Randolph Street Market Celebrates Its Platinum Anniversary with a 2023 Festival Season That’s Packed with One-of-a-Kind Finds and Programming for Discerning Interior Designers.
Randolph Street Market receives high praise from interior designers for being a reliable, post-COVID resource for antiques, art and decor — and for pioneering America’s largest urban market for ‘second time around’ sustainability.
“At Randolph Street Market, I have found some incredible artwork, especially hand drawings and block prints, as well as some awesome African sculptures. I have placed the pieces in my home, and styled them into the homes of my clients. I once bought a chair from the 70s in gold velvet. I had it reupholstered in zebra skin and installed it at a client’s home and it was a huge success — original, unique and very chic.”
-Anthony Michael, Anthony Michael Interior Design
“An avid gardener, composter, and recycler; assuring that my design footprint is as nominal as possible is so important to me. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night otherwise! Being able to upcycle, share a beautiful object knowing it has likely already had a life of love, is a very fulfilling experience. If only these treasures could talk…. It would be fascinating to hear their stories. Until then, I am just happy to keep them out of landfills and in our beautiful spaces.”
-Brianne Bishop, Brianne Bishop Design
“I think of going to the Randolph Street Market like heading out to a colorfully chaotic daytime party where I run into loads of people I know. We get to catch up while eating yummy food, sipping drinks, and listening to eclectic bands — all the while shopping for my go-to eclectic treasures with just the right amount of patina! If it’s a beautiful sunny day, it’s even better. But even if it’s raining, and we’re roaming the indoor market, it feels like an adventure in my own neighborhood.”
-Nora Schneider, Nora Schneider Interior Design
“Randolph Street Market is a great resource to find unique, one-of-a-kind treasures that are very well priced. As designers, we’re all sourcing from the same trade vendors. Incorporating vintage, antique, artisan, and found objects into our work is important for us to stand out. These finds also add grit and texture through the patina of time. This helps give that timeless, curated look we strive for.”
-Donna Mondi, Donna Mondi Interior Design
Chicago, Ill. — Now in its 20th year, Randolph Street Market is gearing up to kick off its platinum anniversary celebrations with the first market of the 2023 season on May 27 + 28 — and shining a spotlight on its home decor offerings for interior designers.
“With supply-and-demand chains still backlogged and inflation leaving everyone with sticker shock, we’re leaning into our Designer Advisory Board to meet the needs of the interior designers who depend on RSM to source storied treasures for their home projects,” says Sally Schwartz, founder and executive producer at Randolph Street Market.
“For the 2023 season, interior designers and visitors alike can expect new, design-specific programming and activations, and more than 200 merchants with everything from vintage and modern hardware, lighting and art to overstock bolts of fabric, books, decor knick knacks, and more.”
As Chicago’s one and only, world-famous, European-style antique and vintage flea market festival — named ‘Top Ten USA Markets’ by Travel & Leisure, Architectural Digest, goop, USA Today, and more — Randolph Street Market has been listening intently to the larger interior design community, too.
“After a three-year hiatus because COVID put the kibosh on large gatherings, we came roaring back in 2022 to find quite a few market shifts,” says Schwartz. “The pandemic had left interior designers waiting in queues for everything from furniture and upholstery fabrics to art and area rugs, negatively impacting budgets and timelines industry-wide for home projects. More than ever, they have had to turn to American makers and antiques vendors to fill in the gaps.”
While it’s been an industry-wide pivot for sure, a lot of good has come out of the pandemic for small design businesses and, in particular, American design businesses.
“As America’s largest urban antiques market, providing niche vintage and antiques dealers with a mass-appeal market in the heart of Chicago has been our goal since day one,” says Schwartz.
“We have some of the best pickers in the biz on our roster. They are the first in the door for every estate sale and travel the country to source regional styles — think farmhouse, Western, Southern Gothic, Palm Springs modern, and more — to bring quality, highly curated vintage pieces to each and every RSM market.”
Plus, RSM features many first-generation-American artisans and craftspeople from a variety of Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods, including Hija de Nada in Pilsen (textiles from Mexico), Taja Decor in Albany Park (inlaid furniture and game boards from Syria), and Afterglow Neon in Chinatown (neon art and paintings from young Chinese artists).
