From significant business changes to noteworthy product launches, there’s always something new happening in the world of design. In this weekly roundup, AD PRO has everything you need to know.
Gap Considers Home Decor, While Ralph Lauren Partners With Theodore Alexander
Struggling fashion retailer Gap is heading into unchartered, expansive waters—thanks to a new agreement with IMG, as WWD reported. The licensing deal will make room for expansion into home furnishings, decor, and fabric, among other categories. However, when asked specifically about furniture, a spokesperson for the brand demurred: “It’s too soon to share what we’ll explore first and where it will show up, but the flexibility allows us to react to where the customer is and the categories they are interested in such as home.” Also of note, Ralph Lauren Home has inked a contract with Theodore Alexander, making it its sole manufacturer. Theodore Alexander will now handle distribution and sales as well, while Ralph Lauren will focus on design and marketing efforts.
Some Businesses Plan for a Return to Work, While Others Stay Busy
As small signs of reopening begin, organizations like AIA are doling out advice on strategies to limit the spread of COVID-19 in buildings. But in many cases, factories may be ahead of the curve, thanks to their ongoing manufacturing efforts. This week, the Wall Street Journal reported on how Germany has been able to keep such facilities open throughout the pandemic. Elsewhere, one popular U.S. paint company—Benjamin Moore—has been churning out hand sanitizer products at its New Jersey factory. Also of painterly note, this week it was reported that Sherwin-Williams has donated 1,500 respirators to firefighters. Finally, Cambria, which is offering new virtual classes this month, has launched a campaign to help get safely back to work, while GUBI’s concept store in Shanghai was recently able to open.
All About Arts
National Trusts of Two Types Struggle
This week, the BBC ran a story saying that the U.K.’s National Trust was on track for nearly $250,000 in losses. The organization is responsible for more than 300 historic houses in England that regularly rely on visitors for income. The National Trust, which had previously announced extensive furloughs, also oversees extensive area of the country’s coastline. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the National Trust for Historic Preservation has penned a letter to Congress in the hopes of gaining some support. The goal is that the letter will “catalyze the economic recovery of nonprofit organizations, small businesses, and the arts and culture sector, while also protecting historic and cultural resources,” The Architect’s Newspaper reported.
Two Museums and an Auction House Think Creatively
This week, the Vitra Design Museum debuted Chair Times, a full-length film that delves into the history of the chair, from roughly the post–early modern period and on. On a similar, digital, note, the Corning Museum of Glass is launching its “Connected by Glass” live discussion series, as a virtual Frieze gets ready to open this weekend. Finally, amfAR and Christie’s announced a partnership to raise money for COVID-19 research.
A Bright Idea for Video and Design
Artist Sophie Usunier, like many artists in this moment, is thinking about how we can connect with one another when we are physically apart. “It doesn’t take so much,” she says. “A lamp and Morse code.” In her video #TalkingToTheUniverse, made by the C41 creative production company with support from Italian lighting brand Flos, she suggests a way for conversations to take place between neighbors and friends, and she encourages folks across the world to take part.
In the News
A House Is Not a Hotel
If you haven’t read this Financial Times article on the homogenization of homes, consider it for your weekend online reading. Titled “Let’s Stop Turning Our Homes into Boutique Hotels” and written by Ben Pentreath, the article specifically delves into the widespread preference found among wealthy U.K. individuals for homes to function like places of hospitality—en-suite bathrooms and limitless hot water included. Perhaps, though, Pentreath hopes, this tendency will shrivel up in the wake of COVID-19, as values are realigned and people spend more time at home.
Debuts From the States to Salone
Brook Perdigon Textiles has a new collection out, titled Adaptation, while Graham & Brown’s Glasshouse and Grasscloth Geo collection is now available in the U.S. Art + Loom’s founder Samantha Gallacher is continuing to adapt to a post-pandemic world, while launching collections with the likes of Lauren Williams Art & Home in the process. The catalogue for the Mark D. Sikes for Chaddock furniture line is now available, and it is as beautiful as the products pictured. Zak + Fox launched a coloring book, as did West Elm, thereby joining a growing rank of creatives serving up this exact sort of quarantine-ready art project.
Elsewhere, brands are sharing products and news that they had initially intended on presenting at this year’s canceled Salone del Mobile. Luxury linen brand Frette is one such example, which had initially intended on presenting new goods, as well as their collaboration with yacht company Ferretti, at the Milan furniture fair.
New Online Platform for Decorative Objects Teams Up With L’Objet
Hong Kong–based designer Marie France Van Damme has teamed up with L’Objet and its creative director Elad Yifrach on an e-commerce platform launching this month with a collection of shoppable wares spanning home, entertaining, collectibles, travel, beauty and more categories. Van Damme is also launching a private label line of items collected on travels, such as a leather tray line made in a small Genoa, Italy, factory.
“I have been traveling the world for the past 40 years. On my journey, I have developed relationships with craftspeople from the souks of Marrakesh, with traders in the bustling streets of Hong Kong and Bangkok, and with small business owners from around the globe,” says Van Damme of how the digital concept came to be. “In a time of health crisis and economic uncertainty, as small businesses owners, we have to support one another to weather the current downturn.”
Kazuko Hoshino, Head of Interiors at Studio William Hefner, Has Died
Kazuko Hoshino, head of interiors at Studio William Hefner, died last month of cancer, the company announced. Born and raised in Japan, Hoshino earned a degree in sculpture before deciding to move to the U.S. At UCLA, she earned her credentials in interior design. Ultimately, she went on to become head of interiors at her husband’s namesake architecture firm—a role she held for 20 years.
Fashion Houses Launch Stylish Greeting Cards
’Tis the season of virtual connections. With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, many may be scrambling to get their digital greetings in order. Thanks to two fashion houses, those messages will be more stylish than ever. Louis Vuitton has released a Mother’s Day e-card, which well wishers can fully customize with design elements from the brand’s products. Additionally, Carolina Herrera has collaborated with Paperless Post on a new line of digital cards, which launched this week. The floral designs are sure to brighten Mom’s inbox.
DIFFA Announces Winner of Social Media Contest
After weeks of accepting submissions through Instagram posts, DIFFA has announced a winner to its social media challenge. On April 10, the nonprofit launched a campaign for competitors to submit their carefully designed table settings using the hashtag #diningfordiffa and using the tag @diffanational. The winner of the contest was designer Michael Tavano, who won a $250 gift card for a meal at home. The challenge was meant to show off well-crafted table settings while people are staying home to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to further awareness of DIFFA’s mission to help fight AIDS and HIV.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest