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Ser Eterno: Furniture and the passing of time

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Veronica Garibayhttp://yucatanmagazine.com
Verónica Garibay Saldaña is a Mexican columnist, communications major, and poetry enthusiast. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.

Some of us design enthusiasts have a soft spot for vintage furniture. There is something about its endurance and its imperfections that stand as proof of a storied history. Luckily for us, furniture restoration in Yucatán is more popular than ever.

As Yves Saint Laurent once said, fashions fade, but style is eternal. As a concept and a word, Eternal inspired Daniel Góngora and Emmanuel Torres to start “Ser Eterno” – Being Eternal, a restored furniture retailer in Mérida.

Chest stool, restored
Chest stool, restored by Ser Eterno. Photo: Ser Eterno.

Both artists work in the field of design, Daniel as a graphic designer and Emmanuel as an architect. Inspired by Casa Mo, an antique furniture shop in Mérida, they began to seek out neglected pieces of antique furniture in the city and explore the possibilities they offered.

Antique flowerpot.
Antique flowerpot. Photo: Ser Eterno.

“We wanted to join the second-hand furniture market with pieces that were accessible to a wide audience,” says Daniel.

The pair has developed the skill of visualizing spaces and pieces of furniture together, long before restoration has even begun. Their style seeks to maintain the original essence of each piece while leaving the marks of their past lives. 

“Just because a piece is old does not mean it has to be discarded, it is so much fun to breathe new life into old pieces,” says Daniel.

They started their business in 2020, and their first restoration was an old clock.

German Kundo watch.
German Kundo watch. Photo: Ser Eterno.

“That was the piece that really turned the page for us. Emmanuel found it at a second hand boutique, it had belonged to the owner’s grandfather. We knew it would be expensive to fix, but from the first moment we saw it we could recognize that it was something special.”

Ser Eterno’s philosophy is to restore any damage to the furniture while maintaining its worn look.

“We mostly restore woven fabrics, apply fresh paint and varnish, but we try very hard not to mess with the essence of each piece. We don’t want them looking 100% brand new, we like the furniture to feel lived-in.”

Detail on modern chairs.
Detail on modern chairs. Photo: Ser Eterno.

Today, they sell their restored pieces on social media and at the occasional second-hand bazaar. Both enjoy walking around the city and coming across new projects, be it at stores, or even on the side of the road. 

When it comes to keeping up your own antique furniture, Daniel is of the opinion that a light approach is best.

Restored rocking chair.
Restored rocking chair. Photo: Ser Eterno.

“We have to work with what we have got,”  says Daniel. “Neglected furniture deteriorates faster than by wear and tear. In a place as humid as Yucatán one must consider the care necessary to each material. Oil up your wooden furniture and polish up your steel pieces. But the most important part is enjoying your furniture. Is what keeps it alive.”

See Ser Eterno on Instagram. Contact Daniel at 9994859455.

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