Friday, October 25, 2013

High Point Furniture Market: Day 3

We started the day at Tommy Bahama (outdoor furniture, not clothes!). What we learned that it’s one of the most successful created Brands (there is no real Tommy Bahama) around the idea of weekend enjoyment, time off, relaxation, and everything else you can think of doing except working. Imagine such a corporate vision and philosophy. I somehow had the idea that it was inexpensive, not so. An outdoor sofa with the cushions will run you around $5K. What we liked was how closely akin their outdoor furniture is to indoor furniture.

                     Wood Outdoor Bobbin Chair; actually it’s Aluminum

The Furniture Market is always interesting because of the creativity we see, both good and bad, expressed in varied materials, often pushing the limits, or at least the boundaries of the ways in which then materials are used. Case in point, the Bobbin Chairs above.

Parchment Covered Dining Table

We saw parchment used to cover an entire table, instead of used for writing on. We saw Resin finished as metal, iron or pot metal finished to resemble Brass, Bronze, or Silver; Aluminum used to replicate wood; Plastic used as glass or crystal; Polypropylene (plastic bags) used as Sisal and Seagrass, and more.

Sand Cast Bronze Lidded Figurative sculpture; Cast Iron

Gold leafed Lamp on crystal base; Resin body and Lucite base

Bronze Stools; Bronze finished Resin

Alabaster Table Lamp; Cast Resin

Contemporary Stone Tic Tac Toe Set; Abraded Cast Resin


With all of these impostors, as good as they are I heeded a primal call from within to look at some organic product, like wood. I spied this huge live-edge Bench made from a very large tree. I felt I did have to tap my fingers on it to make sure it was wood!

Live edge Wood Bench

Another Bench was made from an interesting collection of limbs, cleaned and sanded, then gathered with an iron band and welded to an iron frame creating a bench. Yes, I did tap on this wood too! It was wood.

Wood pole and Iron strap Bench

Ahh…I spy more wood in the back of this showroom. Big blocks of burled wood cut into blocks, one a dining table and the other a stool. The natural voids of the tree, once occupied by natural sap, sap wood, or perhaps a smaller branch were filled with clear Lucite crystals floating in hardened clear Lucite. The effect was super cool. The effect on a broader expanse such as on the Dining Table Top, middle and bottom pictures, below, looks almost as some naturally occurring landscape viewed from afar…perhaps the effect of global warming? (Thanks for the $5 bucks Mr. Gore).

Wood and Lucite filled stool

Wood and Lucite filled Dining table

Wood and Lucite filled Dining table, close up

There seemed to be a renewed interest in ceramics as a result of the strong interest in mid-century furnishings and design.


TREND: Each day it became more and more apparent that Brass and Gold finishes, particularly polished Brass, were the metal to get ready for. I know, you just put in that Oil Rubbed Bronze faucet, and now you’re out of style again. Well, boo hoo, its now going to be polished brass, in short order.

Your balls on a tray; Frosty glass balls and lacquered brass
Pendant Lighting fixture in Satin Brass with alabaster (resin) shade
Lighting fixtures designed by Mary MacDonald in Mat Brass

A room setting that seems to revel in Brass: Brass framed Mirror with Brass and Glass Table Lamps
TREND: More Blue in Table Lamps, Ceramics, Furniture, and Accessories:



Before we get ugly with “Worst of Show”, have a look at these beauties:

A pillow collection from Tourmaline Home

Candlesticks of gold plated bronze (gold metallic paint on cast iron)
Over size Porcelain Mellon Vases in palest blue; will be most artful on simple pedestals; in stock at CH Santa Barbara in November 

Cast Bronze occasional table in natural Verdi finish

Oval occasional table on walnut base with Shagreen printed leather top and detailing

Mouth blown glass vase in purest amethyst color

A trio of occasional tables in burnished brass with dark green stone tops

And a little humor before “Worst in Show”:
 A Bird in Hand… ; Bronze finished cast iron with gold leaf iron

MacKenzie Childs woven Pagoda Chair with tasseled Ottoman; Adult size, woven colored synthetic material.

