THE TED BOERNER SHOWROOM
Since we've been a part of Access to Design I've been trying to familiarize myself with the hallways and showrooms at 200 Lex, NYDC. I can't speak for other designers but I know I rely on certain showrooms as my go to vendors. After several months of pushing buttons in the elevator for floors I had never even set foot on, it didn't take me long to realize I was the one losing out by not having done this type of exploration before. So I set myself a goal to introduce myself to each showroom and then write a little bit about their product. I don't know about you but I'm a little intimidated about going up and making a cold introduction. I would have faired much better in the Victorian era when everything was done with a calling card. Anyway, to easy my insecurities I devised a set of ten questions to present to staff at the showrooms as a sort of icebreaker. I also decided to cheat a bit by starting off with some of the showroom people I already knew. This is a series that I'll be inserting into the blog on a regular basis. So lets get ready for a the start of our tour.
The first door I'm going to open is at the Ted Boerner Showroom. Ted hails from a prominent Wisconsin family although he contends the prominent part of the family was a bit removed from his. His personal history weaves its way through theater and dance into set design and eventually into establishing the furniture line he has become famous for. Ted describes his approach to furniture as, "straightforward, exploring familiar forms, and using only essential details. In search of simplicity, we balance the idiosyncrasies of nature with the clean rhythms of modernism."
The truth of this lays in the simple beauty of his pieces. Ted's work moves into the realm of classic or perhaps it floats there. His Cloudbox Cumulus sofa is perfect. The asymmetrical quilting on the back is outside the expected, an elegant touch to a skyward inspired sofa that becomes art.
In the Reverie media unit one can again see the strength of his simplicity in design and his use of modernist rhythms.
The New York showroom is headed by Steven Rappos. Steven's experience in the arena of high-end furniture and textile design spans almost two decades. We have known Steven for almost his entire career. He has been a tremendous supporter of our work and a true sounding board for our ideas. Here's how Steven answered our ten questions:
TEN QUESTIONS FOR SHOWROOM MANAGERS
1. What's the mood like at your showroom?
We want the mood to be comfortable and relaxed. Our goal is to show our uniquely detailed and hand-made products.
2. What's the strangest request you've had?
There are too many to even think of...perhaps a better question would be, how do prevent cynicism.
3. What's your most popular item or category?
Upholstery & casegoods
4. Who's your most famous client?
Disclosure agreement signed...but a famous composer
5. What was your biggest sale?
It was for an entire apartment on the north side of Madison sq. Park. It was very nice.
6. How often do you change around your showroom?
Big changes typically happen twice a year-with some minor adjustments frequently.
7. Other than your own showroom where do you shop for furniture?
I like Robert Kuo's collection. Then there are the fellas as Hickory Chair in the NYDC 200 Lex that provide great service and well priced products.
8. What do you offer that retail can't offer?
Service and customization. We also offer one-of-a kind hand-made products made in the US.
9. What color, wood species or fabric are clients asking for?
Walnut species typically in a variety of stains- it seems to the be classic benchmark.
10. What's your prediction for next year's hot trend?
Trends happen so quickly now and I've been in the industry for almost 20 years- so I've seen a recycling of trends already. Fashion tends to be a good indicator- it used to take about 2-3 years for the effect to be seen in our industry but now with faster production and digital capabilities for printing, it happens much faster- typically 6 mos. To a year.
In addition to his own line the New York Showroom also represents such artists as Tracy Kendall and her amazing wall coverings. She has created three-dimensional papers, photographic sheets and papers suitable for outdoor use. My favorite is the tiny mother-of-pearl buttons adhered to a backdrop with plastic hangtags. The patience to manufacture this particular paper is an attribute I don't come close to possessing.
Conde House is another line found at the Ted Boerner Showroom that brings a more Asian sensibility to the space. It's a great compliment to Ted's pieces.
W 37th St, 8th Ave. NY, NY
Chris Woodcock, photographer
Represented by Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York