news digest | Jun 25, 2024 |
Supply chain delays are back, ASID expands membership criteria and more

This week in design, symptoms like consistent piles of clutter are a sure sign of a condition called “junk blindness”—but a few design and organizational fixes should clear things up quickly. Stay in the know with our weekly roundup of headlines, launches, events, recommended reading and more.

Business News

Global shipping prices are rising to heights not seen since the early days of the pandemic, mainly due to escalating attacks on vessels in the Red Sea from Houthi rebels in Yemen, The New York Times reports. As a result, container traffic through the Suez Canal has dropped to one-tenth of its usual flow, since ships are forced to take lengthier—and costlier—alternate routes. At other major ports, disruptions like the looming threat of dockworker strikes on the East Coast and Gulf Coast of the U.S. are further driving up prices: The cost of transporting a 40-foot container from Shanghai to New York has increased from roughly $2,000 in December to nearly $8,000. As Furniture Today reports, the home industry is already responding: Furniture giant Ashley announced this week that the supply chain disruptions have prompted the company to implement a 1 percent surcharge on domestic case goods and bedding and a 3 percent surcharge on other products. Flexsteel Industries has also implemented hikes, and other home players are expected to soon follow suit.

U.S. home prices hit a record high in May, as the median existing-home cost reached $419,300—a 5.8 percent jump from the same time last year, and a marked increase over the February 2020 median price of $270,400. As The Wall Street Journal reports, the culprit is an undersupply of homes on the market due to sustained high interest rates. Homebuying activity remains stunted across the board: Existing-home sales fell 2.8 percent last month from the same period last year, and sales of previously owned homes decreased 0.7 percent from the month prior, marking the third straight monthly decline.

Housing policy is typically a local issue for voters, but new studies reveal that it could play an outsize role in the upcoming election. As NPR reports, a Gallup survey last month found that housing was second only to inflation on the list of Americans’ financial worries, while in a Harvard poll from this spring, 18-to-29-year-olds said housing was their third most important issue, behind inflation and health care. Though high interest rates are keeping many from achieving homeownership, a nationwide housing shortage is also contributing to voters’ new focus on the issue.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled a dresser sold exclusively at Rooms To Go, citing tip-over and entrapment risks to children, Home News Now reports. The issue involves 400 units of the Cedona View Natural six-drawer dressers, which the CPSC found in violation of the STURDY (Stop Tip-overs of Unstable Risky Dressers on Youth) Act standards—marking the second such recall in two months of a dresser sold exclusively at Rooms To Go. Customers are advised to stop using the item immediately and to contact the retailer for a free replacement.

Italian lighting brand Panzeri has announced the acquisition of California-based acoustic lighting designer and manufacturer Luxxbox. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. For Luxxbox, founded in 2006, the new ownership structure will allow the brand to make inroads into Europe—a market Panzeri has navigated since its 1947 founding. Meanwhile, the Italian heritage brand will use the partnership to expand its U.S. presence.

Saddle Brook, New Jersey–based rug producer Nourison Home has acquired Cartersville, Georgia–based carpet manufacturer J Mish Mills, which specializes in wool floorcoverings, Furniture Today reports. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. For Nourison, the move provides an opportunity to expand its manufacturing base in the U.S., further benefiting from J Mish’s machine tufting capabilities. Following the purchase, the latter will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of the former, maintaining its existing sales force and branding.

Launches & Collaborations

Women’s fashion brand M.M.LaFleur has partnered with Wayfair-owned luxury design platform Perigold for a collaboration that will see each company promoting the other’s products. M.M.LaFleur’s seven brick-and-mortar locations are selling rugs, art, upholstery and decor from the e-commerce platform, which in turn is highlighting three curated space designs by the fashion retailer alongside outfits inspired by the interior styles.

Supply chain delays are back, ASID expands membership criteria and more
"Saddle Junction 12" by artist Chase Langford is now available on Samsung's Frame TV as part of a collection curated by Emily HendersonCourtesy of Samsung

Designer and home influencer Emily Henderson teamed up with the Samsung Art Store to offer a curated selection of artworks now available on the brand’s Frame TV. Henderson set out to highlight a diverse array of artists and styles, with pieces like painter John Constable’s 1822 Cloud Study and Sherry Xiaohong Chen’s 2020 Prayers bridging the centuries to tell a unified color story with common motifs.

The American Society of Interior Designers debuted an expanded membership structure with the addition of four new categories: affiliate member, affiliate partner, firm partner and higher education partner. The goal is to allow professionals and businesses in industries related to interior design to gain access to ASID membership.

Recommended Reading

Shows like Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles and Selling Sunset promise viewers a front-row seat to a world where luxury homes change hands on a regular basis. But what happens when activity in even the highest end of the housing market grinds to a halt? For The Wall Street Journal, Ellen Gamerman explores how a dropoff in deals (caused by high interest rates, a decline in high-end home inventory, L.A.’s mansion tax and more) has led to a reality check for a genre that usually offers up pure real estate fantasy.

There’s a fine line between clutter and open storage—but done right, the latter can look like a personalized piece of art. For The New York Times, Tim McKeough consults designers on how to use the organizational method to display personality without distracting from a room’s overall design.

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