Mario Kardana used to go by the name of Chair Boy. Chair Boy only existed on Instagram, so you can see why I much prefer the rebrand of M.Kardana. He now has a sublime shop that sits on the Hackney Road opposite Moro. What more could you ask for? Not much, hence why I think it's a Top Shop.
When did you open M.Kardana?
The shop officially opened in April this year. Although I had the space earlier we weren’t able to open until April due to Covid restrictions.
Do you have a favourite piece in the shop at the moment (or something you have sold recently)?
I have a few but one of my favourites has to be the mosaic top coffee table. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before, a one-off made piece of great quality. Nice detailed mosaic design of three faces and flowers to the top with solid and perfectly patinated metal frame/legs.
These are the kind of pieces that excite me the most. Great quality/unique design which have a playfulness about them.
I also feel that I have to mention the modernist bent ply cabinet/console which has an a certain air of Eileen Gray to it. A very simple yet confident design that can also be placed up against a wall to be used as a room breaker with cabinet doors to one side and shelves to the other, a nice touch.
What is the biggest joy of being a shopkeeper?
I can be a bit old school and I like interacting and talking with people about the pieces and just in general. You meet so many interesting people from all walks of life. It’s so nice to think that since opening I have made some new friends! Sitting amongst some nice things and seeing all your finds together can also be quite nice and rewarding.
The worst thing about being a shopkeeper?
I have been working in the shop myself most weekends since opening which is great but I guess it can be quite painful watching people sipping on a crisp negroni in the sunshine across the road. Especially when the sun has been quite a rare sight this summer…
What made you want to have a physical space?
There are a few reasons but to touch on a couple of points… I feel it is important for potential customers to be able to see the pieces in real especially with vintage/antique items. Everything is very tactile and I believe you understand the piece better when seeing it up close. Also part of the job that I enjoy the most is curating the space with all my finds. Having a mash of styles and making them all work together is the skill and what I find exciting.
What made you choose this space?
I’ve been looking for a while and when I saw this space it just felt right. The location is great as it’s in an area with a lot of buzz plus near most of my customer base. The space itself is also interesting with two levels, high ceilings and a big shop window which all work well for this type of business. The more rustic ground floor with the slicker upstairs allows me to almost have two spaces with a slightly different vibe yet also working and flowing together well. I have also been thinking of hosting some exhibitions incorporating new designs and feel this could work well in the space.