The designers’ opening gambit called for a literal straightening out of structural disparities: being of different heights, the two unmatched floor levels were bridged with seven-step stairs. While at it, the designers erected a wheelchair-lift for the handicapped just behind. Inherited loading docks were closed off, and the interiors were gutted.
Following replacement of overaged electrical and mechanical penetralia, space allocation pegged to the staffs composition and working needs were staked out. Open work stations account for an 85 percent preponderance. Most systems furniture had been brought along from former quarters but was smartened up with cherry wood trims and veneers. Since it was impossible to dig a trench for power lines in the concrete floor slab, cabling runs from walls to desk bases.
Stealing the show hands down, however, is the designers’ way of infusing, as it were, the folklore spirit and historical significance of the universally–yes, as in cosmic universe–famed refreshment. So-called feature walls of cherry, frosted glass, and polished stainless-steel accents form the backing for 17 niches showcasing specially commissioned Coca Cola-related photographs, each sandwiched between layers of glass, taken by Neil Winokur and Frank Majore from New York. Elsewhere, well over 50 prints culled from the company’s archives depict old-time soda fountains, glass bottles, pre-assembly-line fast foods, and other such memorabilia. Frosted glass partitions with clear silhouettes of yesteryear’s Coke bottles stand in front of a corridor containing red fabric panels, their coloration seeming to fill the shapely cutouts with virtual substance. Then there are the columnar “totems,” two at each work station row and adding up to 34. Pruitt refers to the iconic standouts as “limited accents of the well-known Coca Cola red.” Limited? Hardly, he quickly concedes. The vibrant red hue comes in strong doses, always conforming to the company’s chromatic standard. Making it a proper match was something of a major production, the paint mixture having had to follow a secret formula cross-checked by sample control. All very hush-hush and recondite. And, in its finished state, captivating.
The job took seven months. Working with Rubio and Pruitt were project designer Sherry Collins, technical director Santosh Nadkarni, and technical coordinator Pierre-Emmanuel Maeli.
A Housing Project
The study is dedicated to the designer’s father, Monroe Ridless, who passed away shortly before the project was completed.
DECORATIVE PAINTING: OSMUNDO ECHEVARRIA. SOFA: RANDALL RIDLESS. FABRICS: OLD WORLD WEAVERS (SOFA); EDELMAN LEATHER (CHAIR); BRUNSCHWIG & FILS (BENCH). MIRROR: KARL KEMP. COFFEE TABLE; MRS. MACDOUGALL. CLOCK: FLORIAN PAPP. CHANDELIER: CAROLE GRATALE. FLOOR LAMPS: LORIN MARSH. AREA RUG: STARK.
Returning to Kips Bay for the “twelfth or thirteenth time,” Mario Buatta transformed the oval dining area into a relaxed sitting room for two. Warmed by pickled pine walls, gold tea paper on the ceiling, and a predominance of yellow-hued fabrics, the room’s centerpiece is a behemoth double-sided sofa that creates two groups of seating. “If he and she aren’t speaking, they can sit on opposite sides, otherwise they can stretch out and talk across the back,” offers the designer.
FABRICS, TRIMS: OLD WORLD WEAVERS. WALLCOVERING, CARPET: STARK. SIDE TABLE: PHILLIP COLLECK. ANTIQUE CHAIRS: FLORIAN PAPP. FLOOR LAMP: CEDRIC HARTMAN.
John Barman Design & Decoration
John Barman and Jack Levy describe their second-floor lounge as “Stanley Kubrick meets Park Avenue.” Sensitive to the house’s architectural integrity, the designers devised a bold, contemporary concept that coexists with the building’s traditional elements. Carved pilasters flank trippy bubble mirrors, a long sofa is upholstered in white microfiber, and conventional table shapes are reinterpreted in acrylic. Pillows made of watery shades of blue silk counterbalance a graphic, black-and-white carpet pattern.
SOFA, MIRRORS, TABLES: JOHN BARMAN. FABRICS: JIM THOMPSON (PILLOWS); KNOLL (SOFA). CARPET: STARK.
