Ameba Design, the self-described "smallest design house in the world" is, as stated, a very tiny shop. The roughly one-room gallery is located in the southeast corner of Helsinki's design district - a bustling section of the city's center that developed as part of Finland's Design Year 2005 program and now spans 25 streets and includes over 170 stores and artist studios.
The shop is run by Samuli Simula -- not your average dealer. Many of the pieces in the gallery are, as one might conclude simply by the nature of the establishment, for sale. However, Simula seems to have rather a difficult time in parting with his most beloved objects. And thus, a great many of them are not for sale, but for rent. Call it seller's remorse. Call it separation anxiety. Call it charming.
Granted, rented often enough the pieces pay for themselves... and if a portion of the stock is always rotating there's no need for storage... and a tiny space means a tiny overhead.
Call it genius.
A round-up of objects, either for sale or rent, from Ameba Design:
Prototype chair designed by Kukkapuro Yrjö and manufactured by Avarte, 2000 (for rent) and a pair of Paavo Tynell-designed wall sconces for the 1950s movie theater, Kinema, in Tampere, Finland (for rent)
Orchid vase, Timo Sarpaneva, 1953 (for sale)
Custom-designed 18k gold-and-amethyst brooch/pendant and earrings designed by Björn Weckström and manufactured by goldsmith V. Kalevi Piirainen, 1962 (for sale)
Chair No. 41, designed by Alvar Aalto for the Paimio Sanatorium, 1932 (for rent)
Sculpture, Glass Forest, by Oiva Toikka, circa 1969 (for rent)
Brass chandelier designed by Paavo Tynell, 1950s (for rent)
Two signed sketches by Tapio Wirkkala (for sale)
Top: Northern Lights, silver cigarette case
Bottom: Reindeer-motif silver pendant