Designer Timothy Corrigan says ‘no worry’ furniture a must have for luxury clients

Designer Timothy Corrigan says ‘no worry’ furniture a must have for luxury clients

HIGH POINT — There are a nearly endless number of trends forecasts for home each season, so how can manufacturers, retailers and designers respond with confidence? The Furniture Today trends advisory board weighs in, with this second in the series featuring Timothy Corrigan, CEO, Timothy Corrigan Inc.

At market, we heard, for example, that everyone was “looking for the next boucle.” However, many consumers still love it, which points to the fact that the industry is often ready to move on to the next thing before the consumer audience feels the same way. That said, how do each of you ascertain the life cycle of a “trend” for your customers/clients?

Corrigan:  I’ve been attending Maison et Objet in Paris for decades and have noticed that the trends often start in Europe, move to the U.S. design markets and then trickle down to consumer goods, finally ending up in close-out sales.

In some ways, it’s not surprising that people are still asking for boucle, just as there are many who still ask for gray painted rooms, long after that trend was fully dead. It can take a very long time for an “it” trend of the moment to really fall out of favor at the low end of the marketplace.

At a certain socioeconomic level, trends are incorporated into “forever” or more long-term home furnishings investments. What are some of the items/materials that will never go out of style, and how often do you incorporate these into your product development and/or product sourcing and specifying?

Corrigan:  Classic silhouettes that are beautiful and comfortable, such as the classic English armchair, a Knole sofa or a Klismos chair all stand the test of time. Patterns —stripes, toiles, florals and subtle woven patterns — are all timeless.

I often refer to archives or history books for inspiration when developing new products. Solid wood furniture is timeless, while furniture made by a 3D printer is likely to go out of style as quickly as it is produced.

Do you see consistency in what your customers/clients want for indoor and outdoor? If so, what are those “trends?” Materials? Certain aesthetics?

Some of the most enduring design influences include Neoclassical, English country house, symmetry, Blue and white color schemes, and white upholstered furniture, according to Corrigan.

Corrigan: Our clients are big fans of using materials for which they don’t have to worry about “how” they live in their homes. That means furniture finishes that don’t easily leave water or white heat rings on them.

When it comes to “performance” and outdoor fabrics, it is essential to note that they are not all created equal. I recently looked at a “performance” fabric that required dry-cleaning. That’s not performance. Outdoor fabrics that are made of polyester and are printed just don’t have the same performance as those made of solution-dyed acrylic.

With so many great options on the market, there’s no need to sacrifice beauty for practicality. We recently used solution-dyed acrylic fibers for the rug and chair fabric in the private dining room for a king of a country.

Finally, consumers as a general rule are holding onto their money right now. When do trends actually move a consumer to buy? Is it a guarantee with décor and not so much furniture, or are there “must haves” when it comes to how upholstery and case goods are presented within the trend conversation?

Corrigan: We try to steer our clients away from trendy furniture, which can be expensive and look quickly dated. For example, the current trend of circular upholstered furniture will soon go out of style.  If a client is fixated on a specific trend, we’ll accommodate them with an accessory, pillow fabric or paint color that can be easily swapped out when they tire of it (which they surely will).

See also:

  • Internationally renowned designer studies shifts on a global scale
  • What’s hot, What’s Not: The answers might surprise you
  • Century’s Shuford talks about doing business with ‘maturing trends’

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