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Modern Global Housewares & Lots More: Umbra’s Extensive Product Line

What began as the quest for an affordable window shade has blossomed into Umbra, a business that prides itself on modern, functional design, and utmost affordability.

Today, Umbra employs a large, dedicated, and above all, an extremely talented group of designers recruited from across the world. Together, their collaborations become the furniture, frames, wall decor, kitchenwares, and more that grace homes in over 120 countries.

We sat down and talked with Umbra’s president, Les Mandelbaum, at the Summer 2017 NY NOW design tradeshow because we were drawn to this Toronto-based company’s ingenuity and distinctive vision. Plus, Umbra’s booth at NY NOW was a definite showstopper. When asked to describe Umbra, Les stated, “We do everyday items for the home with the flair of modern design, functionality, and affordability. It’s all accessible and casual.”

Sounds like heaven!

Keeping Your Pearls Organized Since 1980

For Les and his team, one of the hallmarks of the company is the emphasis on creating products that work for smaller environments, such as their line of jewelry containers and holders.

The first thing our NY NOW media team took notice of at the Umbra exhibition was the accessory Hammock. Similar to a file cabinet, the hammock is ideal for holding eye glasses, cell phones, and other accessories you like to keep handy. The neutral suede material is structured by chrome wire. It’s the perfect holder for an end table or even an entryway table. How handy!

And that’s not all. Umbra has a broad range of jewelry organization products, from basic trays and this European-inspired Stowit Jewelry Box to an array of jewelry stands.

Another standout from NY NOW was the Zoola and Anigram Ring Holders. They’re not only functional—they’re adorable! Whether your spirit animal is a bunny rabbit, elephant, or rooster, you’re bound to find an animal you just have to have.

Versatile Barware

Have you ever been invited to a housewarming party but didn’t have the slightest idea what to get the host? Rest assured, there’s something available for just this circumstance from Umbra. Take, for example, Umbra’s rustic yet modern barware offerings.

This Spike Corkscrew is a definite crowd-pleaser, as are these metal jiggers and the Drinking Buddy, a tool you’ll never leave for a party without.

Functional Décor

Modern design is known to mesh function and aesthetics, which is something Umbra focuses on in all their creations, including wall art. In fact, their shelves, clocks, planters, and even frames are beautiful on their own, but they serve vital purposes as well!

The invisible book shelf, appropriately called Conceal, was another product on display at NY NOW that we know would be perfect in any room of your house. Plus, it comes in white, silver, and nickel and in a wide variety of sizes.

According to Les, the best-selling product this season has definitely been the TRIGG wall planters, featuring mixed media ceramic and metal. We’ve been hearing from a lot of designers that mixed media is “in,” and these wall planters prove why!

It’s always nice to run across a product line that’s trendy, affordable, and 100 percent designer-inspired. Let’s face it, that’s not always the case. So don’t forget to check out Umbra the next time you need a home accessory for yourself or a friend!

Shop Umbra here and stay tuned for the exclusive interview with Les Mandelbaum, company president, on our website in the coming days.

The Best of Brazil: Designer Roberta Schilling at NY NOW

“I am very inspired by my own country,” says Roberta Schilling, a native of Brazil. She’s been bringing the creative spirit of South American design to the United States since 1995 when she founded RS Collective, specializing in distributing high-end Brazilian furniture. Since then, Roberta has expanded her business, and now distributes accessories and other unique Brazilian décor. Roberta works as a curator, picking and choosing the best that Brazil has to offer and bringing it over to the American market.

“We work with local artisans in Brazil using recycled materials and natural materials. The focus is always trying to stay upbeat and wow our customers [using] quality materials,” she said of her process.

The Miami-based design house really does bring the wow factor with pieces ranging from surreal sculpted wooden chairs to gorgeous molded glassware made from reclaimed materials. In the art category, it’s easy to get swept up in the story the indigenous sculptures tell. The pieces all have a distinct, warm personality that only true artisans can produce.

“It’s a beautiful country. Our people are amazingly creative,” said Roberta about her collaborations with local artists and artisans. She works hard to give back to the community that she grew up in and still holds close to her heart.

“It’s a privilege to be able to give back to our community of very special and creative artisans,” says Roberta.

Versatility is something else that makes the Roberta Schilling product line a designer gem.

She says, “Our product line is actually a treat for designers because everything can be customized to the dot.”

This means that if a designer is so inclined, they can mold any given piece to fit their aesthetic.

According to Roberta, designers can choose different woods, materials, and lacquers. They can even change the size of their product.

“They can make it as they wish,” she said.

Being this versatile, especially with such high-quality sophisticated pieces is a welcome rarity in the design world. Willingness to be this flexible ensures longevity, especially when working with designers in an ever-changing marketplace.

With this mix of unique local perspectives and classic design techniques (Roberta’s first inspiration was fine Brazilian colonial antiques), the products are guaranteed to be bold, fresh, and full of rich history.

