This time around the topic was "From the Flea to the D&D: Integrating Finds with Custom Designs," and Eric Demby, founder of the Brooklyn Flea, joined with Cindy DiPrima, prop and interior stylist and interior designer Athena Calderone, for an interesting chat.
Both Cindy and Athena could do nothing but rave about the Flea, the things they've found there and how they've used them in their professional work.
The two also compared shopping the Brooklyn Flea to shopping the D&D Building, and gave insider tips on mixing products from both in their interiors.
Athena described shopping at the Flea as thrilling and that there's visual eye candy all around you.
"It is such a natural and organic process, you don't always go seeking out something specific," she said. "You go and you really let your eye guide you and sometimes you see something and you have no idea what it's going to be used for but you just have to snatch things up that catch your eye. Then when you're designing inside a space they just seem to find their place organically and naturally."
Cindy agreed and said that she loves finding different things, and the Flea is where she goes when she's looking for something vintage.
"That aspect of finding something that isn't easily found anywhere else, it gives you a chance to make a statement or to have an element that's not easily understood or easily sourced," she said. "You can find something that no one else has."
Athena added that the Flea also gives her inspiration for her designs.
"Often it can spark your imagination," she said. She told a story of finding an old piece of rope at the Flea that she didn't know what to do with but then ended up using it in a beach house and lined the entire ceiling with it.
All three agreed that shopping the Brooklyn Flea can be an overwhelming experience, and Eric shared some of his tips on how to tackle it.
"I think you have to go early and as soon as you see something you have to buy it right away because it might be gone," he said. "Generally you can haggle a little bit but if its something you really want you have to get it, it will be less expensive than in a store and it has value that lasts longer."
All of the panelists agreed that there is something really special about finding the perfect item at the Flea.
"There is a story behind it that you can tell to people, there is this sort of glory of the find," said Eric. "The fact that you found it, instead of someone else finding it and putting it in a retail setting, it just gives you some attachment to it, and it's all about following your gut."
He also advised shoppers to ask questions. "Always ask the vendors," he said. "If you like something they have, they might have 80 of them in a barn somewhere upstate."
Cindy discussed how she always thinks about altering a piece that comes from the Flea. She may find a chair with a really good structure, but it's in need of a good coat of paint and some beautiful fabric, and that's where the D&D comes in.
Both designers agreed that in many ways the shopping experiences of the D&D and the Brooklyn Flea are similar. They are large and there is so much to see but with both you have to keep that open eye and be willing to buy something if you love it, there will always be a place for it down the road.
One last piece of advice?
"I think you shouldn't be afraid to modify things and change things," said Athena. "If there is a look to it that you love, so many times people have these rules that you can't or shouldn't modify or change things and that you have to stick to this one specific design or time period and I don't think that that's the case, I don't think there are any rules in design."
Missed the discussion? The next DDB Design Files will be held on November 13. Stay tuned for details!