Dealer Philip Thomas.

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1 How did you get your start as a dealer?

I started working Saturdays on a market stall in Portobello Road when I was at college back in 1991. The atmosphere and characters were intoxicating for a country bumpkin. I learned a lot about antiques from the talented dealers around Portobello and Westbourne Grove at that time and knew I wanted the freedom that comes with having your own business.

2 Have you noticed any collecting trends in the last 6-12 months?

The increasing day-to-day use of technology has sparked a revival of natural materials and craftsmanship. Danish furniture makers such as Niels Vodder were masters of their craft and worked with materials such as wood, leather and cane that mature with age.

Organic seating elements are also popular; designs by Pierre Paulin and Marco Zanuso add comfort and playfulness to an interior.

3 One lesson you would like to pass on to others in the trade?

Experiment and create your own style. It’s going to be a lot of work, so deal in something you are passionate about.

4 Who do you admire in the art and antiques world (in or out of the trade)?

Ray Azoulay of Obsolete, Los Angeles. He works hard, is passionate about his gallery and constantly innovates. I think that is the secret sauce.

5 What is one item you couldn’t do without?

Coffee and a satnav.

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