news digest | Mar 3, 2020 |
Bed Bath & Beyond lays off 500, Houzz ends controversial photo policy, and more

It’s been a long week, and we know, it’s only Tuesday. Not to worry—we’ve got you covered. Stay in the know with BOH’s weekly news digest, including business headlines, launches and events, recommended reading and more.

BUSINESS NEWS

Houzz’s policies around tagged products in photos have long been a controversial subject for designers. Historically, the massive home platform has, in some contexts, included shoppable links attached to designers’ imagery—a practice that angered many in the design community, who felt their work was at best being undervalued, at worst, undercut. In 2018, an online petition began circulating asking Houzz to allow designers to opt out of the feature, and to retain more control over the way their images were used on the platform. Two years later, Houzz has changed its policy. In a recent email to members, CEO Adi Tatarko announced that the platform would be allowing designers to opt entirely out of photo tags. The change, she wrote, was a response to feedback from designers: “Product tags on photos have caused frustration to some members of the design community. We have heard you loud and clear. ... In addition to this change, we are working on a number of other initiatives based on your feedback. We look forward to rolling out additional features to support the design community over the next few months.”

Bed Bath & Beyond will lay off 500 employees, primarily senior management, reported Furniture Today. In restructuring, the company is expected to save $85 million; it will also outsource many functions in order to save hundreds of millions of dollars over the long term. “We are announcing extensive changes today to right-size our organization as part of our efforts to reconstruct a modern, durable business model,” said president and CEO Mark Tritton. “We do not take this action lightly, but while difficult, these measured and purposeful steps are necessary. This will reset our cost structure, allowing us to re-invest where it matters most to our customers, to re-establish our authority in the home space.” The news follows challenges and shake-ups the corporation has faced since the latter half of 2019.

The Inspired Home Show, meant to be held in Chicago this month, has been canceled because of concerns about COVID-19, reported HFN. “For the last several weeks, we have been watching this situation very carefully, with our primary concern being the safety and well-being of the home and housewares industry,” said Derek Miller, International Housewares Association president. “The IHA board of directors made this decision after consulting with industry constituents, including exhibitors and retailers. In the end, the global nature of our event, combined with the worldwide concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak and ongoing travel restrictions make it impossible for us to hold the Inspired Home Show next week.” The financial impact will be measured over the next several weeks.

The Louvre has closed due to COVID-19 concerns, reported The Cut. It will remain closed this week. The virus has infected around 100 people in France thus far. Ten million people visit per year; the enclosed space fosters the spread of the virus. France has also banned public gatherings of over 5,000 people.

LAUNCHES, OpeningS AND PARTNERSHIPS

The Interior Arts Building (306 East 61st Street) has announced its first week of full programming, dubbed Design61, to coincide with New York’s Design Week, May 11 to 22. The roster of events will include a pop-up market, parties, and a full lineup of talks with notable designers (to name a few: Corey Damen Jenkins, Alessandra Branca, Josh Greene, Young Huh, Amanda Lindroth and Bunny Williams). The week will also see a maker takeover (May 19), with a brigade of craftspeople—ranging from lauded ceramic lamp maker Christopher Spitzmiller to master gilder Sheelin Wilson—demonstrating their talents in person. “We felt it was important to celebrate the makers and artisans who are so essential to design collaborations,” says Ellen Niven of PR firm NivenBreen, the organizers of the event (and building tenants themselves). “These modern craftsmen and artisans tell a story through their work that adds value to all the antiques houses in the building by demonstrating what goes into the process of gilding a frame, painting a mural, carving wood, glazing ceramics or upholstering a chair.”

Bed Bath & Beyond lays off 500, Houzz ends controversial photo policy, and more
A Modsy interiorCourtesy of Modsy

Modsy has expanded its in-house line of furniture with the addition of 5,000 product combinations. According to internal data, living rooms were the most popular rooms designed in 2019; as a response, at the end of February, the company expanded its Ravine Home line of sofas and seating.

To celebrate its 75th year, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Designer Showhouse has partnered with Atlanta Magazine and Atlanta Magazi​ne’​​​​​​s Home. The showhouse will be open until March 22, featuring a design team with such names as Matthew Quinn of Design Galleria, William Peace of Peace Design, and Barbara Westbrook of Westbrook Interiors.

