Dale Campbell combines natural & antique elements
Cinde Ingram -- Casual Living, August 1, 2007
Dale Campbell's eye for style and design dates back to his early days, but he only began putting his vision into casual furniture five years ago.
Starting in junior high, Campbell was an art student, working within a variety of mediums and in graphic arts. "My father has one of the largest antique collections in North America, both furniture and lighting, and I was greatly influenced by that," Campbell said. "I worked in a museum in Detroit for a couple of years so I had a lot of influence in art and antiques from a young age."
Given that foundation, Campbell had strayed away from his artistic path until he joined Lloyd/Flanders. "When I took the position as vice president of sales and marketing, we were paying a lot of designers' royalties," he said. "I figured why not give my talent a try instead of hiring other designers? It's been pretty successful and it's a lot of fun."
Although he never had formal training in furniture design, he relied on his artistic upbringing.
"What inspires me is really everything around me — past experiences and new things I see," Campbell said. "I'll see elements (ranging) from a natural viewpoint to antique furniture that I'm very familiar with and I'll just pull those elements together."
Going outdoors with his sketchbook in hand sparks his creative ideas. "I believe if you truly observe and appreciate life around you, you can design for living in continuity," he said. "Like when I did the Sedona sectional, I wanted it to have a natural feel so I designed the back to look like a mountain landscape, very rolling and soft. I just took elements from nature and designed it into the group so it was much more pleasing to the eye."
For the new Princeton collection, he combined elements from 1840s ironwork for a look that will work in contemporary, transitional and traditional settings. Oxford, which has been a big hit for retailers, remains one of Campbell's favorite designs with its plush, stately look influenced by the overstuffed chairs common to cigar clubs.
"This year, I increased the seating size of everything," he said. "I believe you should sit in furniture not, sit on it."
Campbell designs furniture now to offer something for everyone's taste and steers clear of themed groups. He recalls the Island Way collection, which brought a record number of early buys for Lloyd/Flanders when introduced but represented a short-lived trend.
"Now I design for a much broader appeal," Campbell said. He aims for "a balance between visually pleasing and very comfortable" furniture. Campbell describes Lloyd/Flanders' original Lloyd loom as the most exciting and satisfying material for him to use because of the way it forms around the frame.
"That's like getting the Oscar," Campbell said of winning the Pinnacle Award. "And it's retailing very well so I've broken the evil curse."
Tiny Girl, Big Dream