House Interior Design: Updating Living Rooms and Other Rooms
Richard L. Ridge and Roderick R. Denault Interior Design
Richard Ridge and Roderick Denault updated a traditional scheme in their memorable fifth-floor living room, Spectrum 2000. “We decided to create an uptown downtown room,” says Rod Denault. Emerald green walls with contrasting pilasters, colorful upholstered furniture, modern paintings, and a grid-patterned rug constituted the room’s bold, vibrant design. “We used restraint,” adds Dick Ridge, referring to the clean, uncluttered assemblage of traditional shapes enlivened by the designers’ contemporary color palette.
UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE, FABRICS: BRUNSCHWIG & FILS. RUG: STARK. FIREPLACE SCREEN, TOOLS ANDIRONS: DANNY ALESSANDRO; EDWIN JACKSON. PLASTERWORK: HYDE PARK FINE ART OF MOULDING. FIREPLACE MARBLE: SHELLY TILE.
Richard Mishaan’s Work From Home/Home From Work was a stylish yet functional blend of art, design, and technology. Described as a “glamorous yet minimal setting,” the room featured numerous pieces from Mishaan’s signature furniture line juxtaposed with contemporary and classic designs by Olivier Gagnere, Eric Schmicht, Mies van der Rohe, and Tommi Parzinger. Subtle shades of antique gold pervaded the room, creating a “soft, calming environment” that recalled the glamour of 1940s Hollywood updated to provide “a true living and working space.”
FURNITURE: HOMER. RUGS: MICHAELIAN & KOHLBERG. LAMP: HINSON. FABRICS: EDELMAN LEATHER; COWTAN & TOUT. PAINTING: DONALD BAECHELOR THROUGH CHEIM & READ. PHOTOGRAPHS: CHRISTOPHER MAKOS THROUGH HOMER.
Stewart Manger for David Anthony Easton Inc.
Working in the traditional aesthetic for which his firm is famous, Stewart Manger of David Anthony Easton Inc. created Secret Repose, a comfortable bedroom warmed by golden hues of yellow with green and red accents. Inspired by the room’s classical proportions and symmetry, Manger assembled a comfortable mix of 18th- and 19th-century antiques along with furniture designs by Easton himself. This same fourth-floor bedroom was decorated by David Easton during the house’s previous Kips Bay incarnation in 1986.
WALLPAPER: CHRISTOPHER NORMAN. SISAL: BEAUVAIS CARPET. FABRICS: BERNARD THORP (CHAIRS); LEE JOFA (BEDSKIRT). TRIMMINGS: SCALAMANDRE. BED LINENS: SCHWEITZER. ANTIQUES: KENTSHIRE; BARDITH. PENDANT: JOHN ROSSELLI. LAMPS: VAUGHN. PAINTING: DIDIER AARON. CERAMIC TILES: COUNTRY FLOORS. FIREPLACE EQUIPMENT: A&R ASTA.
An animated mix of moods and periods, David Barrett’s third-floor library incorporated exotica from around the world. The designer blended French and English antiques harmoniously with his own furniture designs and pieces from the Near, Far, and Middle East. Patterned fabrics, delicate stenciling, and decorative curiosities further underscored the designer’s preference for adventurous and unexpected combinations. “Balance and proportion,” says Barrett, “are the key ingredients in the mix.”
FABRICS, TRIMS: OLD WORLD WEAVERS. DAVID BARRETT FURNITURE: WOOD, SPRING & DOWN LTD. CHANDELIER, LAMPS, FURNITURE: NEWEL ART GALLERIES. CARPET: STARK. SCREEN: LIZA HYDE. DECORATIVE PAINTING: PINTURA STUDIOS.
Roderick N. Shade
Inspired by a wide variety of sources, Roderick Shade’s third-floor guest suite presented the designer’s signature blend of antiques, contemporary pieces, and African artifacts. Comprised of an intimate sitting room adjacent to a stylish bathroom, the L-shaped suite was unified by a tonal mix of striped and checkered patterns. Soothing taupes and subtle textures complemented the stylized silhouettes of Shade’s furniture designs. The daybed, desk, nesting tables, chairs, and bathroom furnishings reflected the designer’s affinity for African-influenced shapes and dark wood finishes.
