It’s holiday time, and that means its also time to visit the Robert Allen Group and this afternoon I got the chance to see what the design team has been up to. It’s a very busy time at Robert Allen, I’m happy to say, as I saw from all the great new products. These ladies are quite busy–that is Jessica Smarsch, design manager, essentials upholstery, and Jane Riback, design director, contract. As I walked into the design studio, I was amazed at how much product there was laid out for me to look at and to find out just how much went into creating these various collections was exciting to hear. Jolie Cross Cohen, operating vice president, public relations, was also on hand to let me in on all the new goodies.
The table, as you could see was covered with swatches, new hospitality books, new designs, inspiration boards, and much more. The fabric design team thought carefully about what is really needed in the market: affordable products, luxurious colors and textures, multipurpose offerings, and something I was very excited to see–a new line for senior living facilities. Bold and lively colors and striking patterns including plums and greens and blues put into five color stories: Spa, Bouquet, Tuscan, Classic, and Mediterranean. A one-stop-shop for these senior living facilities, the Robert Allen Group will offer two books, one for multipurpose products (prints and bedding) and one for upholstery (everything else and outdoor too!). The company is even collaborating with Sherwin-Williams to make it that much easier for these properties to select finishes where coordinating low-VOC paint colors will be offered to match the fabrics. There is a new site that lets you learn about new offerings and color experts’ visions for ways to integrate paint colors and fabric designs called DesignStudio.
The hospitality fabric offerings are endless. Below is one of many inspiration boards for the contract market. The new hospitality book, which last year started with the Excursions collection, will feature fabric inspired by Europe. There is everything from designs with feathers (so much fun to look at) to cobalt blue and gold fabric used for bedding, drapery, and headboards. I also got to see more value-oriented fabrics that are multipurpose, come in five fabrics (2 tone basketweave, 2 tone dupioni, 1-inch stripe RR, ottoman RR, and 1/8-inch stripe RR) in 23 colors, and are domestically made. Talk about saving money and fuel. And how do you end a great meeting? What about walking across the street to Bryant Park to the pop-up Max Brenner chocolate store for some hot chocolate. A day full of treats–exciting new fabric and hot chocolate. What more could I ask for?