The Home Depot has officially released over 200 new home décor items from its brands StyleWell and Home Decorators Collection. The home accents are available for purchase online, offering promotions on delivery for orders of certain sizes.

RECOMMENDED READING
The New York Times captured the “many moods and pleasures” of objects by minimalist artist Donald Judd in a review of an exhibit of his work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. “His signature sculptural image—a no-frills, no-content wood or metal box—had not only been adapted by other artists, but also riffs on it became a fixture of international architecture and design,” writes Holland Cotter. “To some degree, we all lived in Judd-world, and still do.”

Mona Lisa puking on her chin, O.J. Simpson in the electric chair, and Donald Trump getting punched in the face by a cheeseburger are just a few of Peter Saul’s works cited in GQ’s recent profile of the artist. “Long a so-called artist’s artist and a favorite among those in the know, Saul is now a cult hero,” writes Scott Indrisek. “Those who sing his praises speak of an art world that is only now getting used to the 85-year-old Saul’s oddball talents, honed over 60 years of uneven commercial success.”

In San Jose, California, after over three years (and many months of delays), the city unveiled its first “bridge housing community,” an innovative solution to the area’s mounting homeless crisis. The gated community is made up of 40 units, each an 80-square-foot rectangular structure available to individuals who participate in the county’s rehousing voucher program, for people in the process of securing permanent housing but at risk of homelessness in the interim, reports Mercury News.

CUE THE APPLAUSE
Tonight, at its annual gala, the New York School of Interior Design will honor Brian J. McCarthy with the Albert Hadley Lifetime Achievement Award, Gale and Andy Singer with the Larry Kravet Design Industry Innovation Award, and Elizabeth Lawrence with the Rising Star Award.

Dublin-based architects Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara have been awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, marking the first time that two women have received the honor, writes The New York Times. The duo have practiced together for 40 years, since founding their firm, Grafton Architects, in 1978.

The American Society of Interior Designers has named its 2020 Student Portfolio Competition recipients, a total of 13 finalists and three winners. This year’s winners include Jessica Ma, a Savannah College of Art and Design senior who also won last year, recognized for her design of an independent living center for children with autism spectrum disorder; a resort hotel in Osaka, Japan; and a design for an Allbirds office in Savannah, Georgia. Fellow SCAD student Alexa Fombrun was recognized for her designs of a luxury hotel in Cairo; a children’s footwear company in Valencia, Spain; and a life-size model of a meditation pod. New York School of Interior Design student Mona Nahm was recognized for her design of a sustainable adaptive reuse project, “The Moran Hotel,” in Burlington, Vermont; a lifestyle brand that’s focused on natural fibers; and a workspace redesign for the International Rescue Committee. Each winner received a check for $5,800 at the SCALE 2020 student summit in Seattle in late February.

The Women in Retail Leadership Circle named Chairish co-founder Anna Brockway as one of its 2020 top women in retail. This is the Philadelphia-based network’s 10th-annual list. Brockway was recognized for her achievement and involvement in the industry. Other women on the list this year include Liz Allison of Neiman Marcus Group, Michele Buck of the Hershey Company, Ann-Marie Campbell and Crystal Hanlon of The Home Depot, Angela Hsu of Lamps Plus, and Kim Lefko of Ace Hardware Corporation.

CALL FOR ENTRIES

Kyiv, Ukraine–based PinchukArtCentre has opened applications for the Future Generation Art Prize for 2021. Entries can be submitted from now until May 20 here. Twenty artists will be finalists; they will make new exhibits for the the contemporary art center as well as for the Venice Biennale. The main recipient will get $100,000 ($60,000 in cash and $40,000 invested in their business). Five runners-up will be awarded $20,000 apiece. Previous recipients include Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, who had a solo show at the Serpentine Gallery in London in 2015, and Dineo Seshee Bopape, who represented South Africa at the 58th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale in 2019. The center was founded in 2006 by Victor Pinchuk, and is one of the biggest private contemporary art museums in Eastern Europe.

Homepage image: Courtesy of Modsy

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