Top stories from the BOH news desk.
Word on the Street: Showroom-mates
As trade showrooms look for new ways to entice interior designers, several are opting for collaboration over competition. “It’s all about the idea that brands can do it better together than alone,” says Ryan Hughes, founder of R Hughes, which unveiled a shared showroom with Holland & Sherry at the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center in 2015 and plans to install a Liaigre gallery in January. “You surround yourself with people who are forward-thinking, combine teams and have bigger goals than you could on your own.” The collaborations work, Hughes says, because their product offerings complement, rather than compete with, one another’s, so their teams can use the showroom to cross-sell. It’s a rationale that also holds true for Thibaut, Arte, and Egg & Dart, which debuted a collective showroom at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles in September. And the joint efforts show no signs of slowing. At the New York Design Center, wallpaper brand Fromental and lighting company Hector Finch joined forces with Joe Lucas to open multiline showroom Harbinger in December, and Brad Ford’s modern design resource Fair pairs with textile design house and rug maker Merida in January. And in New York’s D&D Building, Oomph will share Quadrille’s existing showroom space starting in December. “At the end of the day, I’m hoping the real benefit will come to architects and designers who can come to one showroom and source a majority of their projects, from furnishings and lighting to rugs,” says Ford. “I’m a big fan of a one-stop shop.”
Sandow's sampling platform builds momentum in beta
Though the state-of-the-art sample library Material Bank officially launches in January, the platform has been quietly operating in beta with more than 130 brands and over 200 firms. Developed by Sandow Media founder Adam Sandow, the sample library is one part digital platform, built to save designers time when searching and sampling materials, and one part robot-powered logistics and distribution facility promising next-day delivery.
DFA sets deadline to publish list pricing
During the keynote address at the Decorative Furnishings Association’s annual meeting in November, president Eric Chang asserted the board’s view that in order for the home furnishings industry to become “digitally ready,” it must take the first step of publishing manufacturer-suggested list pricing. Citing strength in numbers as a key to the initiative’s success, DFA members were encouraged to post prices by January 2020.
Shelter publications experience major masthead shake-ups
Following the exit of 15 employees from the Hearst Design Group’s editorial team, House Beautiful’s new editorial director Joanna Saltz, who spearheaded last summer’s HouseBeautiful.com redesign, will now oversee the brand’s print and digital content. “I would like House Beautiful to be a place where you feel like you can take action to make your dream home a reality,” says Saltz. “We’re moving beyond this passive experience where you’re just looking and fantasizing.” Hearst also announced it would be moving Veranda’s editorial operations to Birmingham, Alabama, where Steele Marcoux, previously the style director of Country Living, takes over as editor in chief. “Our goal is to provide readers an escape into our pages and celebrate the very best in gracious living,” says Marcoux, who replaces Clinton Smith, who left the title in the fall after serving five years at its helm.
Condé Nast restructured its sales side, as well, naming Eric Gillin chief business officer for the Lifestyle Division, which includes Architectural Digest. And textile and wallpaper house Schumacher scoops up two former editors: Tori Mellott, who left Traditional Home after seven years to become the brand’s style director; and HGTV, Trad Home and Lonny alum Kari Costas, the brand’s new marketing manager.
Jonathan Adler, One Kings Lane launch on-demand furniture collections
Jonathan Adler brings his whimsical perspective to Amazon for the company’s first exclusive designer home collection, Now House by Jonathan Adler (left), which launched in October and features the e-giant’s signature low prices and quick-ship capabilities. Similar guarantees can be found in Palette, the new customizable furniture platform from One Kings Lane and furniture manufacturer Cloth & Company.
Industry, still focused on developing business in China, breathes a sigh of relief as tariffs are put on hold
Recently imposed tariff policies, which have forced a 10 percent duty on raw materials and finished goods imported from China, are taking a toll on the home furnishings industry. China has retaliated with counter tariffs—and the potential for even higher tariffs, though currently on hold, has caused many home furnishings companies to reconsider their price lists and supply chains. The uncertainty has also stalled brands’ plans to expand in China. While the 10.7-million-square-foot International Art Design Center celebrated its grand opening in Shenzhen, China, in November, the showroom openings of many of its American brands were on hold at press time due to uncertainty about tariffs. “The U.S. brands are excited to enter the new market when favorable trade conditions exist for selling luxury American products,” says designer Campion Platt, who curated a 15,000-square-foot showroom on the American floor.