Chris Lane, the founder of Dudley Waltzer, started out with a lucky break when he was looking for Fifties Dexion pigeonhole units for his home: ‘When I arrived at the place, there were hundreds of them. It was too good an opportunity to miss, so I rented a Luton van and took as many as I could.’ I always admire anyone with enough energy to take the chances that are offered to them, and Chris is certainly one of those people. Over the years his stock has changed and grown with the company. Like all dealers I speak to, he's always on the lookout for the next great thing, and he ain't too bad at finding them. When I popped in there were several items that caught my eye, but one, in particular, really stole my heart - the Writing Desk by Klaus Wettergren. Chris told me that the desk was featured in the first Batman film in Kim Basinger's apartment; he doesn't know if it's the same exact desk but I got a very Batman vibe from it.
When did you open Dudley Waltzer?
I opened Dudley Waltzer in April 2019 but I have been trading online for over 8 years now.
Why the name Dudley Waltzer?
Dudley was my great-grandfather's name, he passed away in 2012 at the age of 104. He was my closest relative to home when I moved to London and we spent a lot of time together playing chess and talking about art. He taught himself to paint by numbers in his 80's so he could paint whilst walking in the swiss alps. I started the business around the same time and needed a name. Initially, it was going to be just Waltzer (like the fairground ride) but that seemed to lack character. I'm not sure when it was decided to put Dudley's name with it but he was a big presence in my life at the time so I guess it just happened naturally.
What is your favourite piece in the shop at the moment?
Definitely the Curved Gum Chest by Stuart Montague. It's an incredibly well crafted piece of cabinet making. It's one of ten made in 1995 and was shipped to the UK from its native Australia. I doubt there is another one in Europe. I love it mainly because of its form, the curve is so elegant and precise. The attention to detail is incredible, nothing about it was an afterthought. At the moment clean simple but unusual shapes are what I'm looking for in the pieces I source. Often these pieces are simple to the eye but complex under the surface.
Do you have a piece that you've sold and still think about?
Absolutely but not too many. I think the Compass Desk by Pedro Miralles Claver was a piece I'll never see again. The designer tragically died in his 40's meaning there aren't many of his works out there. I'm not sure how many were made but I've only ever seen two, one in a museum in Spain and one from a spanish dealer. If I ever find another it will definitely be a keeper. There was also a cloud sofa by Marten Claesson for Swedese which was a real peach. I still think about that all the time.
Why do you think is so special about having a shop rather than just online?
Since reopening after lockdown, I've met so many lovely people. That has to be the best part of having a shop. Sometimes a complete stranger will walk in and we'll talk for over an hour about all kinds of things totally unrelated to design or art. It's a strange feeling because you feel like you've made a new friend but then they are off back onto the street and you may never see them again. But that's kind of nice in its own way. I missed meeting people during lockdown, I love a good chat with someone new. It's good for the mind and the soul.