Since moving to Philadelphia, I've been scoping out the local Design scene, and searching for ways to highlight Interiors in a unique way. I contacted two local Interior Designers to hear their take on High Point Market this fall, and what it is all about. What is High Point? Oh, do read on! But first! Let's get to know our designers with some quick super-duper important questions.
Participating: Marcello Luzi (WPL), Maggie Neary and Rae McKee, Adrienne Dunsing (Mona Ross Berman.)
(Fast questions—first thing that comes to your mind):
Rae: "Mint Green."
Adrienne: "Colonial Blue."
Marcello: "Black or white. I don’t design with a lot of blue, but I am a winter, so I look good in dark cool colors. I design in a lot of earth tones- they are easy to live with."
Favorite piece of furniture (aka furniture crush):
Rae: "Mid century vintage bar cart." **Totes with her on this one!**
Maggie: "Mario Bellini Cab Chair. Ever since college when I had to model it."
Adrienne: "A Club chair."
Favorite time of year:
All Designers: "Fall."
Coffee or tea?: And they all said "Coffee." Duh.
So let's chat High Point, shall we?
Since 1909, High Point Market in North Carolina has opened its doors to display the latest trends and products to the Interior Design and Decorating community. With 180 buildings and a total of over 10 million square feet, High Point showcases over 2,000 exhibitors, and anticipates somewhere around 80,000 individuals from across the globe every six months. This show is the largest of its kind in the world. A recent study by Duke University revealed the city rakes in approximately 5.4 billion dollars thanks to the Market.
With such a broad overview of upcoming furniture lines, the Market is very relevant to many North East designers. I sat down with Philadelphia based designers, Marcello Luzi from WPL Interior Design and Maggie Neary and Rae McKee from Mona Ross Berman’s team, to hear if High Point is, indeed, as exhausting as it sounds. The answer was a resounding, “Yes!”
“It’s the strangest place,” Rae explains, “when Market isn’t in session it must be a ghost town,” since the buildings are removed from the heart of the city. “There are no other businesses or buildings but High Point Market, and it’s only open for a week in the spring and a week in the fall.” And during that time it is bustling!
Designers from all over attend the show to see new products and test out furniture for clients. When I was in school our professor’s always told us that we should know exactly what the difference was between a 34”, 37” and a 43” depth sofa. To tell the truth, it’s a pretty big difference, and that’s exactly why designers need to know their furniture before they convince a client to order it. Maggie recalls that she was not particularly enamored with one company’s chairs online until she sat in them at Market and felt how comfortable they were. Another aspect which brings Marcello back year after year is keeping up with it all, “I try to go to both spring and fall markets, it helps me to stay ahead of the curve with what’s new.”
So, why is it that our Instagram and Snapchat feeds explode when it’s Fashion Week, but we may have never heard of High Point Market? Because, unlike Fashion week, High Point “is only open to the trade,” explains Marcello, “The market isn’t geared towards the public, so they aren’t as aware of it.” But the market offers special High Point discounts on some items if designers order while at Market. So, there is a little bit of pressure if a designer sees something that they know is just perfect for a project, “Either, you need your client’s approval right then and there, or they need to just trust you fully,” states Maggie.
Rae explains that each furniture dealer at High Point will zero in on one trend for the overall design of their showroom, sometimes making it difficult to distinguish overall trends. But this Fall, Marcello says, “Black and white are in! Some lines are still debuting grey products though. It is surprising to me, because grey has been in for so long, and almost feels a little three-years-ago.” But Maggie loves the shade all the same, “grey is still such a great neutral.” Another trend we are starting to see is color! Good-bye, beige sofas. Kate Spade launched a furniture line at this Fall’s High Point that is pale aqua. Hurray! Surveying both WPL’s and Mona Ross Berman’s latest projects they are totally on fleek.
Regardless of the media’s involvement in covering the Market, there are tons of noteworthy names in the industry that pass through the doors at High Point. Marcello rattled off at least twenty individuals he had gotten a chance to meet or see in the years that he has been attending, including Alexa Hampton, Jane Seymour, and Jeff Lewis. And everyone saw Margaret Russell. Rae and Maggie told their story about running into Architectural Digest’s editor, “We had dinner beside her one night. She had a big table with a bunch of designers, and we looked over and realized, “Oh my gosh, that’s Margaret Russell!”
The age-old furniture market sounds exhilarating through the eyes of our Philadelphia designers. And since we can’t go ourselves, we can be happy that the hashtags #hpmkt and #hpmkt2015 give us a little visual window in to this mysterious event. But we will have to rely on our designers to let us know what pieces were totally to die for when it comes to comfort and style. Thankfully, WPL and Mona Ross Berman are in our own city and totally killin’ it, Interiors style.