An encore event coming in January 2017 By Laura Raines
In July 2016, AmericasMart created a new, juried collection of top-tier makers of lighting, textiles, and occasional furniture. DÉCOR | Light and Lifestyles comprised 20 sophisticated and cutting-edge manufacturers in a gallery-like space with spacious booths, hard walls and superb lighting on Building 1, Floor 8. The mix was surprising, but complementary with quality its bedrock.
“We know that buyers’ time is valuable. We wanted to give designers and home furnishing retailers a place to meet unique exhibitors, start conversations, spark creativity, and form relationships… to add a new dimension to the buying experience,” says Katie Inglis, director of sales, AmericasMart.
In January, DÉCOR | Light and Lifestyles will be back for an encore performance. The dialogue will continue with returning and new exhibitors with fresh product lines that speak to the latest home trends, because, as Inglis notes, “Everyone found value in this section.”
The intimate, juried collection was perfect for Austin Allen James, founder of Lawrence and Crane, Inc., who believes that art is energy. He expresses his love of color, movement and lyricism in paintings and occasional furnishings. “People buy these pieces for the way they look. They’re house jewelry,” he says.
“This was my first Atlanta market and DÉCOR was a magnificent platform,” says James. “I needed the hard walls, and lighting is so important to art,” he says. “I wanted to introduce my work to the Southern market, and Atlanta’s show does that in spades.”
He had three goals: to land with a splash, to articulate his style (he works in a neutral palette with resin, beeswax and satin finishes), and to sell well. Having checked off all three, he’ll return in January with new stackable trays and small tables with artwork floating under glass tops.
Shadow Becker of Cozy Nomad Designs brought his one-of-a-kind, hand-made throws and pillows fashioned from distinctive textiles found all over the world. He backs them with faux fur “to make them cozy, because people are investing in making their living spaces places where they can feel their best,” he says.
Already sold in 180 boutiques and furnishing stores, Atlanta’s DÉCOR re-inspired him, says Becker. “It helps to be around more artistically-driven vendors. There were so many creative, unique things, yet the energy was cohesive. I’m getting high hopes that this will be the place to be. It was one of our best shows ever,” says Becker. In January, he’ll show a new line of benches and stools made from reclaimed wood and covered in his signature blue and neutral patterned fabrics.
It was the first trade show that Nick Geimer and Lawson Ricketts, founders of Ngala Trading Company, had attended as exhibitors. “There was so much to learn, but we loved the feeling of community in this section. And we found new interior designer and retail customers,” says Geimer.
The two started an interior design and home furnishings store in Johannesburg in 2013, sourcing indigenous African pieces made by local artisans from horns, skulls, leather, hides and other natural materials. Finding a demand for high-quality, contemporary African works, they opened a showroom in New York City.
“With one Atlanta show under our belt, our next will be larger,” says Geimer. He plans to introduce new chandeliers, ottomans, leather and porcupine quill boxes, and zebra skin inlaid trays. “As that floor evolves, we know it will be juried and that it will bring together really interesting companies.”
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