Partnerships Abound at High Point Market
High Point Market is a wrap for 2020, and we have to say: the city and Market Authority did a fantastic job during these strange and unusual times!
Visitors were required to undergo daily health screenings before entering showrooms, and the grounds were set up for social distancing. Many showrooms operated by appointment only, while larger showrooms were able to allow some walk-ins. The Market also provided masks, personal bottles of hand sanitizer, and sanitizing stations throughout the facilities, and an army of staff kept things spotless.
We missed catching up with fellow designers over meals and parties, but the safety precautions were much appreciated by attendees and High Point residents. We also appreciated the meal vouchers that we used at local food trucks!
We noticed a lot of collaborations, which we thought was an appropriate theme for this special edition of the DSA newsletter. Even though COVID is keeping many of us apart, designers are still finding ways to team up, inspire one another, and bring new lines to life. We hope you enjoy the photos, observations, and interviews and look forward to returning to High Point in the spring.
Designer Society of America
6 Trends We Loved at High Point Market
We kept our eyes peeled for the latest showroom trends. Here are a few that we loved.
• Curvilinear Shapes
Beware curves ahead. Many showrooms boasted furniture featuring curved lines, luxurious fabrics, and delicate fabrics. Two looks we loved: duo-chromatic lamps at Noir and a sexy curved sofa from Diamond Sofa.
• Timeless Designs
No one does it like Ralph Lauren. The butter-soft leather, wood, and metallic accents in his equestrian collection are definitely swoon-worthy.
• Colors and patterns
When it comes to color, think small-scale. Add a bright print or pattern in the form of pillows, chairs, or drapery instead of a larger piece that may become outdated. Carson Chair Thibaut Furniture
• Metals on lacquer
incorporating green or hot pink; Chelsea House. Metallic accents and lacquer colors were everywhere.
We thought Bungalow 5 executed this look especially well.
• Traditional classics re-imagined
• Recycling to create new products
We’re excited to see more designers thinking sustainably. Some of our favorite earth-friendly pieces: lamps made from recycled oyster shells at Curry & Company and recycled bottles.
• Oyster lamps and chandeliers Currey and Company
The words; "Endless Options" are like music to a designer's ears!
We were thrilled to learn more about Mark D. Sikes Customize line for Chaddock Home!!! The options are endless.
Collaborating with Farrow & Ball to offer 12 curated colors Mark personally selected to give you a way to add color to your Chaddock. Farrow & Ball is dedicated to creating richly pigmented colors, using the finest quality ingredients for the most beautiful product. So, whether it’s an accent on the leg of a sofa or slipper chair or a bold statement on a wood bedside table, the brush is in your hands to make it your own.
**A special thanks to another collaborator, Iksel Decorative Arts, for the Canton Reverie wallpaper seen throughout the above imagery, available through Schumacher.
What were some of your favorite market trends? Send us an email at email@example.com, and we’ll share your thoughts with the DSA community in our next newsletter.
Alexa Hampton on Partnering with Theodore Alexander
by: Senior Editor Davina van Buren
Q&A With Designer Alexa Hampton
Creativity Meets Manufacturing Capability:
One of our favorite showrooms in High Point is Theodore Alexander. Founded in 1996 by Paul Maitland Smith, this luxury brand’s retailer network spans far and wide, and their manufacturing capabilities are exceptional.
The brand partners with several designers, but one that caught our eye was Alexa Hampton’s new 60-piece collection.
Hampton, who is the daughter of legendary Mark Hampton, began her design career at an early age answering the phone, returning samples, and doing grunt work at her father’s company. She eventually worked her way up to the junior and senior designer, then took the reins of the firm after her father’s death in 1986.
The partnership between Alexa Hampton and Theodore Alexander makes perfect sense. TA works with esteemed artisans and master crafters to produce one-of-a-kind designs that are rich in complexity and detail. They allow their designer's space to create pieces that give distinction to their client’s spaces, and their unique manufacturing capabilities attract some of the world’s most influential designers.
We spoke with Hampton via telephone at her Hamptons home—where she was quarantining after Market’s close—to learn more about the collaboration.
Designer Society of America: How did the collaboration between you and Theodore Alexander come to be?
Hampton: I’d just left Hickory Chair and approached Theodore Alexander because I was a fan of their work. Their finishes are rich and beautiful and their details...what they are capable of doing was intriguing. I dove in, called them up, and said, “Would you be interested in working together?” Within a couple of days, I met with the creative director, but it took a while to dial in the legal logistics of it. That was February 2018—by the spring of 2019, we launched 120 pieces, and we just launched 60 more.
DSA: What’s it been like blending your aesthetic with TA’s manufacturing power?
Hampton: It’s been heaven! The proof of that is that I was unable to check any of the prototypes of the second round of 60 pieces due to the coronavirus. The first time I saw them was when they landed at the High Point market. With very few exceptions, they are amazing. And the pieces that need adjustments are just that: adjustments. It’s a great company.
