Schumacher last week announced the debut of its new Contract Collection, which draws on its prints, solids and textures, all created to commercial-grade standards. The fabric house’s new president, Benjamin Frowein, takes EAL behind the scenes of the development process.
How did the new commercial collection come about? Was it in response to demand from designers?
After just two short months of its launch, our commercial collection has already been hugely successful. The requirements for commercial products are fundamentally different from those of residential ones. Hotels, restaurants, retail stores and corporate offices need to meet very strict fire codes, durability needs and tight budgets. This means that most fabrics and wallcoverings need to be made using synthetic fibers, and yet most designers and architects want them to still have the look and feel of residential products.
With our new commercial collection, Schumacher is addressing exactly these requirements and providing fresh and inspiring additions to our current product line. With more than 125 years of experience outfitting the likes of Bonwit Teller, the Capitol, Radio City Music Hall and The Metropolitan Opera House, we’ve got the experience and know-how to take on commercial projects. And, that’s exactly why some of the most luxurious international fashion labels are working with us today.
How did you choose which designs to include?
We wanted to have a perfect balance between the beautiful and iconic Schumacher patterns that everyone loves and the basics that every project has to have. It’s a great advantage to have commercial products that don’t feel “commercial,” while meeting all the necessary requirements of non-residential product. Our whole team was involved in getting it off the ground—from our sales representatives to our design studio to our marketing group. We are all very proud of the result, and I particularly want to thank Linda Marcus—our contract sales manager on the East Coast—for her tremendous and endless support.
What has response been like so far?
I can’t tell you how surprised and delighted we were with the overwhelmingly positive responses from across the country! Designers and architects love the quality, the designs and the very short delivery time. The collection really differentiates itself from the sea of sameness that’s on the market, and our clients are thrilled to have the new collection as part of their design arsenal. I really encourage everybody to check it out online, in one of our showrooms or through our sales representatives. Practicality never looked so good!