Fashion and streetwear brands like Supreme once dominated the art of limited edition. Today, the field of small-batch ceramics is the latest battleground for online shoppers vying for limited quantities of mugs and decorative items. Whatever happens next, stay in the know with our weekly roundup of headlines, launches and events, recommended reading and more.
At Condé Nast, employees of the media conglomerate’s editorial and entertainment brands division announced the formation of a union, formalizing the move by delivering a petition to management on Tuesday morning and demanding voluntary recognition of the NewsGuild of New York as their collective bargaining representative. The bargaining unit is made up of full-time and part-time editorial, video and production workers in roles such as Architectural Digest, Condé Nast Traveler, Vogue, Vanity Fair and more – if certified, it will become one of the largest bargaining units in recent NewsGuild history. The group is calling for a stronger commitment to workforce diversity, as well as greater job security, higher salaries, clearer paths to advancement and increased transparency in the workplace. Additionally, union workers are demanding the ability to challenge corporate cost-cutting measures such as layoffs, pay cuts and departmental consolidations. “Every day they give us more responsibility and tasks, but when the conversation turns to compensation or growth, management constantly finds ways to move the goal posts. We have no say in what we do, where we work and what we get paid, and we have no recourse to change it. But that will no longer be the case,” said Architectural Summary social media manager Elise Portale in the statement.
The Queen of England has appealed for a vacancy at Buckingham Palace, looking for a painter and decorator to provide the estate with ‘decorative finishes’ as part of a 369 palace renovation million pounds, the shimmer reports. Listed on the Royal Household’s website, the open position offers up to approximately $39,000 for the full-time position, which joins the team executing the interior and exterior design overhaul of the Royal Residence. Meanwhile, the renovation itself has drawn ire from British citizens, 150,000 of whom have signed a petition demanding that the Royal Family pay for the project themselves rather than dip into taxpayers’ money.
Ashley Furniture is slashing prices on most of its imported products, including accessories, bedding, outdoor furniture, upholstery and storage furniture, though they have yet to see a drop business costs. As Furniture today reports, CEO Todd Wanek shared the news in a letter to dealers, explaining that the price reduction was in part issued to improve their competitive advantage in the market. The retailer also noted that it would scale back the incremental increase for West Coast customers, citing the recent launch of a production facility in Arizona as a contributing factor.
Used furniture marketplace Kaiyo closed a $36 million Series B funding round led by Edison Partners, bringing its total fundraising to nearly $50 million. The new capital follows a boom period for the company, which has grown 100% every month for the past two years. With the new funds, Kaiyo is aiming beyond its home market in New York, with plans to expand its offerings to more locations across the country.
Online furniture auction startup Loveseat has secured $7 million in Series A funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners with participation from a group of angel investors, TechCrunch reports. Originally founded in 2013 as a vintage furniture company, the company pivoted in 2020 to focus on keeping surplus furniture out of landfills by auctioning off returned items through local online sales in marketplaces like than Austin, Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County. In the next stage of growth, Loveseat plans to expand into other markets; add operations, finance, and inventory sourcing talent to its leadership team; and expanding its offerings to include electronics and apparel.
Outdoor furniture brand Neighbor has completed a Series A funding round backed by Strand Equity – the amount was not disclosed. Founded in 2020 by former Tuft & Needle executives Nick Arambula, Mike Fretto and Chris Lee, the company was established as a direct supplier of sustainably produced outdoor furniture. With the new capital, the Phoenix-based company plans to invest in product development, team expansion and marketing initiatives.
Wendover Art Group has acquired Bluffton, SC-based craft lighting maker Lowcountry Originals for an undisclosed amount. Specializing in personalized and customizable home lighting and decor products, Lowcountry Originals was founded in 2009 by Becky Bracket, who will continue to lead product design and development after the acquisition. The deal will also bring The Light Post Boutique, the brand’s showroom and headquarters to Bluffton, under the Wendover Art Group umbrella.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced the creation of a new interdisciplinary center for design research, thinking and entrepreneurship within the School of Architecture and Planning, MIT News reports. Created with a $100 million gift from the Morningside Foundation, the MIT Morningside Academy for Design will launch in September 2022 with academic and research programs integrating fields of study such as engineering, science, management , computing, architecture, urban planning, and the arts, with the goal of tackling global issues such as climate adaptation, public health, transportation, and civic engagement. “One of the main goals of the academy is to help our students make a social impact as designers and to give them that direction in their work,” founding faculty member Maria Yang Recount MIT News.
