Only a few months old, and seated squarely in one of our favorite areas of this city (3rd & 3rd, that is), Dara Modern is a tidy little furniture and accessory showroom for designers and lovers of design, alike. A shotgun-style, uber-modern living room of sorts, arranged just so with cozy chairs, eclectic art pieces, and a few quirky/delightful objets d’art. Twenty seconds through the front door, and we felt right at home, flipping through brand catalogs and lounging casually on the couch.
Owner and designer, Dustin Matinkhah, found Dara Modern a home at 213 E Broadway, and the shop is a welcome/fitting contrast to its neighbors (antique shops, Vive Juice, and the People’s Coffee, for example), but the stellar location of the storefront is hardly its greatest quality. Dara will be connecting us with major European furniture designers and manufacturers like Normann Copenhagen, Kartell, Muuto, and Calligaris, to name a few…a big win for Salt Lake City’s growing design community. What’s more, there’s a stellar selection of fantastic home goods and accessories in the shop, and you’re highly unlikely to leave without something incredible for your coffee table. (Or side table. Dining table. Outdoor table. All of it.) Notably, there are products on hand by Italian company Alessi, one of the first to recognize that utilitarian objects for the home could also function as works of art. You can also find Scandinavian pieces from Menu A/S (think incredible plant stands, salt and pepper grinders, etc.), and a few lovely tableware brands, like Iittala and Stelton. Our favorite dishes on display were completely biodegradable and compostable…plates made of bamboo and bagasse (a sugarcane by-product) from the Japanese company, Wasara. Dustin has also curated a few choice pieces from local artists, specifically to fit the showroom’s aesthetic.
Essentially, what Dustin has created is a mecca of fine furnishings and accessories that is accessible to everyone. A one-stop, “I need that!” shop for modern furniture and the accompanying details that will perfect your space. We’ve been waiting for this for a while now…and we’re likely to be wandering Dara far too often from week to week. Get used to it. We’re moving in.
Talk to us a little about what inspired you to do this. Why open a showroom that sells modern furniture and accessories? I saw a growing market for modern design in Salt Lake, but no new stores to satisfy that market. Having built a modern home for myself and developing a couple others, I found myself purchasing items online or out of state. Having grown up in Salt Lake, it was frustrating not being able to find what i wanted locally.
What’s the meaning behind the name Dara Modern? Dara is actually my middle name. I wanted something personal and I felt it was a short and easy name to remember. I included modern to help give a sense of the stores overall aesthetic.
How about the selection process–is it aligned with specific brand or designers, or do you focus more on curating a specific aesthetic in your showroom? I’ve chosen most items in the store based on my own personal aesthetic, but when buying I always consider the market and price point. I try and offer as wide a range or price points, to be as accessible to the market as possible.
You mentioned your travels a bit. Are you able to visit many of the designers or manufacturers of the product you represent? I have not had the opportunity to visit with any of the designers or factories of products I sell, but I will definitely be doing so in the future. When traveling domestically or abroad, I try to make time to see other shops and flagship stores. Recently, I stopped in Paris for a couple days, and made sure I had time to check out all the great interior stores located in the 7th arrondissement.
So many of the European brands that you carry haven’t been represented in Salt Lake until now. Since we happen to love unique, curated design, we’ve often been forced to source new products like this online, or work with showrooms that are out of state (count us “thrilled” to have found you). Tell us the importance of 1) having an in-house resource for out-of-state and international design, and 2) having a local showroom with samples of actual furniture: I find well-designed products to be highly important in any home or space. Not only is a well-designed product going to have functionality, but it will also enhance its surroundings and force people to have some sort of emotion. As Salt Lake city develops both culturally and in population, I’ve noticed a growing appreciation for design. Many of the lines Dara Modern sells have been around for years and because of their well designed products, have an international presence. Bringing all these great products under one roof or to Salt Lake, allows the local community to see (in person) and purchase items they could only have seen while visiting other cities. Which unfortunately is a luxury not every one has. Purchasing furniture for your space is such an big decision because these items help make your personal space a place where you feel happy and comfortable. Being able to feel the textiles and witness the quality makes these decisions that much easier. And who wouldn’t want a little less stress in their lives!
What about the future of Dara Modern? Where you headed? What’s up your sleeve? My goal for Dara Modern is to be a space where anyone can come and see or buy products that make their lives better and happier. I believe having well designed beautiful products in ones home, only creates happiness and gives one a sense of pride. I will be bringing new and exciting products to Salt Lake, especially for the upcoming holidays!
Dara Modern | 213 E Broadway, SLC | 801.891.9632