I almost didn’t make it to High Point Market.
Two hours before my flight was scheduled to depart from New York City for Greensboro, North Carolina, it was cancelled. The only thing I could do was momentarily freak out to my co-worker, Managing Editor Katie Kervin, exclaiming via Gchat that I had to find a way to get to the “Furniture Capital of the of the World.” Her advice was to start looking for rental car services. I think she was joking.
Luckily, it didn’t come to that. I did make it to the NEWH North Carolina’s second Hospitality Designers Day at High Point Market on time and without too much drama.
To understand High Point Market, you have to understand High Point, North Carolina. The city has a population of a little more than 100,000, and it’s all about furniture. It is really not hyperbole that it’s the “Furniture Capital of the World.” Walking through the downtown area, you see furniture store after furniture store. There’s nary a Starbucks in sight (there probably are some; I didn’t check). It makes sense, then, that High Point Market—held twice a year, in October and April—is one of the most well-known furniture shows in the U.S.
High Point Market showcases the best of the industry—how trends are created more than they are repeated, and how I am consistently drawn to the most expensive product, including but not limited to wooden floors from Greyne Flooring made of centuries-old Italian olive trees.
I was invited by Karen Appert, principal of Appert Marketing Group and board member of NEWH’s North Carolina chapter, to spend the day touring 20 different showrooms throughout the city. From 7 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., we looked at lighting from Currey, carpets from Surya, avant-garde designs from the Phillips Collection (including a chair made of seat belts that was featured in The Hunger Games movies), and furniture from Lazar, amongst many, many others.
Hospitality is an industry that is embracing new visions, beautiful architecture, and furniture, lighting, flooring, textiles, and accessories reflected in iconic trends. At the first stop of the day, Alan Robbins, director of hospitality sales at Designmaster Furniture told us “good design can go anywhere,” and High Point Market was the best example of this credo.
The day certainly tested my physical stamina—walking to and from showrooms tantalized by beautiful furniture but unable to sit on every piece is a struggle—but it was well worth it. Each showroom and every person I met proved to me why hospitality design is growing in importance, and why High Point is much more than a small town in North Carolina.