Alfies is an inspirational powerhouse where one can easily retrieve narratives from lives in the past.
Twenty years from now we are at risk of not being capable to access information from today as we developed a habit of storing information digitally, outsourcing our tasks and transferring the ownership of objects whenever we please.
We live a life of persistent dissatisfaction with the objects we own and are constantly on the lookout for something newer and better. In the past objects enjoyed longer shelf lives and their owners enjoyed taking care of them; as they weathered with time they became more beautiful and that is what they are today beautiful and rich with complexity.
If you strive to construct intricate and meaningful interior spaces then I strongly advise that you visit Alfie’s Antique market on Church Street.
But when you do, make sure that you are not in a rush because it takes time to build lasting relationships with special objects.
Start of by categorically visiting all the dealers from the ground floor, making your way to the top where you will find the rooftop kitchen café.
Enjoy a light lunch, and perhaps read a newspaper in the mean time to take of the pressure from the amount of impressions you gathered.
Then on a full stomach, revisit your favorite pieces, return home, and come back the following day to buy your favorite one. Make sure you don’t miss thirteen interiors, Steven Lazarus’ Unit F017, Peter O’Rourke’s interior shop on the ground floor, Moda Italia and Francesca Martire.