Being able to consistently source quality pieces is why interior designers love RSM. “In a world of mass production and fast design, there has been a big shift toward appreciating history and the craftsmanship that came out of the generations before us,” says RSM Designer Advisory Board member Donna Mondi, the founder and president at Donna Mondi Interior Design in Chicago.
“‘Grandma chic,’ as I call it, became popular when Gucci introduced a whole new take on old styles. It’s continued for the interiors market in the form of floral patterns, brown furniture, patinaed metals, crocheted textiles, and so much more. Whether your style is traditional, eclectic, or modern, Randolph Street Market is the perfect place to shop for artisan treasures.”
RSM Designer Advisory Board member Anthony Michael, the owner of Anthony Michael Interior Design in Chicago, seconds that sentiment. “With so many poorly manufactured goods out there, RSM provides a unique experience that’s both curated and green, while recognizing the quality of a bygone era when there was more pride put into creating beautiful household items.”
Simultaneously, sustainability and environmental awareness will continue to be an important part of Randolph Street Market’s core messaging and community conversations. “Buying pre-loved pieces is helping build a more conscious and sustainable future for interior design,” says Schwartz. “Keeping timeless furniture, art and decor circulating means fewer pieces will end up in landfills. It’s about cultivating a design culture that prioritizes the environment by reducing the amount of energy and natural resources used and the pollution that is being emitted. We are aware that vintage shopping is not an end-all solution to overconsumption, but it’s about doing our part by focusing on full-circle retail — curated, high-quality product offerings that promote the idea of investing in the versatility, quality and beauty of ‘second time around’ design.”
Having a ‘think globally, act locally’ mentality has always been Randolph Street Market’s M.O. “RSM provides small makers, niche upcycling vendors, and global artisans with a mega-market in Chicago that attracts over a million visitors including interior designers each year,” says RSM Designer Advisory Board member Aimee Wertepny, the founder and visionary behind PROjECT. Interiors in Chicago. “I’m obsessed with the small wooden stools, juju hats, and beaded jewelry that we source from the African vendors. We’ve incorporated the stools in bathrooms, positioned the hats on walls to add texture and dimension, and drape the beads over a pile of books or display them on stands. At PROjECT., we’re committed to making design that matters — design that touches the heart and feeds the soul. All of these hand-touched, artisan pieces have a soul and a story to tell.”
And as all regulars (interior designers included) will attest, RSM weekends are just a heck of a lot of fun, too. “Art, antiques, vintage, decor, fashion, jewelry… You never know what you’re going to find on a Randolph Street Market treasure hunt,” adds Schwartz. “And with live music, beer and wine gardens, local food vendors, a coffee stand, curated treasure hunts for kids with prizes, and more, it’s a lively, community-forward, eco-conscious, festival-style event series for the whole family — and that’s the magic that we hope will keep people coming back for the next 20 years.”
WE THANK OUR DESIGNER ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS:
Andrea Goldman Design, Anthony Michael Interior Design, Brianne Bishop Design, Brooke Lang Design, Buckingham ID, Cari Giannoulias Design, Centered by Design, Binita Barai from Chartwell Design Group, Brenna Brown from Chartwell Design Group, Contrast Design Group, Deb Reinhart Interior Design, Dena Kareotes Arendt Design, Donna Mondi Interior Design, Dual Concept Design, Elizabeth Taich Design, Gogo Design Group, HK + C, Honsen Interiors, Janie Petkus Interiors, Janet Blutter Shiff ASID, Jenna Wedemeyer Designs, Josh Young Design House, John Scott from Keevan Sadok Design, Karen Carpino Design, Kimberly J’s Designs, Kim Scodro Interiors, Laurel Feldman Interiors, Leo Designs, London Walder Interior Designs, Mary Rubino Interiors, Martell Interiors, Mia Rao Design, Michael Del Piero, Milan Shah from Direct Floors, Milieu, NM Interior Design, Nora Schneider Interior Design, Platinum Coast Designs, PROjECT., Rebel House Design, Robyn Shapiro Design, Shakoor Interiors, Shea Lubecke Designs, Simeone Deary Design Group, The I.D. Group, Unpatterned, Zach Hayes Design