This year, Editor at Large has taken a look at design firms, publications and organizations that have all celebrated a major anniversary in 2014. As the year comes to a close, here's one last look at 10 showrooms and stores celebrating something big this year: Lenox, Rubelli, Matouk, Scalamandre, Boffi, Aram, Rolf Benz, Maya Romanoff, Roche Bobois U.S. and Maison Gerard.
Lenox tableware by Marchesa
In 1918, President Wilson commissioned an official state service of 1,700 pieces of Lenox china, making the brand the first and only American china to grace the presidential table, according to Sherri Crisenbery, VP of Lenox, who noted this as a favorite moment in the brand’s 125-year history.
Other notable moments include these: In 1972 Lenox was the first brand to offer freezer-oven-table durability; In 1991, the company added flatware to its offerings; in 1995 the china became dishwasher safe; and in 2003, Lenox partnered with Kate Spade to create what is now the No. 1 designer brand for tabletop.
“We hope to continue the tradition of entertaining with families for many years to come,” said Crisenberry. “Whether simple or fussy, casual or formal, everyday or special occasion, Lenox fully anticipates another 125 years of success in the tabletop industry.”
Guests of the 125th anniversary party in Italy
To celebrate “the big 125” Rubelli invited guests of ilk with Lidewij Edelkoort, Paola Navone and Chuck Chewning to its headquarters on the Grand Canal, at the Palazzo Corner Spinelli earlier this year.
According to CEO and President Andrea Rubelli, highlights from the company’s history include creating fabrics for Queen Margherita in 1902; moving the companies headquarters to Palazzo Corner Spinelli in 1966; acquiring Donghia in 2005; and entering into partnership with Giorgio Armani to create the Armani Casa exclusive textile collection by Rubelli.
“No matter what we will do with Rubelli, it will be rooted in our endless tradition—just like our warps—while being very innovative every day, just like our wefts,” said Rubelli. “We will build new weaves (both with our textiles and with our business model) that will stimulate the creativity of our clients in a very Venetian way—just like only Rubelli can do!”
The Matouk family at the 85th anniversary party in NYC
After moving into a new showroom in New York City this summer, Matouk christened the space (and Matouk's new bedding collection) with a Gatsby-themed bash.
“With a 40,000-square-foot expansion going on right now at our factory, we plan on growth and we hope to continue to enrich people's lives with the most beautiful and beloved bed and bath linens available,” said CEO George Matouk.
Favorite moments? Partnering with Lulu DK to launch printed bedding, installing solar panels at its factory to become more energy efficient and creating an e-commerce shopping experience for customers.
“Scalamandre has spent its 85th year expanding its presence through the construction of several new showrooms around the U.S., and the joining of its corporate headquarters, distribution, archives and design studio all in one location,” said Creative Director Susan North. “With 85 years of crafting beautiful textiles and wallcovering behind us, we are eagerly looking forward to being vibrant for a century and beyond.”
North cited working on historic restorations and properties across the country, including the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Treasury building, the Morgan Library, the Wrightsman Galleries at the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Opera House as some of the best moments in the company’s history.
“In the future, we look forward to seeing Scalamandre become a globally recognized brand that honors its wonderful heritage and also delivers the very best in modern decorative design,” said North.
Boffi kitchen design
In the past 80 years, Boffi has seen several staff changes and expansions.
Highlights for CEO Roberto Gavazzi include his own appointment in 1989 and the appointment of Piero Lissoni as art director in 1990. Other high points include the 1998 opening of Boffi Solferino, the first single-brand Boffi store dedicated to bathroom wares; the 2000 opening of Boffi Soho, the first dedicated Boffi store in the U.S.; the 2003 acquisition of Norbert Wangen; and 2010's debut of Solferino, which brought the company into the wardrobe sector.
“Boffi is continuously working toward broadening and intensifying its presence abroad and improving its three sectors: kitchens, baths and wardrobes,” Gavazzi said. “We are also dedicated to staying abreast of design trends, aesthetics and technological advances that will make our products work for modern lives.”
Modern British furniture brand Aram began its 50th year with a special celebration in honor of Founder and Chairman Zeev Aram, who was awarded for his service to the design community. And the parties didn't stop there. In May the company celebrated its anniversary with a retrospective exhibition, hosting nearly one thousand people from Europe's design community.
