Thursday, September 6, 2012


On my last visit to New York I met with Richard Frazier and John Harrison of Frazier, a new showroom, at 200 Lex. Richard is the owner and designer of the collection and John is the showroom manager. Richard started out in antiques and then moved on to working at Holly Hunt. John worked with Richard at Holly Hunt. I was looking for the next showroom to interview for the blog and Steven Rappos at Ted Boerner suggested taking a look at Frazier. I thought I was just going to highlight their showroom but I really got involved with Richard and was able to pick his brain about how he came to start the showroom and the collection.
Richard had always been interested in furniture and design. A year ago February he decided to develop his own line. Jim Druckman worked as his mentor and introduced him to a manufacturer in Viet Nam. From that moment on he took 90 days to design 90 pieces for his line, a line that had been percolating in his head for a long time. He contracted the Vietnamese manufacturer to produce the line of casegoods, upholstery and lighting including all the hardware and one year later opened the door to his showroom. The collection is very eclectic but all of it has some sort of historical reference. You can go to their website to look at the collection:
His wife, the talented designer Laura Kirar, designed the interior of the showroom with mobile iron panels that serve as dividers for the space.
Because of their work at Holly Hunt Richard and John had a great Rolodex of designers they could call on to introduce the line. They used social media but found most designers still wanted to have something tangible to put in their files. They did a lot of knocking on doors and personally meeting with designers to promote their new line. The result: a beautiful line well represented at NYDC. Now here's how Richard answered our ten questions.

1. What's the mood like at your showroom?
Well, I try to have the mood here be a combination of a kind of relaxed sophistication with a very welcoming attitude.  The colors tend to be a bit muted and quiet in the backgrounds.

2. What's the strangest request you've had?
I always like the ones where they ask you to turn a lamp into a desk. "You know, that detail on the edge of the chandelier there...just do that in a desk, y'know?"

3. What's your most popular item or category?
There is a piece called the M.A. Semanier (nicknamed after Marie Antoinette, tongue in cheek) that seems to capture everyone's attention. It's kind of sinuous and's been really popular.  That and the Villa Dining table, which is a very different kind of piece.  I like that people are attracted to both ends of the spectrum.

4. Are your clients predominantly professional designers and architects or direct purchasers?
As we're in the design center, we cater pretty strictly to the design trade, of course.

5. What was your biggest sale or most interesting client?
If I told you that I'd have to kill you, of course....but let's just say there have been a few fashionistas of some note in here already, which is great for a business as new as ours.  Love having the fashion group express interest.

6. How often do you change around your showroom?
I try to change it every 60 days or so...keeps it interesting to me AND the clients...

7. Other than your own showroom where do you shop for furniture?
I'm a total flea market soon as I get off the plane I find the nearest one and go.  And here, of course...just took a Semanier to my loft and a dining table is coming shortly. Wouldn't sell it if I didn't want it in my home.

8. What do you offer that retail can't offer?
It's an interesting question. We can afford to be more nuanced in your selection of finish and size, of course and offer a much more civilized and pleasant experience.  At this level of quality our clients can expect to get something really special and worthy of owning for a long time....that and there's always an espresso or a tequila waiting for you.

9. What color, wood species or fabric are clients asking for?
We pay very close attention to the woods we use being very "visible, meaning we don't overfinish them so they can really express what's naturally beautiful to them.  Oak seems big again at the moment and a beautiful wood called Lauro Preto (black laurel) is getting good play.

10. What's your prediction for next year's hot trend?
The furniture business doesn't react quite as quickly as fashion, but it's catching up. Honestly, I'm not a trend-follower.   I prefer to design things that have really lasting quality pleasing proportions so you want to be around it for a very long time.  Actually, THAT'S the trend I'd like to see...a move away from disposable fashion and furniture and a move toward making informed decisions about what you're buying and having them for as long as possible.  There's already plenty of "stuff" in the world destined for the landfill.  I hope FRAZIER pieces will end up in the hands of kids and grandkids.

Brava magazine did a feature on our store in their September issue. They were looking for our take on current trends. We had recently been to look at a new project and decied to take our inspiration from our meeting with our prospective client. It was on a late summer afternoon at their home overlooking the rolling hills of Southern Wisconsin. The unusual heat of this summer was colliding with a cold front and one of those terrific Midwest storms was about to roll in. There is that incredible calm before a storm like this; when the storm is still off in the distance, the sun has hidden behind a bank of billowing clouds and the landscape layers on the most beautiful array of soft blues, mossy greens and grays. The sharpness of a summer palette had been blanketed with a cloak of pure serenity. It was the perfect metaphor for their transformation. The color palette spoke to all of us. Here was what we were all looking for and as it turned out, here was the inspiration for our trend piece for Brava.

Stormy Weather 15
Antonietta, photographer
Found on:

1 comment:

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