The Modern Republic, a midcentury modern home decor shop opened by long-time friends Kenya Abdul Hadi and Steven Brown on is a colorful, ebullient and very large, high-ceilinged space filled with tastefully curated and thoughtfully placed furniture, lamps, pottery, paintings and rugs from (mostly) midcentury. I admired a set of ’70s Italian red and metal dining chairs with woven seats so co-owner Steve Brown brought one down for me to sit in (surprisingly comfortable. Items, such as lamps and pottery were organized on shelves by eye-pleasing colors. Vintage art (I noted a piece by Peter Gee) shares space with more recent work with a number of pieces by local artists.
A modern republic, by definition, is a place where sovereignty rests with the people, and a big goal of Abdul Hadi and Brown is to uplift. As successful African-American males who grew up in “rough” neighborhoods in Philly, they intentionally chose a space in North Philly as they are aware that the area is typically associated with drugs, guns, crime and poverty and they wanted to offer something of beauty – vibrant works of abstract modern art, leather chairs and cool lighting. A small piece of pottery spoke to me and I took it home for $26. It looks lovely on my hall table.