FABRICS, WALLCOVERINGS: F. SCHUMACHER. TILE, STONE, HARDWARE: ARTISTIC TILE. CARPET: PATTERSON, FLYNN & MARTIN. ART: ETHNIX TRIBAL ARTS; MICHAEL ROSENFELD GALLERY. FURNITURE: RODERICK SHADE COLLECTION.
Designed with young-hearted collectors in mind, Greg Jordan’s second-floor living room offered a spirited mix of cultures and traditions. The room’s original oak paneling, augmented by painted panels and borders inspired by a Japanese screen depicted in a John Singer Sargent painting, created an impressionistic backdrop for eclectic antique pieces and contemporary art. “The room is a study in luxury room design” says Jordan, noting sumptuous silk velvet and silk satin upholstery and a 19th-century, silk, cotton, and wool Persian carpet. Antique furniture of diverse provenance was casually grouped to give the room a youthful, modern feel, confirming Jordan’s emphatic declaration that this was not just another dull, traditional, paneled room.
CARPET: BEAUVAIS. FABRICS: COWTAN & TOUT; MANUEL CANOVAS. PAINTED WALL PANELS: GRACIE. CHANDELIER: GUY REGAL. GILDED FAUTEUILS: DALVA BROTHERS. BUREAU PLAT: H.M. LUTHER. BERGERES: RITTER ANTIK. TABOURET: J.H. ANTIQUES.
While the showroom’s basic architecture was not changed significantly, the atmosphere inside was radically transformed by the Gensler team. “We reworked the showroom to portray the company’s values,” explains architect Collin Burry, who served as the creative design director of the project from the San Francisco office. Creating a refuge from the sensory overload of NeoCon, the designers devised a “front porch” along the showroom’s entry facade, complete with wicker outdoor furniture, prairie grass, and a lemonade stand. Exuberant hues of blue, yellow, green, and orange were applied to the walls, along with graphic entreaties to encourage visitors to relax in the comfortable, informal environment.
“We’re thrilled with the way the Gensler organization has captured the spirit of our company,” says Tim Smith, Allsteel’s vice president of marketing services. During NeoCon, visitors flocked to the showroom to enjoy the cheerful ambience and sip lemonade. The company’s brightly colored totes, also designed by Gensler, were another big draw: the showroom reported that nearly 7,000 were given away during the three-day show.
Less is more in house decoration
From demolition to decoration, “the project was an exercise in finding new resources and processes,” recalls Brent McMahon, principal and creative director of Kingmahon Design Partnership. Two layers of carpet, foam padding, and, worse, asbestos tile were removed (and responsibly disposed of) to reveal a concrete floor that was then scraped, cleaned, and finished with a self-leveling concrete, and left bare. The designers categorically avoided the use of materials that deplete resources or require harsh cleaning solvents, says McMahon, as well as lead-based pigments, epoxies, and polyurethane. The walls, baseboards, and ceiling (which was vaulted to improve air circulation) were smoothed with water-based plaster and painted with China White latex.
Like the architectural shell, furniture was kept simple. A large worktable is positioned in the center of the space with four smaller reading stands placed around the perimeter and a reception desk positioned opposite the entry. All pieces are made of solid Indonesian teak harvested from a plantation with a one-for-one reforestation protocol. “Teak is durable and is available in large, solid slabs, so the furniture could be fabricated without veneers or lamination, which require glues,” explains McMahon. One of the project’s aims was to reduce the number of VOC’s circulated through the air system, so each piece was finished with natural teak oil instead of varnish. The tops of the reception desk and reading tables are made of a concrete composite that utilizes reclaimed textile and carpet fibers. Finally, samples of Innvironments wall coverings were packaged in modest, book cloth-covered boxes. “We even opted to emboss the boxes rather than label them to avoid the use of printing inks,” says McMahon. “We wanted to use fewer natural resources and create less waste. Since the new collection was developed as an environmentally responsible alternative to vinyl wall coverings, we felt it was important to launch the new brand in an appropriate context.”
Hosfelt quickly signed the lease, and then called upon Fougeron Architecture to transform the building’s 2,000-sq.-ft. lobby as well as his 5,000-sq.-ft. portion of the rough, cavernous volume into an elegant, venue for viewing contemporary art.
