From significant business changes to noteworthy product launches, there’s always something new happening in the world of design. In this weekly roundup, AD PRO has everything you need to know.
A Big Week for Big Retailers
It was a busy news week for major home furnishings retailers. After reporting last week that Neela Montgomery would step down as CEO, Crate and Barrel announced that Janet Hayes would assume the role on August 1. The president of Williams-Sonoma from 2013 to 2019, Hayes was also formerly the president of Pottery Barn Kids and Pottery Barn Teen.
Elsewhere, Sur La Table filed for bankruptcy. The Seattle-based purveyor of kitchen goods disclosed its plans to close 56 of its 112 stores; 20% of its corporate staff was also cut.
West Elm made waves when it announced that it would take the 15 Percent Pledge, which means that partnerships with Black designers and business owners will comprise a minimum of 15% of all such collaborations. The retailer also made a commitment to ensuring that Black employees make up 15% of its corporate workforce.
Meanwhile, a development emerged in the bankruptcy of Pier 1, which has been shuttering stores and winding down operations. A new buyer, Retail Ecommerce Ventures, has emerged with an offer to purchase both the intellectual property of Pier 1 and its e-commerce business. Though the deal has not yet been finalized, it means that Pier 1 is likely to live on digitally—at least in name.
And finally, another struggling retailer announced updates in response to the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus. In a call about its first-quarter results this week, Bed Bath & Beyond said that sales had fallen nearly 50% in its latest quarter. As a result, the company said it planned to close some 200 stores in the next two years, and make other adjustments in an attempt to turn around the business.
LV Meets AR
Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomades collection, a chic array of furniture and design objects that’s regularly updated and toasted at glamorous international events, is adapting to the times. The brand has launched a new augmented reality experience, which users can find on the LV app or website, or via QR code. With it, interested shoppers can visualize luxurious pieces by the Campana Brothers, Marcel Wanders, and Raw-Edges in their own homes.
Digital Decorating Service Modsy Launches App
The online decorating service debuted its first mobile app for iOS, which will not require app users to break out their tape measures. Users scan their rooms with their iPhone cameras, and the app converts photos into 3D models with accurate dimensions. The new app includes functions such as a swipe-through style quiz, shopping portal, and 3D-viewable renderings.
Studio 397 Celebrates Three Years of Business
Congratulations, Studio 397! Today marks three years of business for the architecture firm, which was founded by Samantha Josaphat in 2017. Josaphat selected the company’s name as a reference to the fact that she is the 397th Black female architect to become licensed in the United States. Over the years, her projects have ranged from a Lenox Hill meditation studio to a Hudson Yards condo renovation. And just this past May, the firm was awarded the interior design and creative direction contract for Flatbush Caton Market. Located in Brooklyn, the facility has been providing Caribbean street vendors with indoor space for the past 20 years. Soon, Josaphat will help make the structure a more permanent fixture while expanding its overall footprint. Another indication, it seems, of the talented architect’s bright future.
From Marni to Hunter Douglas, Brands Debut New Designs
Kara Mann is officially out with a new offering of furniture designs, thanks to a collaboration with McGuire Collection. Elsewhere, Bisazza launched a new mosaic collection that brings the works of Fornasetti to large, mural-scale life. On a similar note, Marni released a furniture capsule thanks to Farfetch. Finally, Hunter Douglas’s new Pirouette ClearView and Designer Roller Duolite Shades caught sun-weary eyes, as did their just-released Greenscreen Sea-Tex fabric. An entire room in the making, perhaps, when all four releases are taken together.
Kelly Wearstler Unveils Giphy and Digital Wallpaper Lines
The AD100 designer has launched a giphy and mobile wallpaper collection inspired by her fifth coffee-table tome, Evocative Style. The digital goods are available for download via Wearstler’s Instagram, @shopkwearstler, and can be used on Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and iMessage.
Kit Kemp Tries Her Stylish Hand at the Auction Circuit
On July 15, Christie’s London is set to unveil “The Collector: European and English 18th and 19th Century Furniture and Works of Art, Silver, Ceramics, and Gold Boxes.” Designer Kit Kemp is serving as the “tastemaker” for this sale, which is part of a wider series from the auction house. Paul Gallois, head of sale, says to AD PRO: “The 253 lots in the sale feature some of the greatest designers and makers of their time including Jacques Dubois, François Rémond, Gioacchino Barberi, François Linke, Christofle, and Marsh & Tatham—among others. The longevity of these works of art go to demonstrate that the skills and craftsmanship of that age are now the ultimate symbol of sustainability and elegance, retaining their usefulness and being an integral, yet elegant, part of a modern-day interior in 2020.”
Speaking to AD PRO of one of the evocative collages she created with such works, Kemp notes, “This pair of elegant console tables truly enhances the interior of this SoHo loft suite in New York. The warm tones of the decor combined with the contemporary textiles are lifted by the distinction of the antique marquetry consoles, adding grace and depth to the room.”