By Andrea Lillo
HIGH POINT, N.C.–Sticks and stones may break one’s bones, but they also make for good decorative accessories, as nature remains one of the major themes at this High Point Market.
Whether using actual elements of nature, such as reclaimed wood, natural shapes or earth tone coloring, this category continues to do well for both manufacturers and retailers.
Product introductions will also focus on mixed metals and large statement pieces.
At the Phillips Collection, for example, oversized categories do well for the company. In its collection with Mexican designer Yuri Zatarain, for example, colossal shells “make a statement,” said Jason Phillips, creative director. Large pieces are “not something for everyone, but it makes everyone go ‘wow.’ We go for tasteful shock value.”
Phillips also said “hand-touched contemporary” was another big theme, where the piece looks like some aspect of it has been hand-touched, rather than machine-made, somewhere along the manufacturing process. Some of the pieces have imperfections, he said, “but that’s good. It’s not all perfect and polished.”
In wall art, having repetitive pieces has been popular, Phillips added. “It lets people decide how many they want” of a piece. But usually the customer will buy exactly what is displayed in a store, so if a display shows 16 tiles together, that’s what the customer will buy, even though it’s sold in sets of four, he said.
With eco-friendly the word of the moment now, Phillips said blue is the color for 2009, in the many shades of sky, earth and more. It also ties into green. For metals, copper and gold are huge, more so than silver, he said.
At Artdreams Home, “it’s not about one particular color, but about color,” said Kathleen Koszyk, co-founder and designer. And despite the “gloomy” economy, affecting all sectors of the market, she said she’s been surprised that the colors are anything but gloomy. Having been through so many business cycles, Koszyk said downturns usually bring colors that “bring one down,” but this time it’s different.
“There’s so many beautiful, great colors coming out of fashion now. … It’s cathartic to work with these colors. … They’re comfort food for design,” Koszyk said.
Artdreams’ introductions include pairing unusual materials, such as black woven leather or green chagrine with console tables or on geometric table bases. Other introductions include Koszyk’s new sets of boxes wrapped in black and chagrine leather and snake skin.
“We’re using things that are impactful,” she said. The company’s accent furniture line, now in its second season, has received a great response, she added. “I’m not trying to do furniture,” she said, just accent pieces that look like “gems.”
Accent furniture will also be on the menu at Uttermost, which unveils its first collection in this category this market. In development for almost a year, the initial line consists of 50 items, including stacking tables, tall chests and upholstered chairs.
For Austin, introductions focus on the company’s strengths, which are sculptural figurines. “We’ve always been somewhat of a destination for sculpture,” said Andy Cymrot, senior vice president of sales and marketing. New products will include a variety of materials and subject matters that fit into the transitional range. Glass is another area that continues to do well for Austin, as are fabrications of natural and recycled materials.
“For this market, we’re focusing on what our strengths are, rather than dabble in something new,” he added. “In times like these that are challenging, it behooves us to create new looks in the categories that customers are comfortable with,” Cymrot said.
The same holds true for Nova, now a full-line accessories company.
Focusing on its core style of soft, casual and contemporary, Nova has expanded from lighting into new product categories over the past few years, including pedestals, mirrors, room dividers, wall art and more, said Daniel Edelist, president. At this market, the trend is that “we’re seeing a lot more metals,” Edelist said, with more brushed aluminum and cold-rolled steel in contemporary design, and warm, bronzy, flame-treated copper in the transitional market.