By Jeremy Joven


Modern furniture design has always been attached to the greats of mid-century designers like Jacobsen, Eames, and Saarinen, but to Lorn Dittfeld, proprietor of Propeller in Hayes Valley, the beautiful aesthetic of mid-century design is continually evolving with today’s designers and companies, like Raimond Puts of Moooi, IZM of Canada, and Benson, to name a few. As the company’s motto says, “Modern design starts now.”

Dittfeld curates Propeller with exquisite taste and a great understanding of the importance of a well-designed piece that’s as beautiful as it is timeless. Propeller’s collection of lighting is unmatched by any store in the city, paired with choice pieces of furnishings that you wouldn’t find in every other design store. It’s a great departure from the homogenized and democratized curation of standard big-box stores you’ll find on the market today.

Propeller simply does a fantastic job of curating products that will fit in any urban apartment or home that is inspired by modern design, without looking uber modern or cold. Colors pop with every trinket and piece available, and the materials used in most all of the products are FSC-certified and crafted by people who care deeply about the way you’ll live with the products they make.

“We are looking to champion smaller independent designers. … We are always turned on by designs with a playful side to it. In general we find that Dutch designers have that. I like cleanliness, but I’m not looking for slick, like Italian designs,” Lorn said of their collection. “[It’s] furniture designed by people with a stake in your happiness.” It matters to them if the person who ends up getting the furniture is happy.” With this mantra, Lorn connects with small designers who share his passion—designers from San Francisco, Brooklyn, Canada, and, of course, all over Europe.

At Propeller, you will find affordable gifts for the design enthusiast and a few pieces that will become the center of your home’s aesthetic. They may cost more than what you’d find at CB2, but they boast unparalleled craftsmanship and timelessness with every detail.

“If you come in here and you don’t find something that intrigues you, we’re not doing our job,” says Dittfeld. This is a true statement about the shop; there is something for everyone at Propeller. Design as thoughtful and playful as the treasures it offers is hard to find and definitely hard to resist.

When asked about what will be known as the timeless modern-design classics of our time, Dittfeld refers to the creations of Maarten Baas, a Dutch designer at Moooi who created the Smoke Chair. Baas took a classic, iconic modern piece of furniture and torched it, breaking it down to the essence of its form and silhouette. This take on classical design gives it a renewed life with a beautiful finish that speaks volumes about the creator’s intention to present design in an evolutionary way.

As our lifestyles become more focused on sustainability, you can count on modern design being a big part of it. And Propeller will be right there, propelling design forward. As they say, modern starts now.

555 Hayes St., San Francisco, CA



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This article was published in:
Idea Issue - Released March 2013
Issue 2 / Version 3 | Buy print copy here
Issue 11
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