Launches and collaborations
Cassina announces a new collaboration with the Italian architect and designer Antonio Citterio. He will present his first project within the Cassina 2022 collection, which will debut during Milan Design Week in the brand’s showroom. Citterio founded the architecture and interior design firm Antonio Citterio and Partners in 2000, and has received accolades throughout his career, while producing industrial design works featured in exhibitions at New York’s MoMA and at the Center Pompidou in Paris.
A new weekly video series titled Designer home visits debuted on YouTube, giving viewers a peek into the interior designers’ homes as well as their recent client projects. The project was carried by Laura Bindlossfounder of New York-based PR and social media agency, Nylon Consulting, and features designer Liz Caan as the first subject. Later episodes will spotlight talent such as Zoe Feldman, Robert Passall and Bella Mancinirelying on Nylon’s client list in addition to outsiders.
Mercato Place, the online platform for specifiers to browse resource libraries and order free textile samples, has partnered with three new brands for on-site offerings, welcoming LebaTex, Room & Board and InsideOut Performance Fabrics.
Created by interior designer Sheila Bridges in 2006, the Harlem Toile pattern has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, gaining attention for its depictions of black American culture within the context of traditional 18th-century French design. For the New York Times, Veronica’s Rooms unpacks the visual elements and historical influences that make the pattern resonate, exploring the roots of traditional Toile de Jouy, Bridge’s creative journey, and the influential owners and brands who adopted the style. “Like so many Harlem Toile fans, for me the motif is a conversation between past, present and a hopeful future, one where Radio Raheem’s boombox lives forever, one where girls double-hop the Dutch and Blacks ride horses and play hoops,” Chambers writes.
As the Russian invasion forces 10 million Ukrainians from their homes, neighboring European countries are experiencing an increased need for emergency shelter. In Poland, an effort led by the Japanese Pritzker Prize-winning architect Shigeru Ban offers a possible solution to the housing crisis. As Kriston Caps reports for Bloomberg, Ban mobilizes the Voluntary Architects Network, a non-profit organization he founded in 1995, to set up refugee centers through partitioned construction methods. The organization enlisted Polish architects, design students and volunteers from neighboring countries to implement Ban’s partition system, using a series of rigid paper tubes and textile curtain dividers to transform a vacant supermarket into a processing center for refugee arrivals. The group is currently working on at least five additional centers that will open soon in Poland, with more planned in Paris and Germany as the exodus continues.
Available homes are hard to come by in today’s housing market, but a recent drop in homeowner occupancy rates in the United States could be a sign of positive things to come. A new study by real estate brokerage firm Redfin has found that the typical homeowner spent 13.2 years in their home in November 2021, down slightly from the 13.5 years recorded in the same month in 2020, but still far from the average of 10.1 years in 2012. For a better overview of the data, the New York Times‘ shows the cities where people have stayed the longest, as well as local median sale prices.
Call for applications
The Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium is now accepting entries for its second annual Design Challenge, presented in partnership with design brands Kartell and Alessi. Exploring the intersection of goods and design, the competition invites designers and design students to develop product concepts that elevate culinary and eating rituals. Entries will be evaluated on three category principles – diversity, zero waste, and aging – and will be judged by a judging panel that includes PepsiCo’s Chief Design Officer. Mauro Porcinidesigners Karim Rachid and Fabio Novemberand director of Michael Graves Architecture & Design Donald Strum. For more information or to apply before May 6, click here.
Homepage image: Used furniture marketplace Kaiyo closed a $36 million Series B funding this week. | Courtesy of Kaiyo