Treasure Hunting - Design Bureau

Diana Parrish Photo

 

One of the seatbelt chairs from Bangkok. Chairs from the same designer were featured in The Hunger Games

One of the seatbelt chairs from Bangkok. Chairs from the same designer were featured in The Hunger Games.

Treasure Hunting

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

by Stephanie Sims

The quirky wares in the Phillips Collection aren’t what you would expect from a business based in North Carolina. Mark and Julie Phillips founded the company in 1981, originally selling antiquities found at archaeological digs and cast off from museum collections. They’ve spent the past 30 years scouring the globe for beautiful, unique designs, and in the process have made their carefully curated collection into their family business. Here, Mark and his son Jason discuss where they go to find their goods and what they look for in order to keep their collection fresh.

DB: Where do you find the most interesting artifacts and designers?

Mark Phillips: We’ve found great things in the Philippines, Mexico, Haiti, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. But we don’t buy a single product from China—we just want every product to look like a hand has touched it.

DB: How do you find the designers you feature in your store?

MP: The devil is in the details. We look for passion about detail, flexibility, and talent. If we see someone who has all of these things, we see if their work can fit into our industry. The scarcest resource is design talent.

DB: What’s one of your best-selling products?

Jason Phillips: The seatbelt chairs we have, which were featured in The Hunger Games. We found that designer in Bangkok. He has a sister who is married to the owner of a seatbelt factory, which inspired him.

MP: We sold out of every color and every style of that chair, and we’re currently working on making an outdoor version.