“The client is a true gallerist,” says principal Anne Fougeron, describing Hosfelt’s unambiguous request that the space be as spare as possible so that the architecture is clearly subordinate to the art. “Contrary to most, however, he did not want one large space, but instead, a main gallery from which smaller, alternate spaces spiral off.” Working with associate Todd Aranaz, Fougeron called for the preservation of the existing architectural shell with minimal intervention: the concrete floor was sand-blasted and the brutish structural columns were painted, while the original wood ceiling joists were left exposed. The architects organized the plan around a large, central gallery that leads to two smaller galleries, offices, storage, and a private viewing room, all of which are located at the perimeter of the space. Floating abstract planes in an otherwise unadorned structure, the gypsum board walls that define the various spaces are held away from the existing walls, columns, and ceiling, say the architects, so that the old is distinguished from the new.
If Fougeron conceived the gallery to be self-effacing in the presence of art, the entry that it shares with its next-door neighbor is a grand and memorable architectural gesture. One approaches the two galleries by way of a ramped loading dock that provides a self-conscious transition from the gritty, industrial street to the rarefied world of contemporary art that exists within. Clad in overlapping panels of sandblasted glass that are affixed to the wall with steel clips and illuminated by neon tubes, the entry is “a powerful space where visitors are invited to reflect on the nature of art viewing,” says Fougeron. “It is here that the visitors are on display themselves for a few seconds as they walk up the concrete ramp.” Hosfelt appreciates not only the lobby’s welcoming signal to passersby but also its practical aspects. “The enormous garage door and ramp make it easy to get large works of art in and out,” he says. “And, if clients can’t find a parking spot, I tell them to just drive fight up the ramp.”
The project was completed in an “intense” four and a half months.
Credit designers George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg with precise interpretation of their client’s mandate. Vikhran Chatwal, the 30ish scion of the family that owns this and a number of other hotel properties around town, envisioned a mixture of the avantgarde and the elegant for these suites, designated as marketing tools and harbingers of things to come. Chatwal had the foresight to grant Yabu Pushelberg both a clean slate and generous budget.
By now, it’s a well-established fact that most travelers seek something in addition to comfort as hotel guests. “They have experiential aspirations,” the design partners comment. “Ian Schrager was among the first to give them that, but even big companies like Starwood are beginning to get it.”
For Toronto-based Yabu and Pushelberg, their experience of New York is intimately connected with the art world. Thus, art in various media, one-off decorative pieces, plus elements of surprise were adapted as key components in the suites’ design schemes. “The use of rich finishes and soul-inspired details,” Pushelberg says, played prominent supporting roles.
Compact one-bedroom suites
The designers confronted relatively compact one-bedroom suites of 600 and 800 sq. ft. Ceilings were low at 8 ft. 3 in.; architectural amenities were non-existent. Because the suites could potentially be joined to create one rambling expanse, Yabu and Pushelberg sought visual similarities between them. But there is no matching. These are hip rooms with a low-key quality of humor.
In both suites, living rooms are crisp and white with seating from B&B Italia anchored by animal hide rugs. In one case, it’s stenciled pony skin; in the other, it’s goat skin. Other pieces exhibit a sense of discovery. Picked up on shopping excursions to Troy and Interieurs in Soho, they include a quirky coffee table of timber stumps, a leather and chrome rocking chair, a light sculpture resembling a cascade of paper Japanese lanterns, and wooden trays. “We went shopping much as we would for a home,” the designers say.
Bedrooms, in contrast, are described as “cocoon-like,” with dark walnut millwork figuring prominently in solutions. One bed has a complete surround of the richly-toned wood; for the other it is used as a less prominent headboard with built-in side tables. Walnut panels also front closets and form a divider between one of the bedrooms and its living room. Again Yabu and Pushelberg’s keen eyes combined the odd with the iconic. Saarinen’s Tulip table and Reitveld’s Zig-Zag chair are next to Troy’s “funhouse” mirror reflecting a skewed composition of the room’s white linen and walnut components. There are also a one-off nickel-plated table lamp, a reissued Parzinger lamp originally dating to the 1940s, and, of course, that spiked leather pouf. Annette Larsson’s backlit photographs are of body parts. According to the designers, they lend a certain touch of sensuality.