DSA: In recent years, TA’s brand focus has shifted from furniture to being more of a lifestyle brand, in part to attract a younger clientele. How do you think you fit into that mission?
Hampton: Lifestyle means how a person lives. To me, it means that what works well together, plays well together, and is integratable into houses that have other types of furniture. I want to work with all sizes and scales in addition to different periods and materials. That’s what TA does.
Hopefully, I’m showing younger people how it’s done, but my job is to design beautiful, usable furniture. If it’s authentic to what I think is beautiful, that is fulfilling my mission.
DSA: Your line has a lot of classic shapes, but most of them have a fun twist—an accent, inlay, or interesting material for example. How do you come up with your ideas?
Hampton: A lot of my ideas are inspired by antiques. Whether it be Greek Revival, mid-century modern, Edwardian, etc. But I’m also inspired when I’m in Vietnam [at the TA manufacturing facility] and looking at some of the veneers and the hardware we can do. Some of it is based on the past and some of it is the capabilities of what TA can bring.
DSA: What else should we know about your line?
Hampton: TA has figured out a way to ship inventory to the US in whitewood and then assemble it in the U.S. Because they have things in stock, you can get deliveries in a couple of weeks. There is a lot of pressure to be American made, and of course, I want people in America to have jobs. But I also want Americans to be able to afford these pieces. Part of that is using components that are made overseas. It’s nice to be able to ride that line—bring down costs, but also create jobs. What’s better than that?
Visit the Currey & Company Virtual Showroom
Q&A With Cecil Adams, VP & Creative Director for Currey & Company
by: Senior Editor Davina van Buren
A Commitment to Meaningful Design:
The collaborations in the Currey & Company showroom were almost too many to count!
If you’ve ever been to their High Point showroom, you know that Currey & Company is known for their Southern hospitality and friendly reps. Though COVID put a damper on the traditional breakfast and jovial showroom gatherings, the company’s high hospitality bar lives on. Special shout out to Brownlee, who showed us around and told us about some of the products on the showroom floor (we especially loved the pieces made from oyster shells and recycled glass).
Currey & Company creates timeless furnishings; many are inspired by the beauty of nature and legacies past. Their work reflects a commitment to meaningful design and often incorporates historical details and natural materials. They strive to be a company that is easy to do business with, invest in inventory so that orders deliver on time, and real people answer the phone (and your questions!) when you call. They also have an up-to-date website with a current catalog. Currey & Company has permanent showrooms in Atlanta, Dallas, Las Vegas, New York, and High Point.
We had the pleasure of chatting with Vice President & Creative Director Cecil Adams during Market to find out more about the company’s many collaborations and how they work.
Designer Society of America: How do you decide which designers to partner with?
Adams: We are very fortunate to have many proposals from designers who come to us inquiring about collaborations as well as making our own proposals to designers we believe may be a good fit for our product line. There are a few things we are particularly interested in when considering a collaboration. Will they fit well into our organization and work well with our design team? Are they bringing something new to the table, such as a different point of view, an established reputation in the industry, or an interesting take on new materials, to name a few.
DSA: How is collaborating with a designer on a lighting line advantageous—for the brand and for them?
Adams: From my point of view, the best advantage is the relationship and the process. Both sides may learn something new and a different way of seeing things. Oftentimes we try something new with a collaborator that we may not have done on our own and often it turns out to be quite successful.
DSA: Please explain a bit more about the collaboration process. How do you decide on the style and scope of the collaboration?Do designers participate from conception to completion?
Adams: Our collaborators at Currey are encouraged to participate from the beginning to the end of the process of design, as well as promoting and working with our sales team to ensure that their product is a success. Typically we begin with a deck of designs submitted by the designer and go through with our entire design team and management to determine which designs will move forward through our process. As designs go through the sampling stage, we continue to refine the design and determine if it is viable to produce and sell to our customers. This process takes at least a year and sometimes longer.
DSA: I noticed you incorporate reused materials into some of your lighting, like wine bottles and oyster shells. We’d love to know more about this. What’s your philosophy on sustainability? Is this something we will see more of?
Adams: From the beginning, Currey has designed products intended to last and that is a big part of sustainability. Part of our design philosophy is to look around wherever we are and create with local artisans using local materials such as recycled glass and shells. It also helps that we often use nature as a starting point for design inspiration. I cannot imagine that ever going away as long as there is a Currey & Company.
DSA: What else should we know about Curry & Company?
Adams: It has been a pleasure to expand our Currey family through our many collaborations over the years and we intend to continue to do so for the future.
