news digest | Jun 18, 2024 |
Home renovators try AI, Parachute collabs with Tyler the Creator and more

This week in design, one latest luxury condo adds an amenity that aims to unlock the secret to inner peace by burying crystals in the building’s foundation. Stay in the know with our weekly roundup of headlines, launches, events, recommended reading and more.

Business News
Tupperware is permanently shutting down its manufacturing plant in South Carolina—the company’s only production facility in the U.S.—and laying off 148 workers in the process, Modern Retail reports. According to a WARN notice filed June 11, the job cuts are scheduled for January 14, 2025. A company spokesperson told Modern Retail that the reduction aligned with Tupperware’s strategy to simplify its supply chain by transitioning the South Carolina facility’s operations to a plant in Lerma, Mexico, while investing in new distribution services through a facility located in the Midwest. Despite a brief sales boom during the pandemic, the company has experienced a difficult few years, stating last April that it had “substantial doubt” about its ability to remain in business before eventually reaching a forbearance agreement with its lenders.

Ashley HomeStore licensee Dufresne Spencer Group, which operates 166 of the brand’s retail stores, is facing a class-action lawsuit alleging that a recent data breach compromised an undetermined number of customers. As Home News Now reports, the suit was filed by customer Rosalyn Parker, who claims that an unauthorized party acquired data such as customer names, dates of birth, driver’s license numbers and banking account and routing numbers during a breach that occurred between May 15, 2023, and June 5, 2023—which DSG did not became aware of until January 15, 2024. The suit alleges the company did not begin notifying customers of the breach until several months later, around May 7, when it began sending out notices to customers along with one-year memberships to credit monitoring and identity-theft-protection services through Equifax. Parker is now seeking a jury trial on the matter, as well as an undetermined amount of monetary relief.

Italian furniture brand Poltrona Frau, part of the Haworth Lifestyle Group, has acquired KJ Ryan, a U.K.–based company that specializes in developing and manufacturing high-end interior components for luxury cars. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Following the purchase, KJ Ryan and its 150-person specialized workforce will join Poltrona Frau’s Interiors in Motion business unit, which currently provides leather upholstery for high-end automakers like Ferrari.

High-profile luxury real estate broker Oren Alexander has relinquished his minority stake in his firm and deactivated his real estate license in the wake of sexual assault accusations, The New York Times reports. According to the filing, the incident allegedly occurred more than a decade ago, but its revelation has reportedly triggered an influx of assault accusations from other women leveled at Alexander and his two brothers. Over the years, Alexander has become a fixture in the luxury real estate world, alongside his brother, Tal Alexander, with whom he co-founded Official, a brokerage that serves ultra-wealthy clientele in New York and Miami.

Grace Management Group—the owner of home fragrance brands Votivo, Bridgewater Candle Company, Greenleaf Gifts, Fresh Scents and Notes—has acquired home accent product designer and distributor Audrey’s, Home Accents Today reports. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Audrey’s will continue operating as a stand-alone business following the acquisition, maintaining operations in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, along with a sales team and showroom at AmericasMart Atlanta. The company’s current vice president of sales, Don Barton, will remain in his current role, with Grace Management Group’s Robert Caldwell III stepping in as director of creative development for the brand. Founders Audrey and Ken Mull will remain involved in the business as well, with Audrey continuing in a product design role and Ken Mull serving as a strategic business advisor and in the company’s Atlanta showroom.

The Aaron’s Company—which offers lease-to-own and other retail financing options for furniture, home goods and appliances—has entered into an agreement to be acquired by fintech company IQVentures in a deal with a $504 enterprise value, or $10.10 per share in cash. The business will continue to operate under its current brand names, and will maintain its headquarters in Atlanta. As Furniture Today reports, the transaction is expected to close by the end of this year, after which The Aaron’s Company will become privately held and will no longer be listed on the NYSE—a move that reflects a larger industry trend away from public corporate structuring and toward privatization.

Home renovators try AI, Parachute collabs with Tyler the Creator and more
ChappyWrap and Chasing Paper launched their first-ever collaboration on a blanket collection pictured hereAnna Spaller

Launches and Collaborations
Wallpaper and home decor brand Chasing Paper teamed up with blanket maker ChappyWrap for a new collaboration. The resulting blanket collection features six unique designs, with prints chosen from Chasing Paper’s Heritage Collection, in honor of its 10-year anniversary as a company.

Musician and designer Tyler the Creator’s lifestyle brand Le Fleur partnered with Parachute for a limited-edition collection of bedding and accessories. The collaboration takes a hint from Tyler the Creator’s own aesthetic—whimsical, playful and unpredictable—for an assortment of linens, pillows, throws and apparel available in leopard print and fuzzy fabrics.

Montana Furniture tapped Danish fashion brand Mads Nørgaard for a collaboration that celebrates the heart of Scandinavian design, prizing qualities like function, timelessness and a playful embrace of color. The resulting assortment applies Mads Nørgaard’s striped textiles and rich tones to Montana’s Kevi office chair and shelving system, available in Ruby and Balsamic colorways.

Recommended Reading
Since AI design apps hit the market more than two years ago, they’ve largely remained a tool for inspiration and often wacky design generation. But now, the first intrepid homeowners are using the emerging tech in their real-world home projects. For The Wall Street Journal, Nancy Keates spotlights a few recent case studies in using AI to guide home renovation projects, from construction and floor plan creation all the way to interior design visualization.

From leather reclining sectionals and faux plants to clients who embark on DIY projects in the middle of the design process—getting the “ick” is not just for early-stage romantic relationships. For House Beautiful, Kelly Allen consults nine industry insiders on their biggest design turnoffs.

Cue the Applause
Lulu Lytle—founder and creative director of Soane Britain—has been awarded an OBE in the King’s Birthday Honours List, recognizing her services to British manufacturing and craftsmanship. For more than 27 years, Lytle has worked to produce well-designed furniture, lighting, textiles and wallpapers entirely in the U.K., employing more than 100 people and partnering with 41 independent British workshops in the process.

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