Now, for “Worst in Show:

Table Lamp infested with Dragonfly’s

Dining Table on steel base with wood, Lucite and L.E.D lights that flash and change colors

 I don’t think there's a formal name to this style chair, and here’s to hoping there never is! Is the mannequin embarrassed to be standing next to this chair- she wears a mask

Carved and distressed Cabriole leg chair with printed velvet upholstery
All for today! Stay tuned for Day 4 of the High Point Market
Good night moon


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

High Point Furniture Market: Day 2 Opening Day

We have a lot of ground to cover so on opening day we hit the ground running.
To give myself and my readers a feel for the enormity of this market, I googled "High Point Market Statistics" and this is what I found:
"The High Point Market, held in High Point, N.C., is the largest home furnishings industry trade show in the world, measuring over 10 million square feet encompassed in approximately 180 buildings throughout the area."
"The market draws approx. 70,000 people from 100 countries. A 2013 Duke University study, paid for by the High Point Market Authority, showed that the market contributed $5.4 billion to the area's economy."

Below is a map of the markets center. Everything highlighted in Blue on the map is a market center building, which stretches over 21 city blocks.

Now you can see why we hit the ground running!

We don't make appointments with any of our major suppliers for the first couple of days of market so we can make the rounds of the various buildings to get a feel for what trends may be taking shape, and to talk to new vendors and designers.
With that being said, one of our first stops was at Aviva Stanoff, one of our throw pillow suppliers! I know, I know, I said that we didn't see our current suppliers, but we did!

Sea fan imprinted on ombre velvet pillow.

Aviva Stanoff is an artist known for her stunning fabrics that are imprinted on velvet with natural materials such as leafs, sticks, sea fans, branches with flowers on them and more.
What we didn't know is that Stanoff also weaves and makes her own textiles, including the silk, mohair wraps modeled by my wife, Caroline, shown below:



PS: When my wife finds out that I put her picture on this blog post she is not going to be happy with me!

We walked through an upholstery manufacturer, pictured below, to see what new furnishings they're showing, to look at colors, and to get display ideas.

The double Living room display above features two sitting areas centered on a large bookcase and anchored by an over sized rug.

And just when I thought the Living room display was enough, we met the owners of AFK of Beverly Hills. AFK (Art for Kids) specializes in furniture for baby and child. This west coast designer wife and husband duo have eschewed the typical nursery rhyme oriented nursery for the little darlings of the rich and famous and opted for the opulent!

Mariah Carey's nursery designed by Gail Sedigh of AFK
Twins bedroom. As I said, for the rich & famous.

Another vignette, above features three different shaped cocktail tables centered in front of two sofas.

A traditional leather bench is handsomely updated with sleek round, tapered, stainless steel legs.

Next stop at a manufacturer of lighting who had a great take on the modern classic Sputnik fixture, below, by adding volume and color.

Glass table lamps, below, have been making a comeback as seen at the last two markets which hasn't been seen since the popularity of the Murano glass lamps of our parents generation.

 A blown up version of a mid-century chandelier, below. Typically mid-century lighting was more spare, and of slight build. Today's version is fresh, respects the materials of the past, but has volume well suited for the higher, loft-like ceilings,

Notice that all of the lighting fixtures above are in the blue family. Hummm...are we seeing a color trend? See below!

Multiple hassocks centered in front of a large sectional sofa, in a range of blues from Navy to Seafoam.

Solid navy blue on traditional lamp.


Modern lamp in electric blue glass.

Blue ombre velvet fabric.

Natural indigo fabric is shown on a cushion. 

Yves Klein Blue rug of plush viscose.
Yep... I think we're on to something! I will keep you posted on this trend as it may or may not develop this week.

