Insight: David Skelley
July 06, 2014
When David Skelley opened Boomerang for Modern in San Diego 26 years ago, there was no Mad Men, no Design Within Reach and no national love affair with the sleek, sensuous lines of midcentury modern furnishings. So when folks waded through Skelley’s extensive collection of Eames chairs and George Nelson bubble lamps, they weren’t quite sure what to think. “They thought they were walking into a thrift store,” says Skelley. “They didn’t get the context.” But after many years of educating curious clients—and with the help of a midcentury mod renaissance—Boomerang for Modern is now a SoCal institution, and Skelley himself is something of a design guru within the community. His store, named for the iconic shape of so many pieces of the period, is a testament to his unyielding love for modern design, whether it’s in fashion or not. “I didn’t approach it as a fad,” Skelley says. “I knew I wanted to be in it for the long run.”
LX: What do you collect?
DS: I love the ceramics and metalwork of Malcolm Leland, who collaborated with prominent Los Angeles and San Diego architects on sculptural details for many public and private buildings. He also created beautiful objects for Architectural Pottery back in the 1950s.
LX: Design icons:
DS: George Nelson, Hans Wegner and Arne Jacobsen. Did you know Jacobsen designed the flatware that Stanley Kubrick used on the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey?
LX: I’m reading…
DS: San Diego’s Craft Revolution, by Dave Hampton. It’s the book he wrote to accompany the Mingei International Museum’s current exhibit, which is part of the huge “Pacific Standard Time” series of shows and exhibits throughout Southern California.
LX: Favorite restaurant:
DS: Tony’s Jacal in Solana Beach. I’m a San Diego native and I’ve been going there ever since I was in a high chair.