Connecting Past and Present: Rare Aspen

Merging the best of contemporary design with an appreciation for rare historic pieces, Rare Aspen aims to set a new standard in antique purchasing and education, proving that even centuries-old design can be “modern” in its own way.
Image courtesy William Cook, Berkshire UK

Words by: Peter Moran

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One of the greatest pleasures of good design, maybe even its greatest strength, is its ability to break down prejudices about what art “should” be — to rewrite our preconceptions and help us see the world in new ways. Who says, for instance, that “modern” design can’t involve centuries-old antiques? Or that those antiques can’t, in their own way, be modern?

Who says, for instance, that “modern” design can’t involve centuries-old antiques? Or that those antiques can’t, in their own way, be modern?

These are the questions that Aspen Show Group, a Colorado public beneficiary corporation, is asking with its new antique, fine art, and jewelry show: Rare Aspen. Set to run from July 9 to 14, the show will bring together collectors, vendors, and experts for an event aimed at bridging the gap between new and old design and exploring what the word “rare” truly means.

Image courtesy of keynote speaker Beth Webb
Image courtesy of Jeff Littrell Antiques
Image courtesy William Cook, Berkshire UK

“We believe that Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley is the perfect setting to highlight how the traditions of old-world craftsmanship can blend seamlessly with a contemporary design aesthetic,” says Donna Vock, founder and president of Aspen Show Group. “All around us, we see examples of old and new coexisting in balance. It informs and humbles us.”

The show, managed by the Antiques Council, will raise money for three Roaring Fork Valley charities: Aspen Hope Center, Mountain Rescue, and the Aspen Education Foundation. Expect a preview shopping afternoon on July 9 for design professionals, a grand opening party on the evening of July 10, and four days of shopping from July 11 to 14, with educational presentations by industry experts along the way.

Those in attendance, says Vock, will be stunned by how perfectly objects with long, storied histories can fit into even the most intensely modern spaces. Says Vock, “Texture, warmth, and color are abundant in these pieces. We believe that modern design is only enhanced by this kind of personal touch.” Above all, it will offer a chance for those interested in modern design to expand their thinking — to respond to the unique energy of truly rare objects, and to see what surprises they find along the way.

A complimentary pass for designers and architects is available by emailing This Gold Pass allows access for you and a guest to attend the party, previews, and all presentations.