Friday, December 10, 2010

Hubby's Corner: Jonathan Burden, Travertine, Ivory Inlay and The Rise Of Cork

Jonathan Burden - mark it.  Great spot.  She’ll smile.  Guaranteed.

I stopped by at the behest of wifey, and was more than pleased. Not an overwhelmingly busy floor, which was also helpful. Retail gives way to restoration downstairs, so the good part of the steak is right in front of you when you walk in. 

Finding out that I’m a big fan of Travertine. It’s like a mix between concrete and worm wood. Cool porous stone that when finished nicely has a great texture. Here they have a sizable Travertine table, as well as two faux-travertine lamp bases (made from plaster) that could offer a nice juxtaposition against the right shade. My pick for the shade is cork, something buoyant versus a base that is anything but floatable. But I’m not the designer…

Cork is the new frozen yogurt. I expect big things from cork in the next few years, then it could fade like Menudo. I find it very versatile though - lamp shades, wall coverings, upholstery in the right places, etc. Could be one of those Comet v. Shooting Star debates.

One thing that I knew I liked when I walked in was ivory inlay, and J Burd has several great pieces to further confirm my fixation. From India, Spain and even Syria, they’ve got a good selection of tables and chairs, the best of which are a trio of 24” collapsible tables with magnificent motifs. Of the three, two are a pair, and the one flying solo has wonderfully ornate peacocks that would make anyone look twice. For any boy that likes a Rube Goldberg contraption, or enjoyed making that clay pot in 3rd grade that mom keeps around out of guilty obligation, it's impossible not to appreciate the nuance and meticulous craftsmanship needed to make ivory work in these tables.

Of the other great pieces:

Close Pr. of 19th Century Spanish Shield Form Metal-Mounted Writing Tables
A pair of tables with legs outfitted in armor. I’m torn as to whether they’re the best look, but they’d make even your little leaguer interested in antiquing.

Late 19th-Early 20th Century Ceremonial Crocodile Head Inlaid with Cowerie Shells from Papua, New Guinea
The absolute gnarliest crocodile head of all time. Skin has been coated in shell "upholstery" and some other African motifs. Cool looking if a bit crazy. The shell wrap could easily be carpet (given how uncomfortable sisal is to walk on this would likely be an improvement), wall covering or even replace nail head on chairs and couches looking to live on the wild side.

Jonathan Burden, LLC
180 Duane Street
New York, NY 10013-3374
(212) 941-8247


  1. always loved those lamps! they are faux coquina.... they are actually a version of limestone called coquina, which is a fossilized coral stone... coquina lamps are stunning!

  2. Thanks, Lewis! I would love to learn more about coquina - perhaps a coquina post will be next!