Casual industry to honor Frinier, Thompson with Lifetime Achievement Awards
Staff Staff -- Casual Living, June 3, 2009
Richard Frinier, renowned product designer since 1977, and Art Thompson, retired president of Laneventure, will be honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards at the casual furnishings industry’s 50th annual awards gala Sept. 23 in Chicago.
Presented by the International Casual Furnishings Association, the prestigious award is reserved for individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the casual furnishings industry and to their communities.
Frinier is a former chief creative officer of Brown Jordan, where he designed sophisticated outdoor furnishings that elevated the outdoor room concept. Starting as a designer at Brown Jordan in 1981, he took on increasingly expansive roles that eventually included new business development and the creation of DesignResource, a creative entity that provided design, marketing, advertising, promotions and public relations services to all of the brands under the Brown Jordan International umbrella.
Since 2002, Frinier’s own design consultancy has served an international clientele with licensed and co-branded collections, including indoor and outdoor furniture, textiles, lighting and accessories. His collaborations with Brown Jordan, Dedon Worldwide, Century Furniture, Glen Raven/Sunbrella, Currey & Company and others have produced dozens of award-winning designs. In fact, he has received more than 70 awards, including those presented by ICFA, the American Society of Interior Designers, Industrial Designers Society of America, the American Society of Furniture Designers, the International Interior Design Association and Interior Design, House & Garden, HOME, and Metropolitan Home magazines.
In 2006, The Robb Report recognized Frinier for his Daydream design for Dedon, calling it one of the best designs at large over the past 30 years. The Pacific Design Center also named him one of the center’s “Stars of Design” that year. In 2008, his soft-modern Spa collection for Dedon won international accolades with a Hospitality Design Expo/IIDA Design Excellence Award, as well as a coveted red dot Design Award. The red dot competition acknowledges good design from around the world and is judged by a panel of international design experts. Winners are exhibited in the red dot design museum in Germany, touted as the world’s largest collection of contemporary design.
Frinier enjoys traveling the world to identify new and existing materials that can be used in innovative ways. As a student and teacher of design, he supports American design organizations through scholarship programs. He also supports forward-thinking health care organizations, including the City of Hope.
Art Thompson began his lifelong career in the furniture industry in 1965 when he joined JCPenney in New York as a buyer trainee. He soon left to serve a year and a half in the U.S. Army, but returned in the spring of 1968 as assistant buyer for dinettes and outdoor furniture.
In 1976 Thompson left JCPenney with two other executives to form a new company, Camath Inc., and served as vice president of sales for this producer of outdoor and casual furniture manufactured in Asia and distributed from warehouses in San Francisco and New York.
Thompson joined the Lane Company as national account sales executive in 1978 and was named vice president in charge of sales in 1985. Two years later he transferred to Hickory, N.C., as president of Hickory Tavern and HTB, both divisions of Lane. He added the responsibility of president of Venture Furniture in 1989.
In 1991, Thompson combined all three companies as Laneventure, which he served as president until his retirement in 2008.