Mid-century modern has been the hot aesthetic in larger cities for a long time now, but, as with many trends, it has taken longer to reach critical mass here in Jacksonville. That’s why there were still fights recently over whether to preserve or demolish the old downtown library, designed by local architect the late Taylor Hardwick. (Fortunately it has been restored and will soon open as home to the Jesse Ball duPont Fund and other nonprofits.) Arlington has crossed the threshold into appreciation of the style, showing off the neighborhood’s many mid-century modern homes in annual home tours.
If you are lucky enough to live in one of these jewels, or just like to emulate the look, be sure to check out Eco Relics at 106 Stockton Street in North Riverside. There you will find a 50,000 square foot warehouse overflowing with furniture and building materials, most of it salvaged from old buildings. It’s not all mid-century modern — there are components representing just about every era in human history! — but if you are working with the mod aesthetic, it’s worth a look. On a recent afternoon I found a pristine pair of wooden chairs, a long, angular horizontal sofa and chandelier globes that would complement the modern style.
Taking a couple of hours to stroll through Eco Relics, inside and out, provides inspiration for anyone interested in art and design. Happening upon unexpected items like a glass sphere door-handled refrigerator opens the mind to new possibilities. Turning to find a table full of lamps reminds you that a home has basic needs that Eco Relics can satisfy. Whether you buy one of the lamps or the table they’re on, you are bound to get all sorts of creative ideas just being there. Perhaps that is why their employees are so innovative!
Custom-made furniture is another service provided by Eco Relics. I spoke to custom fabricator Niko Vardas who told me they are willing to make just about anything. They will construct new items from what is on hand at their warehouse, or they can build something from materials you give them. Their expertise ranges from recreating period decor to inventing new uses for common items. My favorite is their desk with an electrical outlet built in!
Eco Relics is a resource for homeowners, artists, and designers. A visit to Eco Relics is a stimulating experience for anyone. In recognition of this fact, they host occasional community events there. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook or go to ecorelics.com to keep up to date on their next shindig. Drop by anytime for design inspiration.