Bathrooms, Yabu and Pushelberg conclude, display a related take on “spare luxury.” Completely clad with Carrara marble, they are endowed with a distinctive architectural quality. Five-ft.-long freestanding counters with custom sinks plus intimate bathtub settings appear to be carved from blocks of the cream-colored stone.
This first phase of the President’s renovation was completed in six months for $1.1 million. The project’s remaining scope, slated for Fall 2001 completion, encompasses refurbishing the current key count of 334 rooms, plus renovation of lobby, restaurant and other public areas. Yabu Pushelberg is on the job.
In addition to George Yabu, creative director, and Glenn Pushelberg, managing partner, credits go to project manager Kevin Storey, designers Sanjit Manku and Andrew Kimber, plus the technical team of Paul Leung, Betty Cheung, Alex Edward, and Shane Park.
Bed Mattress Industry
Ask any manufacturer–or retailer for that matter–currently about the state of trade in the UK bed industry and you are likely to elicit a response of rolled eyes and shrugged shoulders: it’s tough our there–tougher than it’s been for quite some time.
Of course, the whole of the furniture industry is suffering from the same sales malaise (other entirely unrelated industries are, too) and there are plenty of outside influences to blame: the war in Iraq; worries about pensions; problems with the stock market; the stalling housing market; low interest rates affecting savings; redundancies–even the reasonably good weather. Most people agree that even if the pundits are not calling it a recession it’s certainly beginning to feel pretty much like one. Many manufacturers are relieved it’s summer and the holidays are due, staving off the inevitable necessity for short time if things don’t pick up soon.
Of course, statistics don’t always reflect what’s happening now in the market place–for a start they are somewhat historical and, according to the consumer sales figures from the first quarter of 2003 (produced by GfK marketing Services) beds sales are up both in volume and value terms by around 7-8% compared with the first quarter of 2002–to almost 4.3 million beds worth over 1.2 billion [pounds sterling] at retail prices. But the first quarter is generally stronger than the second–which does not have the benefit of the January sales to lend a helping hand.
But the bed industry is not only dealing with a particularly quiet period (and despite the long faces, dealing with it slightly better than some other sectors). They’re facing fundamental changes in the structure of the industry–changes which are happening fast. Until now the bed manufacturing has watched rather smugly from the sidelines as the cabinet and upholstery sectors have seen imports go through the roof.
A decade ago imports of beds hovered around the 2-3% mark and no-one expected it to change much. Natural trade barriers existed–different product tastes (the UK’s penchant for divans with drawers in them, for instance); different bed sizes; even the UK flammability regulations all helped to keep the wolf from the door.
But then bedsteads started to happen–helped along by a huge growth in the number of home interest magazines and TV programmes on furnishing and decorating or moving house–all featuring the more aesthetically interesting bedstead. Today bedsteads account for around a quarter of the total consumer bed market and mattress-only sales for a further 23% (volumes were up a massive 16% year on year from march 2002 to 2003). Divans, from having a 50% plus share 10 years ago, have dropped to just a third. Although GfK’s latest figures show a gratifying fight back lately (sales are up 14% year on year).
Bed Manufacturer and Mattress Selling
And the trouble with bedsteads is that most of them are coming from overseas: visit any Far Eastern exhibition these days and you’re likely to see as many bed people there as you are at the NEC! In four years from 1996 to 2000 alone imports trebled to reach around 10% of the market.
Some pundits predict that the UK bed manufacturing market could well go the way of Europe–our manufacturers becoming solely mattress producers. The problem with selling mattresses-only is the risk of them becoming much more of a commodity product where ‘cheapness’ takes priority over comfort or value.. What you can’t beat you need to join however and so many manufacturers are themselves sourcing ranges of bedsteads to offer alongside their more conventional bedsteads. AUK source is certainly less hassle for many retailers than dealing in long distances with container loads that don’t always contain what they’re supposed to!
Statistical Number about Bed Market
Memory Foam Mattress Market in the US, Research Report Size, Analysis, Share, Forecast 2012-2016
But now there’s a new import threat: for mattress as well. The larger retailers have already started to source supplies of cheaper mattresses from Eastern Europe and it is feared that the floodgates are about to open. Significantly, driving this trend, are the newcomers to bed sales who are are rapidly beginning to make their mark. While independents manage to cling on to around 2-25% of the bed market place, the DIY stores are coming: they have just 4% now (according to GfK) but that figure was just 1% in 1999.
