Interview with’s co-founder Lionel Obadia

First Published 5 June 2015


Gulp Light, circa 1960, Ingo Maurer. Image courtesy of Design Market.

Design Market is an impressive new marketplace for authentic Modern design from the 1940s to 2000.

For the last year and a half co-founders Lionel Obadia and David Mimouni have rounded up over 150 merchant dealers in France, Belgium Denmark, Germany and Netherlands to make their furniture and lighting available online to collectors and enthusiasts.

Last week at Puces du Design Lionel told us that most of the dealers at the market are available on their site. If the crowds at this market were any indication, there is a very enthusiastic clientele for these objects! And in fact Lionel told us that since inception they have sold over 4,000 objects through their site, “ and we always present a minimum of 2,000 objects on the platform for clients to peruse. Our goal is to reach 600 dealers over the next two years”. There are already a large number of covetable offerings available ranging from gorgeous unnamed Scandinavian pieces to recognizable models by Pierre Paulin, Marco Zanuso, Charlotte Perriand, Le Corbusier, Arne Jacobsen and any others.

When asking how they guarantee clients that the works sold are authentic rather than reproductions Lionel explained: “While it is free for vendors to list their objects, there is a rigorous vetting process they must go through first. The site also offers the option to have an industry expert authenticate your purchases for an added fee. Finally, the seller has the last word.  If there is any doubt thanks to our return policy: we offer a 14 days money-back guarantee whatever the reason for the return.”

As a full service complimentary selling channel for dealers Design Market includes several photos of each object, measurements, materials and a word or two regarding the condition.  Lionel explained, “As a matter of fact, all products listed on Design Market are in “usable condition” or restored, nothing with holes or broken parts”.  They also list the country where the piece is located so you know from where your shipment originates. If you are interested in a piece you can request a shipping quote that will be provided in a few hours. They provide customer service should you have questions, secure payment and worldwide individual shipping via DHL and Fedex or specialized shippers (for larger pieces), which means your purchase usually arrives in a matter of days rather than weeks. I tested the purchasing prices and was very pleasantly surprised – not only was the quote reasonable – 90 Euros to ship a1950s ash Trellis by Jindrich Halabala for 1,100, Euros from France to Florida – I received the quote within an hour!

So how does Design Market make money? “No monthly fees for dealers. We only charge a selling commission that is included in the listed price. When our dealers make a profit, we make a profit. We feel this business model aligns all of us together.  We keep track of all sale prices and have consequently built up a sizable price index. This has been useful as we expand our dealer community and strive to keep prices in line with the market.”

Lionel continues, “Once we have tackled furniture with our dealers we plan to add other products like flat works of art and decorative art objects including glass and ceramics. Aggregating the professional vendors across Europe is Design Market’s goal and they are making large strides towards this so it was not surprising when Lionel showed me that Design Market has been named one of the top 100 start-ups to invest in for 2015 by France’s Challenges magazine (#429 Issued April 16th 2015 )


Below are some of our favorite pieces available on the site now.

banquette mourgue

Djinn Banquette, circa 1960, Oliver Mourgue. Image courtesy of Design Market.

enfilade - Perriand

Cansado Enfilade, circa 1960, Charlotte Perriand. Image courtesy of Design Market.

fauteuil motte

Fauteuil 770, circa 1960, Joseph-André Motte. Image courtesy of Design Market.

fauteuil Ph. Arctander

Clam Chair, circa 1950 Philip Arctander. Image courtesy of Design Market.


Eva Chair, circa 1950, Bruno Mathsson. Image courtesy of Design Market.

chaises scandinaves - Kristiansen

Scandinavian Chairs, circa 1960s, Kai Kristiansen, Image courtesy of Design Market.

LC3 - Le Corbusier

LC3 Canape, 1928, Le Corbusier with Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand. Image courtesy of Design Market.


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