Dave Allen - Finder of Object
Dave the muki-muk.
Containers from Bali
February, 1997: Shoulders squared, Dave Allen walks out of a perfectly good Silicon Valley managerial career exchanging his pathetically cheerful neckties for Patagonia stand-up shorts.
Cashing out his laughable 401K, he wings it to Charleston, SC, renting a 24-foot Penske box truck, and proceeds to fill it with architectural antiques. Returning to his Menlo Park home 3,200 miles later, he wrangles enough buyers to hold his first private yard sale. More than thirty cross-country truck drives will follow.
Summer. On the road again, spent and overspent, Dave fashions first Yard Sale Postcard at a Kinko’s in Buffalo, NY. Hand addressing them from his dingy motel room, Dave races home, just slightly ahead of the sale date and a flurry of floating checks.
Sleuthing from coast to coast, Dave cultivates an extensive network of sources. Buoyed byincreasing sales, he lets loose a series of increasingly bizarre postcards and the quest for a showroom begins.
Dave lays claim to a cavernous grain warehouse in San Jose and starts “moving a few things around”...
The paint is barely dry when the showroom is named Best Independent Retail Store Design in the US by Visual Merchandising and Store Design magazine. Dave haggles in Europeand Turkey and returns with something he didn’t bargain for — a rapidly evolving aesthetic.
Restlessness, coupled with an intriguing invitation, culminate in the move to a new showroom at Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma. Undeterred by a tanking dollar, Dave opens his wallet in Italy, Belgium and Holland.
Christmas: Dave fathers the controversial yet deeply moving “300 Snowmen” nstallation. In the showroom, modern design and highly ornamented architecturals commingle. Uma chooses Artefact as her new home.
Tumultuous times at Cornerstone Gardens. The evolution of the showroom continues unabated even as the Gardens struggle. Dave dives into European design and begins tracking decorative objects to their true source of manufacture in Asia.
Dave ventures into India and China. Back home, he spends the year reading about the environmental degradation of the planet. He despises packaging, and for a time refuses to provide showroom customers with bags or wrappings of any sort. This strategy proves unpopular, and is soon abandoned.
Attending Maison et Objet in Paris, Dave discovers organic tropical vine-forms presented as art. He is transfixed. In a fit of counter-intuitive environmentalism, he battles the urge to drop everything and head to the jungle with an ax.
Dave drops everything and heads to the jungle with an ax. He traipses across Borneo, Java, Bali and parts of Malaysia and the Philippines filling his coffers with wondrous new objects. He is intrigued by the economy of village-level production.
Dave develops relationships and products with remote Indonesian villages, each of which specializes in a particular material. Containers smelling of the jungle begin to arrive in Sonoma and the fledgling wholesale business begins to build. Flashy new website launches!
Asia continues to hold Dave’s attention. Innovative Las Vegas restaurant project with Roger Thomas sends him deep into the jungle. Flashy new website suffers from neglect. Axel joins the team and begins rigorous training towards official mascot certification. In Secret network of likeminded resellers expands.
Flashy new catalog launches! Too many buddhas in the showroom convince Dave to revisit his Rust Belt roots. He renews old contacts and salvages the East Coast. Dave’s second public art installation “Flotsam” debuts at Fort Mason to decidedly mixed reviews.
VIDEO: Recycled Bags Project
VIDEO: Shopping for Becaks
VIDEO: Teak Scrap Spheres
Our patron saint...
Moving to Cornerstone
Axel arrives Spring 2011