Merchandise Mart announces changes to Casual Market
Michael J. Knell -- Casual Living, April 9, 2012
Today The Merchandise Mart, the world's largest commercial building and one of the epicenters of design, announced that in the coming months they will begin a reconfiguration of the Mart's casual outdoor furnishing floors, offering designers and buyers a seamless experience while shopping showroom offerings.
Currently shoppers must visit casual/outdoor furnishing tenants, many of whom are intermixed with different industries, on floors 15, 16 and 17 in The Mart. By consolidating these showrooms to floors 15 and 16, a casual furnishings destination will be created, helping to re-energize this already vibrant industry.
"The co-location of the casual/outdoor furnishing showrooms to one area of the building has been requested by many buyers, tenants and the International Casual Furnishings Association over the years," said John Brennen, executive vice president of MMPI. "This relocation will allow MMPI to renovate the floor and tenants to upgrade their presentations. We are happy to realize this goal and provide a cohesive destination in the Mart for buyers and designers to source the best in outdoor/casual furnishings and accessories on a day-to-day basis, and during our September International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market."
MMPI has been a steward of consistent growth for the casual industry and this move will increase the existing 250, 000 square feet of space by 10%.
Visitors to the new casual floors can expect to see re-designed, contemporary floors and exciting showroom build-outs from the industry's top manufacturers. Together, these best-in-class showrooms represent some 75 product lines.
The Merchandise Mart is securing design visionary Gary Lee to bring his award-winning creativity to the design of the corridors of the 15th floor. An existing stairwell connecting the 15th and 16th floors will be complemented by a dedicated stairwell connecting the 14th and 15th floors, improving flow between the casual and residential showrooms.
The Merchandise Mart's Residential Design Center, the ultimate destination for custom home furnishings and interior design, currently encompasses portions of five separatefloors in The Mart. Residential Design Center tenants will soon be more convenientlyand beautifully showcased on two full floors of The Mart, floors six and 14, in addition to LuxeHome's exquisite kitchen and bath boutiques which will remain on Mart's first
floor. The realignment will bring a more concentrated, easily navigable experience for customers who are searching for the very best in luxury home furnishings and décor. The Design Center will continue to host the world's leading showrooms, representing 3,000 brand lines, including HOLLY HUNT, Baker, Dessin Fournir, David Sutherland,
Henredon, JANUS et Cie, Stark, and Century, among many others.
While the casual furnishings tenants will enjoy these two dedicated floors, they will remain a part of the Design Center at The Merchandise Mart and benefit from trade and consumer business. The changes will not affect the July ICFA Preview Show, or the September market.
It is estimated that the restructuring and construction of the casual/outdoor furnishing floors will be completed by end of 2012 and the new floors officially unveiled at the 2013 premarket.