From Europe, with Upholstery Options
For Kevin Schwartzberg, 11 years in the contemporary furniture business led to many trips to Europe
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A de Sede leather chair
A Lithuanian glass bowl by Oggetti and Vibia’s Jazz lamp (with an aluminum shade and resin base) stand on a walnut and white glass console from Team 7
Tomasella’s Atlante dresser can be stacked any which way.
For Kevin Schwartzberg, 11 years in the contemporary furniture business (including, for the last five, buying merchandise for a River North furniture showroom) led to many trips to Europe, which in turn led to many relationships with European furniture manufacturers and visits to European furniture stores. Over the years, he noticed something that he filed away for future reference: “About 75 percent of the time, shop owners would invite me in and offer me an espresso,” he says. “They’re incredibly friendly and encourage you to sit down, relax, and enjoy their furniture.” Now that he has his own store, the laid-back yet very high-end new River North showroom Mobili Möbel (which he co-owns with Tom Tometz and Melissa Steele), this is exactly how he plans to treat his visitors.
As for the merchandise, all those overseas contacts paid off, too: most of the lines carried in the store are exclusive to Mobili in Chicago. Look for low, deep, oversized couches from the Italian company Giovanni Urba that would work in both modern and transitional homes; sleek leather couches by Switzerland’s de Sede, known for designing some of the highest-quality, most durable furniture in the world (two of their sofas are in the lobby of the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago); and avant-garde pieces, such as the Atom Sensation chair, a big white ball made of scrap leather that’s in the window display. Manufactured by the Dutch company Leolux, it molds to your form when you sit on it and then turns back into a ball when you get up. The store also offers accessories and extensive upholstery options. “Unusual textures are really big in Europe right now,” says Schwartzberg. He will happily tell you more over a cup of joe. Mobili Möbel, 549 N. Wells St., 312-329-9669.
photography: Matthew Gilson