How to Adapt to a Changing Industry
Arch-Interiors design group inc.
Christopher Grubb is the founder and president of Arch-Interiors design group inc., an internationally recognized and highly awarded interior design and exterior design firm. In addition to this multifaceted practice, Christopher is owner and lead designer of his two distinct product design studios — The C.G. Collection and Autograph by Christopher Grubb. Both studios collaborate successfully on licensed product collections covering multiple categories of home furnishings and contract furnishings.
The design industry is changing, rapidly. With the growth of technology has come instant access to a plethora of sources globally. So, with these changes, how have we adjusted operating our businesses, used 3D technology and the internet as a friend (or foe)? How do we address participation and the relevance of trends, and publishing for and selling to a multigenerational market, especially of the millennial market?
I moderated a panel at Summer Market sponsored by Zuo Modern and House Tipster. It was an amazing discussion with a variety of talents and experiences. The line-up boasted Patti Carpenter, a Global Trend Ambassador; John Erdos, Owner of Erdos + Ko; Barrie Livingstone, an interior designer, author, product designer and real estate agent: Nicole Davis, Editor in Chief of Furniture, Lighting & Décor magazine; Thomas Wolosik, Creative Director of House Tipster; and Andrea Guardiola, Zuo Modern’s Décor Director.
I kicked off the discussion with 3D technology. Thomas indicated his company is growing quickly with subscribers’ requests for the creation of custom virtual rooms, which I believe is going to be one of the biggest changes in how design professionals present a project. Andrea shared that Zuo currently has success with 3D for their online catalogue so a buyer gets all views of a product, and Patti noted, from her experience, the success of product manufacturers using 3D printing.
Shifting gears to the internet, evaluating how it has affected practices overall was interesting. For John, his custom furniture was no longer limited to sales in Dallas, but now has a nationwide reach. Nicole shared their readership is a solid 50/50 between digital and print, and Barry felt clients are now extremely educated on product. My takeaway from the topic compared to a few years ago: no one thought it was a “foe,” but a friend.
Product design and licensing is a huge topic we thought important to address. In case you hadn’t heard, Zuo can private label your designs and you can become an instant product designer. From an editor’s perspective, Nicole mentioned that having a designer connected to a product creates a romance story. And furthermore, we can’t wait to see the new line Barry is launching with Seasonal Living.
One topic I was especially excited to discuss was trends and if they are still relevant. Patti, a global trend ambassador, said that they most definitely are. She noted a few to include similar patterns and textures as well as the expansive utilization of warm colors and their expressive outreach into communities across the globe. Andrea discussed how trends have become more expansive and are seen largely on a global level rather than regionally. Nicole’s insights about trends led us to understand that editors have to be at every show to make sure what they spot is highlighted immediately, especially to capture the attention of millennials.
This presented a great segue to a conversation about millennials. John and Patti both, from experience, agree that millennials love customization, which the entire panel acknowledged. It was also unanimously noted that millennials as a whole look to be unique, and not a follower. Patti feels millennials also enjoy the story behind a product; they like to know where and how it was made.
There was such an overwhelmingly positive response to this lecture that a similar discussion will take place at Fall High Point Market in the Zuo Modern Showroom. Perhaps we’ll see you in the audience on Monday October 15th at 11:00 a.m.