We stropped by to see the Belgian designer Serge de Troyer whom we've been watching for sometime for his fresh approach to traditional furniture and his use of exotic and unusual materials.
Side table covered in genuine golden fish skin

A classic desk is sheathed in printed lizard patterned leather; A woven ottoman is updated by large scale strips of orange leather, on polished stainless steel feet.

An original ottoman design is upholstered in blue/grey hair on hide leather, featuring tapered legs uniquely resting on the platform of the ground level shelf

A simple bench is made artful by replacing wood planks and supports with slabs of Lucite filled with straw hay.

A vendor makes the chic look of a Hudson New York dining table affordable. The table below features a slab of live-edge walnut resting on a contemporary polished stainless steel table base

Close up of the live-edge slab of walnut used for the top of the Dining table, below. 

Another emerging trend: Brass. Yes, it is obvious from day 1 that brass is making a comeback. Below, a modern oval cocktail table.

A hammered brass table lamp is embellished with rock crystals.

A polished brass tray is encrusted with semi-precious stones; Tray sits on a Gold leafed console table with mirrored top, and pale blue table lamp with antiqued-brass base; Wall paper is navy blue.

The afternoon was devoted to various events. The first was the debut of the new Scalamandre Home Collection by Port 68. The collection features patterns and colorways from the Scalamandre archives.

Above, the iconic Scalamandre Zebra fabric curtains flank a blue & white porcelain table lamp and red & white lidded box, both with patterns from the firms archives.    

A black lacquered bench is upholstered with an over sized version of the famed Scalamandre Zebra pattern, sits under a brass "bamboo" patterned sawhorse style desk with glass top. 

Next we stopped by our friends booth, the owners of Emdee International, importers, designers, and manufacturers of the most exquisite and luxurious fabrics and drapery panels anywhere. There we saw their latest textiles and the debut of their new Eco furniture line, treetok, with partner Carlos Sampere.

Herringbone metallic Burlap, designed by Deepa, Emdee International designer and woven exclusively for the firm, headed up by Manju, Deepa, and Jenny. 
A new exclusive design by Emdee International: Embroidery on maize linen 
Silk Drapery panels by Emdee International embellished with silk detailing, cashmere and mohair.

Close-up photo of the drapery panels detail 

Cocktail table in Peroba Wood from new Eco furniture line, treetok 
Treetok is a collection of furniture, design, and manufacturing company for the future as a result of eleven years of exploration in the Amazon. Using forest resources in a sustainable manner to create beautiful wood crafts. Their sister not-for-profit organization is a proven model for providing employment to native Amazon communities, while simultaneously offering a range of beautiful designs and finishes for the contemporary home or office.
 Two new introductions by Gloster:
Havana Collection: Outdoor leather on teak base

Source Lounge Chair, powder coated aluminum frame with woven synthetic fiber.
Sunbrella cushions.
We ended this very long day with a party at Nourison for the introduction of fellow Santa Barbaraanne Kathy Ireland (yes that Sports Illustrated Kathy Ireland). We walked in and were greeted by the national sales director for Noursion who said that Kathy would like to have her picture made with us. "Okay", we said, looking at each other. I mean we are fellow Santa Barbaraanne's, but we don't exactly have a cup of coffee everyday with each other. So off we went, Kathy, Caroline and me, herded by her handlers, Nourison executives and photographers... oh my!

Kathy Ireland introduces the two North Carolina charities, the Triad Boys & Girls Cub and Triad Family Services, who are the recipients of a donation on her behalf by Nourison Rug Corp.

She also talked about the inspiration for the line, "Making homes all across America more beautiful environments for families, and making these designs accessible financially for a broad cross section of people."  

I must say, for someone who is considered among the most successful persons licensing their name on products, she is a grounded, kind, sincere, and humble person.  
The rug below, by Kathy Ireland for Nourison, is called 'Santa Barbara', but we don't have Zebras in Santa Barbara! Maybe she can do one in Shark skin, because we do have those.
What a day! There was so much good product to see that I truly never focused on the "Worst of Show"! That is a first for The Design Guy. See, there is redemption in hard work.
Good night moon.