When asked what is next for her company, Roberta says it’s a never-ending story.

“The next step is to keep us ahead of the game,” she says. “It’s to be on the edge. It’s to be wowing and surprising our clients with fresh, new, amazing products.”

It won’t be hard for Roberta to stay on the edge of design trends. Her varied collection is pitch-perfect for any designer who desires quality and versatility. 

House Tipster Finds New Design Trends Close to Home in NYC

Our House Tipster media team has traveled a lot recently, visiting design markets in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. But who knew we’d find a plethora of inspiration right in our own backyard?

Currently, we’re covering NY NOW, the Market for Home, Lifestyle and Gift at the Javits Center in the heart of New York City. This well-attended event runs from Aug. 19-23, and features over 2,400 exhibitors across the interior design spectrum.

We hit the ground running on Day 1, and along the way, we’ve met dozens of brand representatives, product designers, and design aficionados. One thing is for sure: Everyone here at NY NOW is all about learning and sharing emerging trends.

And we love it!

Over the next few days, be sure to stay tuned for more in-depth coverage of the event, including exclusive interviews and trend previews. If you can’t wait any longer, go ahead and read on to learn about these amazing exhibitors and their state-of-the-art products.

Baobab Collection

Baobab’s scented candles are anything but ordinary. After a quick visit to the Baobab booth at NY NOW, we couldn’t stop talking about the intricate designs and the focus on both craftsmanship and respect for the environment from this Belgium-based company.

Each of the candles in the Baobab Collection is expertly made by hand, beginning with the hand-blown glass that surrounds each candle, down to the use of raw materials for the candle and wick.

The company’s current bestseller is the Black Pearl scented candle, an intriguing infusion of black rose and ginger. Trust us, it smells delicious!

To shop the Baobab Collection, head to their website.

Business France

French-made products are all the rage, according to Catherine Martin of Business France. She’s part of a team helping to bring the high-quality of French craftsmanship here to the US and around the world.

Here at NY NOW, we were presented with multiple products all manufactured and exported from France. Per Catherine, each one of the 15 companies here at this booth represents the best of the best in terms of French quality.

We especially loved the sprawling selection of glassworks from La Rochere and textiles from Garnier-Thiebault. It was obvious that these are top-notch products that homeowners are bound to fall in love with, the world over!

Learn more about the demand and availability of French-made products courtesy of Business France here.

Bloomingville

Bloomingville, a leading Danish brand that recently launched in the United States 18 months ago, considers NY NOW their home away from home.

According to Gary Sherman, a representative from Bloomingville, the company is all about covering all elements of the home, “everything from dinnerware, furniture, and lifestyle products. We have it all.”

The European influence on the line of goods sold by Bloomingville is obvious, from the clean lines and the focus on natural, organic products like wood, terra-cotta, stoneware, and wool. We instantly saw this collection as versatile and timeless— they have a little something for everyone.

You can find Bloomingville products everywhere from big name stores like Bloomingdale’s as well as smaller “mom and pop” gift and retail stories. Check out their extensive collection on their website.

ANNA by Rablabs

Anna Rabinowicz began her career in design as a professor focusing on biologically-inspired design in New York. As she began putting her own styles together in her grandmother’s basement in Queens, Anna realized that she had something special going on.

Fast forward 15 years and ANNA by Rablabs is setting the standard when it comes to nature-inspired luxury products. Whether you’re interested in a dining table, furniture, lighting, or decor, this line has it.

Today, there are over 500 pieces in the ANNA by Rablabs collection and they’re sold at over 500 retailers worldwide. Though all the evolution and growth of the business, Anna continues to make home items that resonate with buyers using materials formed inside the earth millions of years ago.

To browse and shop ANNA by Rablab’s timeless collection, head to her website.

Zenza Home

We were fortunate to speak at length with Jasmina from Zenza Home out of Amsterdam. Although Zenza came to the US market just a few short years ago, they brought with them a design vibe that matched the trends of the American landscape.

The Egyptian-made light fixtures featured at NY NOW were intricate and very “bohemian.” Actually, much of their product line reflects this international, bohemian vibe, mostly because craftsmen and artisans throughout the world made these product with their own two hands.

Some of the most popular designs include brass light fixtures and textiles made of Tibetan lamb’s wool.

Check out Zenza Home’s collection here.

Lola Sanchez: Oliver Gal

There are many art-related exhibits here at NY NOW, but Oliver Gal definitely stood out to our House Tipster team. Maybe it’s because this 5-year old company manufactures art for a younger, trendy crowd.

We were drawn to their custom Italian frames, painted feathers, and the perfect sheen of their gold frames, all made here in the US. According to Lola Sanchez, the inspiration behind their designs comes from the fashion world in Miami and throughout Europe.

Lola’s seen a lot of great trends and ideas here at NY NOW that she can’t wait to bring back to her design team and see what they can put together for next season.

If you’re interested in creative wall art, including everything from neon signs to round acrylic art, then shop the Oliver Gal line.

