John Brady & Willard Ford

Furniture importers | Ages: 42 and 38 | Homes: Little Tokyo and Chinatown

Breaking Away: A career switch from competitive cycling to furniture importing wasn’t a random decision for Willard Ford (right) and John Brady. Both had discovered a love of exotic design when they traveled the world for bike races. Settling Down: They opened the FordBrady showroom last year in the former Kim Sing movie theater downtown, miles from the West Hollywood interiors scene and galaxies removed from the sensibility of downtown’s Furniture Mart. The duo invite the Earl McGrath Gallery to display works by its artists, such as Josh Agle and Brice Marden, in the space, so guests get a simultaneous look at new paintings and new furniture. Don’t Look Back: Lamps are made of spent silkworm cocoons. Tables are fashioned from recycled trash. Chairs owe their existence to teak scraps. But hippie it ain’t; the look is minimal and contemporary. “I grew up in Ireland in a house that’s probably as old as the Unites States,” says Brady. “I’m not enamored with older furniture.” Now on View: A furniture line by X-Large store owner Eli Bonerz is the newest addition to the dozen-plus collections displayed in the showroom, which is open to the public. » 720 N. Figueroa St., downtown, 213-620-1066.

Photograph by Sal Owen