Forgotten Shanghai

Forgotten Shanghai

Sep 22, 2006

Until recently we had no idea that Forgotten Shanghai was local, and a purveyor of furniture. We'd seen their opulent silk bags around town, but at the Gift Fair a few weeks ago we stumbled upon their booth and it included furniture, so we decided to visit their Potrero-Hill furniture showroom and retail space.

We entered the showroom on a sunny day and had to blink a few times to adjust to the comparatively dark interior.

When our eyes adjusted they were greeted by an amazing array of colors: turns out Forgotten Shanghai not only excels at silks, but at lushly-hued lacquerware and ceramics.

This is a great place for accent pieces and accessories: standout items include the down-filled silk pillows ($42 to $125) and large kapok zafus for $295 (kapok is a natural tropical fiber that's both firm and soft).

But owner Margarat Currivan stocks the store with everything from beds to consoles to modular bamboo storage cubes, all of it sourced or comississioned in the various provinces of China on her frequent trips there.

Standout pieces include round street vendor containers ($385 to $925) which would make great multi-tasking end tables (they have built-in storage), old cabinets with new lacquer finishes (about $915), Tibetan chests ($1215 to $3265), and a line of bamboo and elm contemporary furniture (a dining table with chairs goes for about $1635 to $2825).

The lacquerware is unusual for the contemporary shapes and hues (blues and celadons). There are media boxes ($48); chests, trunks, and stacking boxes ($245 -$585), fun lacquered bamboo ladders ($75 to $135) which would make great towel racks, and charming antique stools.

Forgotten Shanghai also stocks elegant lotus-shaped silk lamps ($385), capiz shell fixtures, and an array of ceramic vessels ($42 to $165).

The website showcases a good sampling of the wares, but if you want to make a purchase, you have to go in person.

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