More casual vendors appear at HD Expo
Cinde Ingram -- Casual Living, June 1, 2008
The strength of the hospitality and healthcare markets was evident during the recent Hospitality Design Expo, which drew more premium casual furniture exhibitors and performance fabric suppliers than ever.
Vendors who have supplied the contract market for years described it as an increasingly important segment of their business while others entered the category with hopes of adding year-round balance to their seasonal offerings.
“Because of the softness at retail, we’re seeing more and more of the retail-oriented manufacturers starting to show here trying to pick up some contract business,” said Peter Homestead, Tropitone, vice president of design and marketing. “It’s a natural thing and we’d probably do the same if we were dependent on retail.”
Draped crimson fabrics added drama to Tropitone Furniture’s display of contemporary contract styles as it introduced the Veer Collection in cast aluminum with a forward-leaning profile; Evo Collection, a fully woven seating group with tapered legs, and its Portofino III umbrella with fiberglass arms supported by an aluminum pole and cast aluminum hubs.
Veneman brought in two weavers from Thailand to demonstrate the handcrafted process involved in making its outdoor woven chairs and ottomans, which they finished during the May 15-17 show.
Rock Wood Casual Furniture launched four collections, two combining cast aluminum with woven materials and two outdoor woven styles with teak accents.
Deltropico Designs gained attention for its Oasis outdoor bed. Unlike its counterparts, Deltropico supplied the contract industry for nearly seven years before adding the retail segment last September.
TUUCI introduced its Cabo Parasol, which incorporates flexible fiberglass struts into a refined shade structure designed to flex in punishing wind conditions. TUUCI’s unusual Crescent Lounge with oversized canopy also drew designers’ eyes.
Flexible use was also a selling point for Les Jardins’ teak and sling Duna and its Dune all-weather wicker loungers. Both appeared on two pool decks at the Trump hotel after Les Jardins participated in the HD Expo last year for the first time. “It’s a very nice showroom for us,” Frederic Raffenne said, smiling. “That’s what we are looking for, high profile projects.”
Glen Raven showed off its newest Sunbrella options with sheer fabrics draped on a cabana display of cushioned outdoor furniture with velvet throw pillows. Its fabrics appeared inside many booths of casual furniture exhibitors. Other performance fabric suppliers at the show included Bella Dura, Outdura, Covington and Silver State.
Also at HD Expo for the first time, Skyline Design brought more than 20 years of its parent company’s experience supplying wicker, rattan and bamboo products to hotels around the world. Skyline participated in the HD Boutique in Miami last fall, and designers have sought Skyline’s furniture online for their clients’ projects. Its Brando and Sun collections have proven to be best-sellers in the United States as well as worldwide.
Allen Calzadilla, executive vice president, was pleased with Skyline Design’s first year performance. “We’ve exceeded our expectations and doubled our forecasts,” he said. The first contract installation of its new Pacific Cube Collection will take place this month at the Fairmont Princess resort in Scottsdale, Ariz. In addition to Pacific Cube, Skyline will debut its Hudson and Nevada collections to retailers at the Casual Furniture Premarket in July.
Natural Creations Inc. relied on its 18 years of experience serving the indoor industry as it debuted trees and outdoor plants designed for full outdoor use.
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