Monday, May 7, 2012

What's the Word?

IFDA•NY Member Rose Gilbert Reports from High Point Market Spring 2012

For a small town, High Point, N.C., wields huge influence on how the world lives and decorates. Twice a year, some 87, 000 members of the furnishings and design industry descend on the furnishings mecca to see what’s coming up in the global marketplace. This spring’s market, which took place two weeks ago, was no different.

The word from this market? Color! Bright, extroverted color that sent a frisson through Market attendees because it portends optimism. Clearly, we’ve had it up to here with gloom and doom, war’s despair, and Wall Street’s Otherness. Happy days (may soon be) here again. Who wouldn’t be happy after all, living with a bright yellow leather ottoman or turquoise console table from Oomph, or that jade green cabinet in the revived Chin Hau collection by the usually-more-staid Century Furniture.

Color-chic at Market Week on C.R. Laine's tufted Emma chairs
(Photo courtesy of C.R. Laine Furniture)

C.R. Laine was lively too, with yellow and brilliant corals and oranges, inspired by “Tangerine Tango,” Pantone’s 2012 Color of the Year. The Phillips Collection dazzled with its strappy “Seatbelt Chair” in pink, red, green, orange, and purple. Highland House trotted out varying shades of purple and violet (the ancient Chinese symbol for harmony in the universe), and Lee Furniture debuted an orchid-color sofa with smart flange upholstery.

However, the “Most Colorful Award” must go to a company that makes no furniture: Swarovski crystals sparkled all over decorative pillows and on the likes of Drexel Heritage’s Hatcher end table and Lillian August’s Celia Chair for Sherrill Furniture.

Among the least colorful offerings at the Market: Martha Stewart Fine Furniture. No sign of the famed “Martha touch.” The collection was déjà vu, carelessly made (mis-matched hardware, for example), and listlessly traditional.

What made news? Certainly not the fact that celebrity sells. First, HGTV debuted a collection of four collections designed by Jena Hall, each geared to a different lifestyle demographic within the 99 million US households who watch its shows every month.

There was lots of imported glitter too: From Hollywood… Brook Shields is still hawking La-Z-Boy. From Nashville… Priscilla Presley introduced a furniture collection with H Studio. And even from one of the best-loved icons of the 1980s… The Rubik’s Cube was repurposed as a 14-in.-sq. accent table, lit from within to cast multicolored glow over the room.

- Rose Gilbert

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