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Interior Furnishings Recovery- Design Industry is Back

March 28, 2011

Last week Donghia/Bergamo held parties in both New York and Los Angeles.  One was to celebrate the beginning of the construction of our new 18,500 square foot New York Showroom in the D&D.  The other was to celebrate over 500 new textile SKU’s we launched at West Week.  Had this been one year ago, both events would have seen anemic attendance amid doom and gloom.  Not so in 2011.  At both, we had record turnout of good and loyal design friends and clients.  Literally hundreds of people.  More importantly, almost everyone in attendance had work, some even complaining that they were approaching too much work, a high class problem indeed.

In addition, I recently attended the New York DIFFA event, which was filled beyond capacity with paying guests – filled!  And last week Westweek itself was slammed for two full days, something that has not happened in a few years.  These are good signs to be sure.  But of course, the best was that our two events on different coasts were not only successful, but filled with clients who in turn were back at it again.

Also, I recently had the chance to give two lectures on Angelo Donghia, one as the guest of ASID – DC, and the other as the guest of the Philadelphia Design Center.  After the above it should come as no surprise to you that both were really well attended, again a sign of the national re-emergence of our industry.  We are back, ladies and gentlemen!

I think that Donghia and Bergamo reflect the changes happening right now.  We have worked really hard to remain healthy and continue to move forward.  We have made the cuts and sacrifices required, even merging Bergamo into Donghia, and have emerged ready for the future.  There are many who sadly have fallen or will fall by the way side, but we have persevered.  This is even more true of the design community.  Many have fallen, but plenty are surviving.  Smaller and much more cost-conscious, certainly, but ready for what comes next.  So seeing Jamie Drake and Scott Salvator, Tim Button, Barry Goralnick and the 2 Michaels, and in LA Carol Poet, Roger Thomas and Michael Berman and so many others, I realized that while it is different now, the core of our industry is still present, still strong and vibrant.  Holly Hunt has exciting new designs just as we do, which is important because each of us needs the other in this regeneration of our industry.  Élitis brought out over 400 new design SKU’s. Pollack, Maya Romanoff, Calvin, Brentano and Boyd all had new collections. Designers were badgering us for memos, cuttings, tear sheets, and quotes, just like the pre-recession days.  Jamie Herzlinger of Scottsdale/ New York was a design tornado moving through the PDC, just like old times.

And, finally, last week I went to see Greystone, the historic Doheny mansion that periodically is used as a majestic show house in Los Angeles.  Luxe Magazine hosted designers and suppliers as rooms were chosen and plans were made.  Barclay Butera, Jamie Drake, Barry Dixon and many other key interior designers in our industry were in attendance.  Holly was chosen as the honorary Chairperson, and Pamela Jaccarino led the way with Jennifer Matthews as we toured this amazing property.  Congratulations to Luxe!  This project will symbolize, I think, the return of our industry and the recognition of the importance of interior design.

Now, I have to stop.  We are busy preparing for Salone del Mobile.  Salone is expecting record attendance as well!  Come see Donghia in Milan!

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