And the domination of catalogues is also noticeable–Argos has almost doubled its market shares from 1999 to 2003–from 7-13%; while the;e the home shopping sector accounts for around 16%. And most of that is in the cheaper 100 [pounds sterling]-300 [pounds sterling] retail price sector.
So, the advent of a cheap source of mattresses from abroad poses a serious threat, particularly to the UK’s mass market producers. There is likely to be a polarisation in the marketplace; the UK may well lose the lower end completely to imports (are we rapidly becoming a nation of distributors?) Estimates suggest there are more than 180 bed manufacturers in the UK; this number is sure to decline.
But there is still a fight to be had for the mid to better end. Who will be the winners? Conventional wisdom suggests that it will be the companies–both manufacturing and retail–who create strong product and brand identities satisfying the more discerning needs of an ever more sophisticated consumer. Sure, there will always be a big slice of the market which wants cheap, cheerful and purely functional. But at the other end of the scale there will be a demand for premium, design-led products which specifically satisfy specific needs.
There are a host of sociological trends which potentially can have a major effect on the style and type of bed to be made, which the canny company will be monitoring carefully, says Mike Rayner, managing director of Relyon Beds. As examples he cites the needs of an ageing population; more single households; smaller homes (and bedrooms); the increased height and body weight of the population; ongoing parental concern about sleep quality for their children and themselves; and the two to three-fold increase in domestic allergies reported by the Royal College of Physicians in June this year with the dust mite named as number one culprit.
Already we are seeing product which meets some of these needs. Take no turn mattresses for instance–a classic case of a marketing led product. (Few consumers would have thought of asking for these–but when presented with the option, it’s the natural choice for a consumer used to being presented with labour saving products in every other walk of life).
Other issues are also looming–in future the industry will no doubt have to come to grips with cradle to grave product life cycle strategies in the same way that the car industry has done. Landfill sites for old beds are rapidly filling up and eventually the government will force industry to take some of the responsibility for dealing with disposal and even recycling.
How did your career start with furniture design?
I was asked to design a piece of furniture, the first in my life, for an exhibition.
So I made a simple dining table of plywood. I showed it to Cesare Cassina after it won the Compasso d’Oro and asked him what I should do with it. He said, “Tomorrow, you come work for us.”
Hearing about my award, the son of the founder of Olivetti called and asked me to work for his company, too. My first machine, a check encoder, also won a Compasso d’Oro.
Those two pieces rocketed my career. I was supposed to be an architect, but I didn’t get around to designing a building for another 20 years.
Any other watershed moments?
In 1972, architect and curator Emilio Ambasz asked me to design something for “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. So I collaborated with Citroen and Pirelli on a mobile home, the Kar-a-Sutra, which changed the evolution of automotive design. MoMA then gave me a solo show in 1987.
When the retrospective was over, I felt as if the first stage of my life was accomplished. I was now free to do architecture.
How are you celebrating a half century with Cassina?
Managing director Gianluca Armento asked me to do a worldwide tour. I agreed, provided we do it in a cultural way.
Where have you been, and what have you been doing?
Last year, I went to Asia–Singapore, Shanghai, and Taiwan. Then came a coast-to-coast U.S. journey, stopping in New York, Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Then up to Canada and back to Milan. I’ve been giving a series of talks on my history with the company and my international projects.
Are there any new furniture you designed?
Cassina asked me to design a lounge chair. That was the first time they asked me for a specific product. Normally, I’m the one who brings the product ideas to them.
What was your reaction?
I said, “There’s already an untouchable lounge chair, the one by Charles and Ray Eames.” To do something that stayed away from that, I returned to the Cab, using the same smart skeleton of metal bars dressed with saddle leather that opens with zippers. We actually had an Eames chair in the studio to look at the whole time during development.
How did the chair and recliner turn out?
Cab Lounge is very comfortable, even though it’s not as stuffed as the Eames chair. Then we designed Cab Night, the bed.
What’s your favorite architecture project?
In 2012, Rudy Ricciotti and I completed the Islamic galleries at the Louvre. They’re mostly underground, topped by a glass pavilion with a roof like a golden veil.
What are you working on now?