“Fifty years is a very proud milestone,” said Managing Director Daniel Aram. "Some favorite moments from the company’s history include bringing modern furniture to London and the U.K. where it was not yet popular in the 1960s; producing the work of Eileen Gray in the early '70s; and Aram’s support of young designers like Thomas Heatherwick and Jasper Morrison."
“We believe that we provide the best quality design from the highest quality manufacturers and the best service experience in London,” Aram said. “Our aim is to continue to do this and provide a happy environment for every member of our company. “
Rolf Benz product
Rolf Benz—50 Years
The first step of international growth and acknowledgement for Rolf Benz was the first exhibition at the international furniture show in Cologne in the early 1970s, according to Rolf Benz, CEO Jürgen Mauß.
Mauß also said a proud moment came from the New York's Museum of Modern Art, where Rolf Benz's design classic (and still produced program) 6500 was recognized as a status symbol in the furniture industry. “The latest memorable news has been the installation of thousands of Rolf Benz seats units in the Allianz Arena in Munich,” he said.
As far as what the future holds, Mauß says the company hopes to add sustainability to the company's “balance of design, comfort and quality.” He said, “seeing our products in homes around the globe is a very rewarding feeling for many craftsmen and employees who are working with their whole heart in creating the ‘architecture of comfort.'"
Maya Romanoff wallcovering
Maya Romanoff—45 Years
For Maya Romanoff, the year began on a sad note, with the passing of founder and namesake of the fabric and wall coverings house, Maya Romanoff.
“In his honor we have spent this year in an intensive brand investigation so that we can embrace this significant 45-year anniversary with great energy and momentum,” said Senior VP of Sales and Marketing Laura Romanoff. “January 2015 will mark the launch of our new website, logo and sample material.”
According to Romanoff, Maya's draping of Chicago's Sun-Times building with hundreds of yards of hand-dyed canvas for his public art installation, Bess' Sunrise in 1988 was a highlight of the company’s history. Others include the addition of Maya Romanoff's Weathered Walls to the Cooper-Hewitt’s permanent collection of wallcoverings in 1991 (as of 2014 there are nine Maya Romanoff-manufactured wallcoverings included in the collection); and the opening of its flagship showroom at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart in 2011.
“With Joyce [Maya’s wife] leading the company alongside the next generation of the family, we are moving confidently into the years ahead, without ever losing sight of Maya's perpetual mantra, ‘It's got to be beautiful,’” Romanoff said.
Roche Bobois product
Roche Bobois U.S.—40 Years
The 1967 opening of Roche Bobois’ first store outside of France was a major milestone in the company’s history, according to Marketing Director of Roche Bobois North America Jennifer Barre.
“[The store in Brussels] gave Roche Bobois the opportunity to look at the world differently and focus on international growth,” she said. “The following defining step would be the opening in 1974 of the first American showroom in New York City, at the 200 Madison Avenue location, where our flagship remains today. Roche Bobois has since attracted American clientele through a network of 30 stores in North America—and 250 stores in 45 countries today.”
With celebrations in Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco, the French brand fêted the anniversary in a big way this year, but also looked to the future.
“The international expansion of Roche Bobois is the key for our brand,” said Barre. “Beyond our 40th anniversary in the U.S.A., we are reasserting our ambitions by opening new showrooms around the country and continuing to promote our philosophy of l’art de vivre by Roche Bobois.”
Maison Gerard accessories
Maison Gerard—40 Years
When talking to founder and co-owner of Maison Gerard Geradus Widdershoven about exciting moments in the company's history, he first, of course, mentions “having John Lennon and Yoko Ono as early clients,” an experience he called “quite interesting!”
To celebrate the anniversary, Maison Gerard put its best pieces on display, from French Art Deco to to contemporary styles.
“In the next 40 years, we hope to have the opportunity to continue presenting great Art Deco and 20th-century pieces to our clients, as well as to develop our contemporary inventory through special commissions and collaborations with the exciting range of artists, designers, and architects with whom we currently work,” said Widdershoven.
Stay tuned for next week's Part II, a look at nine more companies with reason to celebrate this year.
Have an anniversary coming up in 2015? Drop us a line and let us know!
Related Stories: Schumacher celebrates 125 years of firsts, fabrics and flair, Happy anniversary to these five design entities, Five design publications celebrate anniversaries, Happy anniversary to these eight design companies,