By Katy B. Olson
Unadulterated sex appeal from newcomer Dupuis Design Collective and French superstar Jean-Louis Deniot’s masculine-meets-feminine collection with Baker marched forth at High Point Market, which some feared would be impacted by HB2, North Carolina’s recent discriminatory legislation. (Attendance numbers and the legislation’s full impact on the market, which is the state’s largest moneymaker and brings in over $5 billion yearly, will not be known for another two weeks, according to the High Point Market Authority.) Despite threatened boycotts, certain cancelations, and some protests, attendees—many of whom sported buttons denouncing the law—were treated to a selection of new product launches. EAL catches up with designers, editors and bloggers for their take on this season’s introductions.
Chad James and Malene Barnett
Orli Ben-Dor, market editor of House Beautiful, noticed that market seemed lighter on introductions, but named a few of her choice picks from an array that still provided “plenty of newness: Julian Chichester’s showroom as a whole got a bright, pattern-happy makeover. It’s always filled with color, but this market they seemed to really ‘do it up’ with just about every shade of blue as well as show off interesting new finishes like this pressed shagreen metal, a finish they’ve been trying to nail for a few years.”
Ben-Dor also singled out Highland House, which “made a splash this market with almost all new product, including a small collection from Charlotte-based decorator Barrie Benson. One of the highlights was this linen-wrapped table program with generous-scaled brass sabots, and available in cocktail, side, console sizes and any color...that’s any color. We saw a lot of linen-wrapped furniture this market, but I particularly liked this version, as it kept the authentic variations of the natural material.”
Designer Mary Douglas Drysdale was torn between Baker’s collection with Deniot and Theodore Alexander’s with Michael Berman. “Deniot’s pedestal table, which almost appears to be made from folded paper, and supports an impressive round top—it really struck me as a new presentation, and one that expressed both a playful quality and a flirtatious elegance. I found it a showstopper, and would love to imagine walking toward it from a distance. It would be interesting to see what sorts of form go well on this table, and to see if the base ultimately restricts the activity above and on the table.”
“Michael Berman’s love of construction is evident in his furniture,” says Drysdale. “In one of his console pieces, he transitions the design on the cabinet door, from raised and applied linear gestures to a flat surface, via a curved line. That is a pretty bold move, and he manages to support this strong idea with clear framing and interesting detailing.”
High Point Style Spotter Malene Barnett was scouring for finds throughout market, naming the Lacey Lounger by organic furniture brand Jo-Liza as a favorite: “It’s organically stylish, sustainable, and the pattern is to die for, a great way to bring the outdoors inside. It’s handcrafted in jute on a metal base by artisans in the Philippines.” Another find? “The Andes credenza, which is made of white and black ebony and pieced into a patchwork design. Doesn’t this pattern remind you of kente cloth? I spotted this piece at John-Richard and experienced joy.”
OOf her final pick, Barnett asks, “What makes Bernhardt Furniture special? It has to be their mix of timeless design and classic materials. I had an ‘OMG’ moment when I saw their Barcelona armoire. It’s handcrafted in silver from Germany, which is hammered over carved wood by artisans in Mexico.”
Nashville-based designer Chad James shares, “As I was walking through market, I spotted this beautiful console table by Robert James. I was immediately drawn to the finish. It speaks to a time when the most important thing, to me, was climbing trees. There’s something about open-grain wood finishes that steal my heart.” Currey & Company also caught his attention: “Currey & Company have totally out done themselves! What a surprise to not only find beautiful lighting but to also see, for the first time, their amazing collection of Faux Bois garden furniture. This drew me in because of its scale and size.”
Concurring with Ben-Dor, Stylebeat blogger Marisa Marcantonio says, “The Barrie Benson for Highland House was one of the best introductions this market. Her vintage-inspired collection had great upholstered pieces done in cool color combinations that were just the right scale. Proportion is so important, and she really got that right with this collection of unique pieces that are perfect for city apartments.” Other Marcantonio favorites include Palecek’s round mirror, made from pieces of shell (“The flowering arms of the sunburst shape gave it a lovely feminine yet graphic quality. I would love to see it against a brightly colored wall”); a scalloped ottoman by John Robshaw for Duralee; and Kate Spade New York’s Palm Beach-influenced bamboo-backed chair.
“High Point always has such a great energy when our market guests are in town,” shares HPMA communications manager Ashley Grigg. “We enjoyed seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones, as always. We’re already looking forward to October.”
Check back for more coverage of the economic impact of HB2 on this season’s High Point Market as details unfold.