For an eco-conscious city along the Yellow River between Shanghai and Nanjing, we’re developing a happy landscape of islands surrounded by canals, ponds, and greenery. Back in Italy, we’re converting a courtyard at the Tempio Venere e Roma into an antiquities museum showing the origins of Rome. I’m also expecting to do a huge sports and culture structure in Qatar in conjunction with the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
What’s your office like?
I used to have 60 people working, but now it’s just 10 to 12. For bigger projects, we team up with an international engineering firm if necessary. It’s more flexible, and I don’t have to support a system.
If you hadn’t been an architect, what would you have been?
A poet. I like what you can do with words.
Upholstered Furniture a Boon for Stores
Furniture retailers have received an unexpected fourth-quarter bonus: upholstered furniture sales (i.e., upholstered sofas, recliners, or mattresses) are either running ahead of last year or are down less than they’d anticipated.
Sales of stationary and motion furniture, traditionally slow as the holidays approach, have been buoyed by aggressive retail promotions, notably one-day events. “Upholstered furniture has been strong, in contrast to our previously released overall figures that show decreases,” said Bob Blackwell, senior buyer, JC Penney.
“We have had strong double-digit gains for three weeks in November. After that, figures aren’t final but look very good. We’re promoting more, using one-day sales, but not giving it away. It’s not just the usual Christmas items that are selling, like recliners and sleepers, but other categories of upholstered furniture,” he added.
“business is healthy–it’s been tough, but we’re writing large-ticket living room later in the year than ever before,” said Alan Rosenberg, senior vice president of Seaman’s, New York. “People are buying sensible items such table and dining chair sets, the ones that show, such as living room and dining room.” Successful promotions have included one-day events, coupons and interest-free sales.
Jerry Marlin, vice president of Farmer Furniture, the Dublin, Ga.-based chain, said he’s been surprised by strong sales of non-gift upholstered furniture in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve had a strong November, not only in gift items such as recliners and cedar chests, but upholstered furniture,” he said. “October was also strong in upholstered, but it usually is. We’ve been surprised by our gains in upholstered and dining room.” The 100-store chain recently instituted television advertising in its major markets, but Marlin said results are hard to quantify.
Motion and leather Furniture
Lou Rippner, president of Compass Furniture, New Orleans, said, “Our upholstered business has been good across the board, but leather and motion lead the category. We’ve been in motion since the beginning with our Peoplounger gallery, and results have been excellent. We’re going to have out second best year in our history.”
“We’re flat in November, which isn’t bad,” said an eastern department store executive. “Motion and leather along with some promotions have saved the month. I expected worse. Margins are still holding up.”
Blackwell of Penney’s termed motion “very strong–I could probably use some more,” and cited a group from Action as a strong seller.
Many of the retailers whose fourth-quarter sales are off said they’re taking some consolation in the fact that declines have not been as steep as they’d expected. “The fourth quarter is running about 5 percent behind last year,” said Jack Brehm, vice president, soft lines, Levitz. “We’re not happy with it, but we could be running 20 to 30 percent behind. It does put more pressure on us to produce profits. Upholstered is running slightly ahead of last year, but not enough to crow about.”
Rhodes Furniture, the Atlanta-based chain, is experiencing a “difficult” fourth quarter, but noted the chain is up against a 17 percent sales gain in 1989, according to Irwin Lowenstein, president and chief executive officer.
For a more detail, look at How to Design an Upholstered Furniture Frame
“Last year, we had all that extra business from people rebuilding after the hurricane. Second, we have a very strong presence in some of the towns with military bases–Savannah, Louisville– and with the husband in Saudi Arabia, the wife and kids have either moved back with the relatives or aren’t looking to buy furniture.”
Rhodes Southern stores, notably those in Florida, have performed best, while stores in the Midwest have lagged behind.
Most retailers are looking forward to the first quarter, traditionally a strong selling season for furniture.
“January is a key month for selling big-ticket items in furniture, upholstered and case goods,” said Rosenberg of Seaman’s. “We’ll have 6 new stores coming on stream in the next 45 to 60 days and we’re looking for a strong start to 1991.”
“The first quarter home sale is very important,” said a department store executive. “They contribute a great deal to furniture results for the entire year.”
