We invite you to discover The Collectors — our interview series that unearths the treasures, trinkets and thoughtful things that the most exciting creatives that we follow are holding onto. It’s here that we find out why collectibles hold such value and in fact, how value is so much more than a price tag. Introducing Mario Kardana, our fourth find for The Collectors.
We discovered Mario through the 20th-Century pieces he sources and shares on his Instagram account @mkardana_. You’ll find everything from furniture and artworks to vases and objets. Mario recently set up shop on Hackney Road (the good end!), as part of a community of eagle-eyed collectors and design aesthetes sharing unique ways to decorate space. Mario inherited the collecting gene from his father, and now has his own van which he hopes to take overseas later this year for international sourcing trips. Don’t miss Mario’s drops on Instagram. In the meantime, we catch up on other items that Mario collects...
What’s the first thing you remember collecting?
Mario Kardana// Model cars when I was little, still have them all somewhere… there’s 100s.
What’s your favourite thing to collect today?
MK// I would say chairs. Various styles and eras.
Do you have a special piece of jewellery that you never take off?
MK// I have an initialled pinky ring I got for my 30th from my girlfriend which tends to stay on me all the time.
"I just go by form and quality...I like having a mash of styles and eras and making them all work alongside each other."
You recently opened your own store in Hackney — was a physical space always the plan?
MK// Yes, I have always been on the lookout for the right space since I started dealing. Part of the fun for me is curating the pieces I have and seeing them all come together. I also feel it is very important for the customer to touch the pieces and see them in person.
How would you describe the aesthetic you approach for your brand?
MK// I just go by form and quality, really. I like having a mash of styles and eras and making them all work alongside each other.
How did you get into sourcing antiques?
MK// I always had an interest in design and objects, really, and I studied product design but I guess I got the bug from when I was little going to auctions with my dad back in Kent.
What is your process when selecting pieces? Thinking about a specific client or buying for yourself? Do you just listen to your heart?
MK// I tend to just buy what I like and follow my gut. I guess over the years I have learned more and more about what works, designers etc., which helps. My eye has also been trained to spot those special pieces and, subconsciously, items that all work together. I guess training your eye and going with your gut is what gives you your identity and differentiates you from others.
What are you listening to at the moment?
MK// King Krule.
If you were a chair, which one would you be?
Something you bought to sell but couldn’t let go of?
MK// This crazy one-off metal fish floor lamp.
Favourite piece of furniture in your home?
MK// Probably that lamp or a pair of handmade bent sheet metal bedsides with scroll feet.
Designers or artists whose work you admire?
MK// Ron Arad, Keith Haring, Martin Parr.
MK// Flat White.
Favourite low-key food spot?
MK// Xi’an Impression, Highbury.
The last film you saw and loved?
MK// Can I say a mini series… HBO’s ‘I Know This Much Is True’ with Mark Ruffalo.
This or That?
Silver or Yellow Gold?
MK// A mix.
Calder or Brancusi?
MK// Tough one, Calder maybe…
Soane Museum or Wallace Collection?
Coke or Pepsi?
Watch or no watch?
Classic movie or something new?
MK// Something new.
Jean Prouvé or Pierre Jeanneret?
Lastly, which piece from our collection would you wear?
MK// The Medusa Signet Ring.