Visit the Currey & Company VIRTUAL SHOWROOM
Customization Kings: Q&A With Chaddock CEO Andrew Crone
by: Senior Editor Davina van Buren
Walking around the Chaddock showroom, something stood out: an open expanse with a central display of plain white chairs smack dab in the middle of the showroom. On the wall, paint colors and finishes illustrated how several types of chairs could be customized. Surrounding the space were entrances to additional showrooms where colorful and traditional collections provided an inviting juxtaposition to the crisp, white space.
But chairs are only the beginning of Chaddock’s customizing capabilities. Known for storytelling and American craftsmanship, the brand is constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the furniture design and manufacturing industry. Their expansive collection of furniture includes Chaddock branded designs, plus exclusive partnerships with renowned designers Mark D. Sikes, Larry Laslo, Mary McDonald and David Easton.
Nearly 90 percent of Chaddock furniture is made in Morganton, North Carolina. Most case goods may be personalized in over 70 wood and paint finishes, and upholstery is hand-tailored in hundreds of fabrics and trims, plus COM/COL. Designers are also invited to change dimensions, specifications, hardware and finishes to create truly unique designs. Chaddock lead times are among the best in the industry: 4-7 weeks for standard wood and upholstery, and 10-12 weeks for custom.
We sat with CEO Andrew Crone in Chaddock’s beautiful showroom to learn more about the brand.
Designer Society of America: How do you decide what new designers will represent your lines?
Crone: We have a lot of designers who approach us, but for the most part, we are not interested in having a huge list of designers. It’s really looking at our capabilities, what the market for Chaddock presents in terms of aesthetic and what the need is. We always want somebody who does something different than what we already do. In other words, we don't want to cannibalize our existing business. We want designs that fit in with our current customer base, that are meaningful from a product and marketing perspective, and that are common enough that we can manufacture in Morganton. Typically we reach out to designers, but we do have some who want to present to us.
For example, with Mark Sikes—the latest designer we’ve partnered with—we had a specific need. We saw traditional coming back, but it wasn't your old-school traditional, it was updated. We were specifically looking for someone who did that well, and Mark fit the bill. Once we got to know him better, we also learned that he has an incredible merchandising and marketing background, so he's always thinking about the form and function of every single piece. I think that's what you'll see in the product and why we've done so well with that product.
DSA: How is collaborating with a designer on a furniture line advantageous—for the brand, and for them?
Crone: There are multiple benefits to partnering with a designer. One is that if you have the right designer, then product is key. We still lead with product in this industry, and you have to have a great product. It starts with having someone who understands not only how to create beautiful spaces, but who also can create a functional and livable product.
Then there’s the marketing piece. Mark has a significant look and a significant following. It was important that we partner with somebody who has this following where they can bring people into the Chaddock fold and understand who we are, and what a great partner we can be. We benefited from that—it’s a great partnership where it's not just Chaddock pushing it out. We spend a lot of time working together with designers on a new launch, so we only partner with designers who are good people and fun to work with. It’s very important that you have not only the right talent but somebody you enjoy working with.
DSA: Please explain a bit more about the collaboration process. How do you decide on the style and scope of the collaboration?
Crone: I think what differentiates Chaddock on the product side is we're not as concerned about having a high piece count. Some others in the industry are all about bringing a ton of product out and then seeing what sticks. We don't want to waste an investment on the development side. We want to carefully consider everything about that product so that we feel really good about the limited pieces that we came out with.
A collection could easily have been 100–200 pieces. That's where it starts, then we narrow it down to what we think would sell the best. We get a lot of feedback from our team, and we look at the data that we already have to make sure that the product that we develop is relevant and resonates. The cool thing about Chaddock is that in a 40-piece introduction, there are three ways to customize almost every piece.
DSA: How would you describe Chaddock’s aesthetic.
Crone: We don't chase trends at all. It's just not something we're interested in. We still have product that was developed in the 1950s that were part of the original Guy Chaddock line. Putting a fresh finish on it today makes it relevant—the product is beautiful and high-quality, and all the things that we loved about it then, people still love about it today.
Our partnerships with designers allow us to experiment. For example, Mary McDonald is a little more neoclassical. Then you have Mark Sikes, who has this updated traditional that mixes so many different elements, English-inspired, French-inspired, to create kind of an all-American look. Larry Laslo is a bit more modern—he loves bold color, glam with gold accents, and things of that nature, David Easton is retired now, but we still have his product in the line; he bridges that gap of modern and traditional. In-house, we do a lot of the Easy Scale programs and things that you can build a whole home around.
DSA: What else should we know about Chaddock?
Crone: We have a new real-time pricing tool that we’re very excited about. Designers often work outside business hours, and they need accurate product prices. With our new pricing tool, they can log into our website, click on a piece, and start to build the price. They pick the fabric, the little details, if you want to do tape trim, different finishes, contrast throw pillows, etc. All of this can be done on their computer at any time. We thought that was important before COVID and certainly even more important given the shift in business this year.
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