Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Anticipating the Home Sector in 2009: Lloyd Princeton, Veranda publisher Sims Bray, designer Mark Cutler, Williams Sonoma VP Katherine Stout & aspenhome's Jena Hall

Anticipating the Home Sector 2009

"Part 2 of the Las Vegas paenel discussion on Home Sector 2009

GMI Trend Unit

The Home Sector in 2009: Discussed by Veranda publisher Sims Bray, L.A. designer Mark Cutler, Williams Sonoma VP Katherine Stout and Aspenhome's Jena Hall

The Home Sector in 2009: Las Vegas Panel Discussion

" This is part 1 of a panel discussion at Las Vegas Market about the state of the Home and Design in 2009". Part 2 to come tomorrow. Well worth reading.
GMI Trend Unit

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ahead of the Curve: Concrete Curtains

An undercurrent running through the recent design show's trend presentations was about morphing, stretching and bending the rules when designing interior products and spaces. Whether in materials, forms or perspective; it’s about things never being quite what they seem and constructing a feast for all the senses.
Concrete is one of those materials that is undergoing this metamorphosis. We’re all familiar with concrete and how integral it is to today’s environments. But Design gets interesting when we start to question its generic forms and are challenged to create new perceptions of recognizable materials and products. Case in point- Concrete Curtains.

The Bertonvorhang, a concrete curtain designed by Thomas Mennel and Reinhard Muxel of memux, Vienna Austria consists of 2 elements -concrete cushions attached to each other resembling a patchwork quilt that are hung from a flexible header from a track. Winner of the 2008 Red Dot Award in Product Design, it morphs into a drapery as the cushions folds and stacks as if it were a textile.
All the senses are engaged from the visual play of light and shadow thru the cushions to the rustle of the raw edges moving in the wind and cool or heat to the touch. Function not to be forgotten-It has excellent sound and heat absorption qualities.
Think outdoor privacy or windscreen screens; Urban loft partitions or man caves??? What do you think?
For more on concrete used in out-of-the box ways check out LiTraCon- light transmitting Concrete .

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Color Cues

We struck gold! Of all the wonderful colors we saw in our recent trip to Heimtextil in Frankfurt, Germany, gold was the color that played with everyone.

It's a perfect warm neutral that can stand alone or work with another color. It was great with the deep plums and purples we saw, but equally at home with chocolate and mid-tone browns, navy blue, and reds and burgundies. In both matte and metallic forms this color shimmered!

Use this wonderful neutral on picture frames, mirrors, table lamps and accessories to add sparkle to your design. As fabric, what could be more elegant that a rich, old-world gold? Midas had the right touch.

Deb and I will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday March 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to share our Heimtextil experiences with you. Join us and see the colors!

Bruce Knott

Innovation and How Trade Shows Fit In

Recently I saw a post on Window Pro from Steve Dale about his visit to the Builder’s Show in Las Vegas. I asked him to comment on what he saw at the show and he was very kind to jot down his thoughts about trade shows, our participation and some new things he found in Vegas. His comments are more than a show report- he has some great thoughts that relate to my recent post about this industry and innovation. Here’s what Steve had to say…

Thank you for your interest in the International Builders Show. As you know a few weeks back Rory had asked about our opinions about attending the Show in Atlanta. I spend 2 hours crafting a response and decided at the last minute to not send it so I deleted the email. What I said in part was: I have attended many window covering shows for the past 20 years, and cannot remember any show I walked away from with a new supplier (that we still use) or a good idea. I look outside our industry for ideas. “
He goes on to say, “The funny part is these people only use their creative talents on window coverings and not their businesses. I see little or no creativity in marketing or operations. I see no time given to our future. We simply react to the news of the day and make no plans to succeed. BUT...
I love attending all types of shows, seminars, conventions and reading magazines, web sites, newsletters and blogs from all different types of industries.
I love to take ideas from different industries and combine them into new ideas for the industry I love, Window Coverings. This all leads me into the International Builders Show in Las Vegas.

I left feeling GREEN. I wanted to vomit green. It will only be a few more years that we have to hear the word Green. It’s over used and over exposed, much like Paris Hilton. Maybe we’ll go back to Ecology or Earth friendly. Seriously who’s going to believe a used brick is Green? After walking this enormous show, I came away with some pretty cool ideas.
First: We need to offer energy solutions, from window coverings to window film to new windows. We need to become experts on glass and window constructions. (I recommend you read Glass magazine).
Second: we need to take huge leaps in software. Our industry is lagging behind in the applications of software both in operations and marketing.
Third: we need to offer a wider variety of products- Retractable screen doors, screens, retractable awnings, closets, garage organizers, and flooring.
Fourth: There needs to be a balance between the aftermarket products like blinds and shutters and new construction. We need to put ourselves into the position of offering solutions to the builders. They need to view us as essential partners.

At the Builder’s show, one of the most interesting products is a stereo system that attaches to the glass and turns the glass into a speaker. If we put a blind in front of that piece of glass are we destroying the sound? What about the new generation of brick ovens? They cook at 595 degrees. How close can we put a blind? I could feel the heat 10 feet away. The very best product I saw was the finest example of a retractable awning I have ever seen. It retracts into its own cassette and has built in lighting. It was being d├ębuted in North America at the show. I am getting ready to carry it.

Also exhibiting at the show was Budget Blinds Pro there; it’s a program for builders to use a local Budget Blinds Franchise. Enview Designs showed an on line system for builders. The system allows the new homeowner to choose their blinds from 3 categories while shopping online. There were several shutter companies there. Of the 4 shutters companies I met there I have never seen a single one of them at a window covering show! The bottom line is we need to become more important to the builders and homeowners.
Steve Dale
Where do you go for innovation, new products and creative solutions?
Window Covering manufacturers- How do you respond to the fact that our industry is so stale we have to go outside for cutting edge products to keep up?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Oxymoron: Window Coverings and Innovation?

I want to share a recent post my our friend, Carol Blanchard on her Faux Iron Design Sphere blog. She comments on the silver lining that comes with tough economic times- innovation and creativity. Glad to hear it. I have been saying for sometime that our industry has lagged behind others in innovative product design. With R+T starting tomorrow, maybe we will see new products that will make window fashions a MUST HAVE for consumers.
What was the last big innovation in window coverings?
Let me know your thoughts on innovation in the window coverings industry?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Spotted: Not So Mellow Yellow

Pantone has named Mimosa, an orange-juice tinted yellow, the 2009 color of the year. The hue is best illustrated by the abundant flowers of the Mimosa tree and the sparkle of the brilliantly hued cocktail.
According to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, yellow is the color of change, of hopefulness, of warmth . "We chose yellow based on the ... elephant in the room, the economy," says Eiseman. “The color yellow exemplifies the warmth and nurturing quality of the sun, properties we as humans are naturally drawn to for reassurance,” explains Eiseman “Mimosa also speaks to enlightenment, as it is a hue that sparks imagination and innovation.”

We spotted yellow popping up all over the place on both sides of the Atlantic.

Yellow provides the POP in color and pattern schemes at Heimtextil 2009.

Window shopping in the Saint Germain in Paris, I spotted this tablescape at Misssionier. They duplicated the window in their booth at M&O.

Houles booth at Editeurs M&O showcasing their Soho trim with citron yellow drapery panels.

Tamara Bed Linens from Marimeko for Crate and Barrel. Who wouldn't be happy under these covers?