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So here are a few tips on how to choose the best recliners chair for your needs.
- Start by measuring your height and the height of your work table. Most sites have a ergonomic assessment tool by which they can calculate the exact kind of ergonomic reclining chair you will require. Just measure the details that the site calculator is asking you for and get going right away. A few sites will also throw up the best results of ergonomic reclining chair for you to choose from. But don’t be hasty, take the time to window show and learn about ergonomic reclining chairs before you make a purchase.
- Ensure that the ergonomic reclining chair versions you have chosen all have adjustable backs and seats. This way you can move them up and down as you require them to be. You should also be able to move the back seat as front and behind as you want to just like a car seat. For example, if you are 5’0″ tall to 6’4″ tall, you should find seats that are from 15″ – 22″ and more to help you sit as comfortably as possible.
- Check the seat pan of your chair. There should be two finger spaces between the seat and your knees and an inch of space all around your hips when you sit down. This measurement is not the same for people who are overweight but do use it as a simple guideline to find the best seat for your needs.
- Lower back support is very essential when you are planning to use the ergonomic reclining chair for long periods of time. Remember that its your lower back that tends to ache when you don’t sit properly. Your perfect ergonomic recumbent chair should have active or passive lumbar support to ensure that your back is perfectly supported as you work.
- Pricing is off course very important when you are planning to buy your ergonomic best recliner chair. You can check with every site that you have short listed to find price ranges. But please note that most chairs will cost about $50-$300 and above depending on the features that are present on them. Do be careful about the chairs and the back support though as many chairs don’t really do exactly what they promise.
The video below shows you several models of ergonomic recliner chairs with reviews and brief guide on each model.
Guidelines When Choosing a Reclining Office Chair
Chairs are probably among the most taken for granted pieces of furniture but what most people do not realize is that chairs are also among the most important. They are equipments designed specifically to provide comfort for the individual while working or during his free time. Some chairs are even ergonomically designed with features that provide total body support.
Reclining office chairs
Reclining office chairs are examples of chairs with therapeutic properties. Because of the reclining back, these chairs are perfect for individuals with back problems such as those with scoliosis. When the back is reclined, the arms and the footrest unfold automatically. The great thing about these chairs is that you can adjust the recline level from a slight tilt to lying almost flat. This adjustability feature made them favorite pieces of furniture for offices.
Because reclining office chairs come with many different features, it may be hard to choose which one to buy. There are a number of things to take into consideration to make sure that you get the right kind of reclining office chair for you.
Reclining office chairs reviews video:
First, you have to take into account the comfort it can provide. A chair will be more comfortable to recline if it comes with the proper support for the head and the neck. You might consider this to be a trivial issue, but you will find that over time, a head support that is incorrect even very slightly can cause lasting pain in the neck. Also, you should go for one that locks into place firmly when reclined at your desired degree.
The second thing to consider is the material. Wood, fabric, fiber and leather are the materials used for making reclining office chairs. Among these, the most common choices for offices are those made with fiber and leather as these two are more durable and comfortable.
The third thing you should take into account is the price. Some chairs are more expensive than the others. If you do not mind second hand items, you will find many good offers on the internet that will save you a considerable amount of money. If you want a brand new reclining office chair however, you can either buy from a furniture dealer or from online furniture stores. Do a lot of comparing so you can find a quality chair for a reasonable price. If you plan to buy multiple chairs, you will probably pay cheaper if you get directly from a wholesaler.
Power Rest Executive Recliner
Relieve tension and stress without leaving your desk, with this recliner office chair! Long hours sitting in an office can affect muscles and circulation in the back and legs. Changing positions frequently, even if only briefly, can make your day less stressful and more productive. This rich looking office recliner is designed to do just that! The seat of this office chair swivels 360 degrees, while gas lift seat height adjustment gives you total control
Reclining Executive Desk Chair
The ultimate executive chair reclines, and has a pull-out footrest, for true office comfort. On the phone or surfing the Web? There’s no need to be upright and uptight?just pull out your footrest, recline your seat and get comfortable. This desk chair takes adjustability and comfort to a whole new level! The seat back reclines to 5 positions?all the way to a 45 angle. The seat height adjusts from 18-22″. The roomy seat is 23″ wide and the seat back is 31″ tall.