It’s an age old story, two friends meet at college and have an idea, but in this instance the idea was the simple love of Mid-Century modern furniture. Chris Miele and Val Guariglia moved to New York after finishing college in Upstate New York 18 years ago and opened ReGeneration, a Mid-Century modern furniture store on 10th Street in the East Village.
It was 1993 and just a couple of people in the know were hip to the fact that designs by the likes of Florence Knoll, Jens Risom, Paul McCobb, Edward Wormley, George Nelson and Milo Baughman were things of great importance and should be collected and preserved. Back then the few people who were in that business were men, thus Val and Chris became known quickly within the industry as “the girls”. The girls put in lots of heavy lifting, getting up while it was still dark to scour yard sales, foraging at the no longer existent 26th Street flea markets, driving over night to huge markets like Brimfield and loading trucks with their finds.
They were so far ahead of the curve so we asked them how they knew to start collecting something at that time when so few people knew. Apart from their shared love of the design and craftsmanship of the period, they felt instinctively that the pieces just worked so well in New York apartments. It was something about the scale of the pieces and how they just looked so right in the City.
Their inherent good taste was obvious and their furniture would move out of the store just as quickly as it came in. Soon it seemed the whole world was obsessed with 20th-Century modern furniture, even Carry Bradshaw started dating a Mid-Century modern furniture dealer on “Sex and The City”.
They quickly outgrew their East Village store and moved to their current impressive space on Renwick Street, West of Soho. In 2002 they opened a reGeneration department within the prestigious ABC Carpet & Home department store. They miss the days of the small East Village store when they would sit outside in colorful basket seats till well after the sun went down, talking to customers and people in the neighborhood. The shared loved of collecting the furniture was social then and genuinely linked people together.
Their success and respect within the industry has allowed them to forge through in to new and different areas. As well as the pristine Mid-Century Modern furniture they sell, last year they launched their own bespoke furniture line re:. Their original designs marry bright contemporary colors and exotic wood veneers with classic forms. As you’d expect, the pieces are modern and beautifully crafted. They also have a strong interest in a new movement in repurposed furniture where something new and amazing is created using materials that would have otherwise been thrown away.
When we visited the ReGeneration store at ABC Carpets & Home our eyes instantly fixed on a chair made of sparkling blue car tires with a white top from a classic chair. Chris and Val insisted we sit in it and it was one of those pieces of furniture that was not only surprisingly comfortable but just made you feel happy to sit in it. We get the sense that once again Chris and Val are ahead of the curve, forging in to new and uncharted territory with furniture before the rest of us catch on.
They’re also collaborating with artists they admire. The latest collaboration is an exquisite bureau made by the artist Dylan Egon. Dylan’s work is shown in Chelsea at Jonathan Levine gallery and the craftsmanship and design elevates a simple piece of furniture in to an exceptional piece of functional art.
All of the reGeneration furniture, whether it be a Mid-Century Modern piece or something from their new collection are those types of investment pieces you’ll have and enjoy with pride for the rest of time.reGeneration. 38 Renwick Street. New York. 10013. Tel: 212 741 2102 reGeneration at ABC Carpet & Home. 888 Broadway at East 19th Street. 2nd Floor. New York. 10003. Tel: 212 473 3000 Dylan Egon at Jonathan Levine Gallery Furniture from top to bottom of page: 1. Original Pierre Paulin lounge chair from the 1960′s. 2.Early and rare Milo Baughman maple and white lacquer desk for Murray furniture co. 3.Dylan Egon for reGeneration. Gold leaf on lacquer. The first in a series of limited edition artist collaborations. 4.Angle steel coffee table . Part of reGeneration’s New Line of furniture which is available in any size, color and finish. 5. Repurposed tire chair