Wow! What a great day at NY NOW Summer 2017! And we’re just getting started.

Keep up with our Instagram and Facebook pages for the latest updates from NY NOW. We’ll be back tomorrow with more product and companies features you’re bound to love.

Keeping It Simple is Winning Approach of Danish Home Design Co.

The world may be complicated, but Denmark-based Bloomingville  is showing that home and interior design doesn’t have to be.

Because of its commitment to hassle-free home styles with a Nordic influence, Bloomingville was one of the home companies that drew the attention of NY NOW tradeshow on Monday.

We just couldn’t wait to introduce this company to our readers after discovering how its Northern Scandinavian/European influence fits in nicely with American décor both in its natural composition and its no-stress approach to decorating.

“Our roots for Bloomingville – the DNA – is how do we make simple changes that people can redecorate and update and renew their home with just simple additions,” said Garry Schermann, working with Bloomingville as senior vice president of sales at Creative Co-op.

That simple approach was the philosophy of Betina Stampe when she founded the leading European brand, Bloomingville, in 2000 and it remains the focus today.

“What you get from Bloomingville is a European brand with a younger sensibility – something for the next-generation consumer,” Schermann said.

Bloomingville is a home brand that’s all about lifestyle, which means everything for the home from dinnerware to furniture. All the products have a natural feel and are manufactured in 10 to 15 different countries in any given year.

“Bloomingville is interesting,” said Schermann. “It’s a Danish brand so it has a Northern Scandinavian/European feel to it. The lines are clean, the product is made with a lot of natural materials. So you’ll see 100 percent wool, lanolin, New Zealand sheep wood, terra cotta, stoneware.”

The trends we discovered with Bloomingville include organic shades and materials, and things that can easily be introduced to any home environment.

This means reclaimed wood, terra cottas, stoneware, and lots of woven material, said Schermann.

“Bloomingville is a leading European brand. We acquired it in 2015 and launched it here in New York about one and a half years ago,” said Schermann. “NY NOW is our first major market, and we’ve had nothing but success. NY NOW is our home away from home.”

Moving forward, Bloomingville will continue to take its brand beyond its European roots to focus on the sensibilities of the American household.

“As we continue to grow our objective is to integrate Europe into that American sensibility but not to lose sight of what American consumer needs to update and refresh and make their home fun and interesting,” said Schermann.

Bloomingville’s interior styles can be found at independent retailers from the big chains like Bloomingdale’s to gift and home stores owned by mom and pop.

Schermann talked about how the mom and pop influence is spreading, saying, “Really wherever you are in your neighborhood, you probably have someone that’s just finding out about Bloomingville.”

The Human Factor Makes for the Quality of Chandra Rugs

Chandra is big on modern design and also big on humans. It’s a winning combination that means not only colorful and design-intense rugs, but those of the highest quality, as Las Vegas Market.

 

“We’re a small family-owned and operated business…We’ve been producing rugs for probably about 40 years,” said Ravi Tiwari, co-founder and vice president of Chandra, based in Georgia.

What makes Chandra really special, he said, is that everything at Vegas and in its extensive rug collection is the work of skilled artisans.

Chandra is known for its ultra-pure New Zealand wool in artsy designs and colors that are a great hard-floor accompaniment in any room. We especially like the Inhabit line with its florals in shades like green, blue, tan, black, and gray, capitalizing on the floral trend in home décor.

“We believe in the element of producing things by hand and involving humans as opposed to machines in the process,” Tiwari told House Tipster during Day 3 of the Vegas show. “So everything you see in the showroom is handmade, which is really nice!”

Another element that makes Chandra rugs stand out is that the company creates its own yarn (with the exception of polyesters) for use in the majority of its creations.

By making its own yarn, Chandra has control over the final product, which is often not the case when rug companies buy lots of yarn from yarn manufacturers, Tiwari said.

“It helps with consistency, quality control, and it just looks finer,” he said of what happens when rugs are made of the best yarn.

The company’s mantra is: “We believe in personal relationships, engaging design, and quality craftsmanship.”

Using only the finest yarn helps keep the quality part of that mantra going strong.

Tiwari explained that rug manufacturers that don’t start with their own yarn might get stuck with shorter pieces of yarn being glued together to achieve length.

“What yarn companies will do is glue pieces together and make larger strands. It’s a bad thing,” he said.

That’s because this practice doesn’t hold up as well in everyday use, according to Tiwari.

“When you have white next to bright blue, if that bleeds, you’re done for,” he said.

By contrast, Chandra strives for the natural feel and beautiful sheen that comes through when yarn is cared for properly and not stripped of all the oils it needs to look healthy.

To make this happen Chandra has worked with generations of skilled artisans while shunning mass production by machine.

The goal of all this is to deliver to customers an authentic hand-crafted rug – something worthy of Chandra’s reputation as a company that started with founder Chandra Tiwari, a true groundbreaker in the rug industry.