your source for contemporary designs

January 22, 2007

Costco gets Elite

Product_15685A major manufacturer of modern metal furniture gets into the local scene by stocking their products at big box stores.

Elite Manufacturing broke the barrier between high-end retail shops and democratized design by getting its furniture into one of the nation's largest stores: Costco.

Orange22's Dario Antonioni apparently had something to do with connecting Elite with Costco, so maybe he could help other mannies break in to larger markets, too.

Elite creates bars, barstools, casual dining and occasional tables from a modern mix of metals, glass and upholstery.

Surprised at Elite's entrance into Costco? Take a look at the store's other deals. It carries iconic styles like the Mies chair (that's the Barcelona); the International Collection (Le Corbusier's classic club chair with chrome details) and the Egg and Ball Chairs.

Posted on January 22, 2007 Permalink | Discuss Design! (0) | TrackBack

January 11, 2007

Richard Schultz

Our favorite father and son duo Richard and Peter Schultz emailed us today with the latest on the ongoings at famed Richard Schultz Design, Inc. The man who brought us the 1966 Collection is now bringing us something we like just as much--sales.

Check out these deals on the iconic and unmatchable Petal Table and the future classic Topiary Collection.


Schultz has a few Petal tables that they can make up with remaining stock of mahogany and redwood petals. They also have second quality white HDPE (high density polyester) petals available. Contact them directly at the plant as quantities are extremely limited.

Rsd_news_jan07_topiary Rsd_jan07_topiary

Schultz Design has also been cleaning up their shop preparing for next season and have assembled all their remaining stock of original 1/8" thick aluminum TopiaryTM and ConfettiTM. All new production is 3/16" thick, designed to be sturdy enough for the roughest contract uses. This is a chance for you to own a piece of design history at reduced prices. Contact your local dealer, which you can find here.

Posted on January 11, 2007 Permalink | Discuss Design! (0) | TrackBack

January 09, 2007

Home of the Future

It's 2007 folks. The future is here and you can get there by subway--assuming you're just a train ride away from the Time Warner Center in New York City. There, for the next three weeks, where there used to be a standard lobby is the Home to the Future. Ridiculously automated, electro-mated, and remote controlled, the Home to the Future infuses technology into every part of living.

The kitchen features over 200 channels of digital cable, high speed Internet and digital phone service with free calling in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. In the family room bonding in front of a huge television screen wont be interrupted by pesky phone calls. The caller ID will flash across the screen, so you wont have to move a muscle to see who's calling.

The Home to the Future exhibit is fully interactive, so don't be afraid to press a few buttons when you're there. The rest of us will have to check it out online at Home to the

Technorati Tags: , ,

Posted on January 9, 2007 Permalink | Discuss Design! (0) | TrackBack

October 25, 2006

Your Family, Branded


You may not know it, but you are a marketing maven. You've developed a split second ability to take in and understand advertising messages that are coming at you so often and so quickly, you probably don't even realize it. Everything's an ad, and they're insidious. Sometimes it's a beer commercial bundled with a movie pro-mo. Sometimes it's a billboard shrunken down to fit along the back of a park bench.

If something about it catches your eye and captures your interest, you'll take the information in. You know before you realize it if the shape or colors or symbols or sounds relate to something you're interested in. Just like you could use those cues to look at a line up of people and guess who would be most likely use an i-pod, or a barbeque grill, or a sewing machine.

Constant exposure to advertising has made you a brand expert, and you can match brands with their consumers. You can choose brands that sum up the way you see yourself (or want to see yourself), too. That's the idea Eric Alan, a creative director from L.A., had when he hired architect extraordinaire Neil Denari to redesign his family's modern home.

In order to design this very modern house, they had to come up with an overview of who the consumers (or, really the inhabitants) were going to be. They developed the Family Brand. It gave them a focus, a goal and an audience for which to build the project, which, like all great products, has a name--The Happy New House.

It was designed around such brand attributes as: "Artsy but not artsy-fartsy. Cultured by not elitist." and "Spontaneous but not disorderly."

See the whole house concept (it's still being built) here.

While it's not within everyone's scope or desire to build a brand new house designed by a famous architect, it is within our power to think about the idea of brand when we do other home improvements.

Remodeling a kitchen? Think about what you want to get out of it-- a place to relax, to entertain, to cook for a big family?  Think about what your attributes are. Do you go gaga for new technology, revel in luxury, insist on green goods?  Use your answers to develop a plan that will facilitate your needs, and build your home into a place that represents a brand you really care about: yours.

Technorati Tags: , ,


Posted on October 25, 2006 Permalink | Discuss Design! (0) | TrackBack

April 18, 2006

Internet Marketing Seminar

We will be speaking on Saturday, May 6, 2006 at Camp WorldWIT, in the Ozark Mountains in Missouri!

Our presentation is on search engine marketing on panel entitiled: "Brand Building: Tips on New Millennium Marketing." If you would like a special rate for the weekend, leave a comment and we'll email you the discount code!

Technorati Tags: ,

Posted on April 18, 2006 Permalink | Discuss Design! (0) | TrackBack

March 28, 2006

Brand Recognition & Home Furnishings

I was speaking with a well-known product designer who was worried that the Internet was enabling his designs to be copied and knocked off by factories in Asia. Sadly he's right. But the answer is not to pull up the drawbridge, or eliminate all images of products from the Internet. (Note to readers: this is an actual strategy by some misguided companies.)

While the temptation is great to lock up the designs and funnel customers to product only through the front doors of retailers who have purchased the goods -- this goes against the grain of what the rest of us want. Time has become so compressed that all of us consumers want the ability to research online, validate our decision and then and only then schlep to a store to make a purchase.

But that doesn't mean the designers and manufacturers have to roll over for the rip-off artists. Look at the music and motion picture industries which are faced with the same knock-off infringements perpetrated in countries that do not follow international copyright laws. Still, music insiders concede that without the net, there would be NO music sales. Kids listen to everything digitally -- and buy it all as downloads. There are studies that show that the bootleg actually increases the sale of real.

In fact, every consumer product can be knocked off -- Nike sneakers, Manolo Blahnik shoes, Gucci purses, Rolex watches -- but in all those cases the manufacturer has built equity into the BRAND. Most furniture brands are worthless: the retailer has ripped the tag off the furniture for 50 years, marketing products under its name instead.

Manufacturers have to start building their brand equity so when i go shopping I only want a specific label (signed by the Product designer!!) because the brand exudes sexiness and brilliance -- and I want my purchase to be associated with sexy and brilliant.

Manufacturers can keep their products off the web -- and out of site of our Googling fingers. They will be ripped off less -- but unfortunately out of business in 5 years.

What do you think? Do brands mean anything to you?

Posted on March 28, 2006 Permalink | Discuss Design! (1) | TrackBack

February 09, 2006


Modern_mixPressed_flowers Soft_chordLine_up

The FLOR Spring Catalog arrived at PURE CONTEMPORARY this week and we think they're really on to something. Sure, we already knew we liked the idea of a modular rug. It means endless design possibilities and, our favorite, customization. These along with the ability to pick up a dirty tile and wash it in the sink, or replace it altogether. We gushed over such things after interviewing the company's creative director, Laura Guido-Clark in December, but now FLOR has impressed us with something else.

They've established ingenious relationships with other retailers, manufacturers and businesses. It's the kind of "scratch my back" retailing we don't see nearly enough of in the furniture world. Products featured alongside rugs in the FLOR catalog are listed on each page with contact info for the retailer. The catalog is chock full of design standouts like lighting from Flos, Herman Miller seating, Nicole Farhi pillows. There's stuff from DWR, Cassina, Cappellini, Fritz Hansen, Klein Reid, even Target.

It's about time someone made scouting great pieces easy for shoppers. And of course, it's a nice way for FLOR to make friends in the industry.

Posted on February 9, 2006 Permalink | Discuss Design! (1) | TrackBack

December 05, 2005


Hmmm. Have you found the treasure in our Holiday Treasure Hunt?

Posted on December 5, 2005 Permalink | Discuss Design! (0) | TrackBack

November 01, 2005

Inflation's one thing, but Luxflation?

Targetoffi_1Luxflation is a new word hitting the lips of at least one marketing guru, Pam Danziger of Unity Marketing. Danziger says it describes the challenge luxury brands try to meet in the face of new, mass market competition like Walmart and Target. As mass market outlets begin taking up ad space to appeal to The New Yorker and Vogue reading set, they shrink the space between themselves and the next level luxury brands. In other words, the bottom is rising and so the top luxury brands must somehow rise too, to maintain their edge. Coming up with ways to make a luxury brand stack up higher than increasingly good looking competition is luxflation.

This is happening in furniture as high end names like Offi sell through Target and manufacturers like Excelsior try to grab the attention of fashionista consumers by licensing designs with Nicole Miller. Danzinger warns that to keep an edge in the luxury market, the high-end brands have to do a lot more than just consider raising their prices or even joining the new competition by offering their wares at traditionally lower-end stores.

He who wins in the game of luxflation will have to keep in mind the values of the consumer. Luxury buyers are willing to pay more only when they see a benefit associated with the expense. They have to know why an item is more expensive. In furniture, this is as easy as education. As Danziger says, “In the new luxury market price isn’t about the money, but the meaning. In order to raise prices, luxury marketers need to add more meaning, more value, more luxuriousness in a tangible way that delivers enhanced value to the consumers. That means they can’t just up the price, but they have to align their products and brand proposition with the consumer’s value system.”

In furniture, manufacturers and retailers need to point out the seamless welds, or top grain leather, or padded sofa backs. They should explain what high-density foam is and why it matters that their pieces are manufactured in Italy. Just showing a piece of furniture without differentiating it from the cheaply made knock off three stores down, is letting the uninformed consumer make up their mind on the only other aspect they’re likely to act on—price.

Posted on November 1, 2005 Permalink | Discuss Design! (0) | TrackBack

October 05, 2005

Blogging for Publicists

Recently I wrote an article for PRSA's Target on how publicists and marketing managers can benefit from blogging. Here is the article in its entirety. -- Diane

Three blogging corollaries that you need to know

By Diane P. Burley Diane_burley_headshot_1

A recent Alarm:Clock article argued that firms, particularly startups, abandon outside PR agencies and opt instead to groom talent in-house. The author contended that outside agencies aren’t particularly astute at picking up new communication tools such as blogging and podcasting and therefore aren’t worth their retainers.

Don’t gnash and gnarl over the thin premise of inside or outside PR counsel — that’s merely a red herring. The overall thrust should be a point well-taken: Blogging literacy is as important today as learning how to put a release on the wire service. In fact, blogging may finally be the Holy Grail for more billable and quantifiable hours.

The sound of the word blog may be foreboding, but the etymology is actually “log,” which most of us can handle. We log thoughts and hours. In the case of your clients, they prefer to see the results of the former — understanding that the latter will follow. A weblog is the full form of the word — with blog as the diminutive. For early adopters, blogs were a channel for dispensing one’s thoughts. However, I prefer to think of blogs as mechanisms for people to converse about a subject.

Download PR_Tactics_Blogging.pdf

Posted on October 5, 2005 Permalink | Discuss Design! (0) | TrackBack

Pure Contemporary on Facebook

your source for contemporary designs