The American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame will host a groundbreaking event on Oct. 15 at 8 a.m. at 311 S. Hamilton St. The 17,500-square-foot building will be expanded into a 23,500-sq.-ft. hub of innovation, excellence and leadership in the heart of the High Point Market.
“This is as much a step forward for the industry as it is for the Hall of Fame,” says Caroline Hipple, president of the Hall of Fame board of directors and president of Norwalk Furniture. “We are grateful for the breadth of support that continues to grow across all segments of the industry. With this groundbreaking, we are bringing to reality the vision for a Center for Leadership to celebrate the leaders who inspire us and to show gratitude to the industry that has given each of us so much.
“During the pandemic, we revisited the plans, improved the designs and added depth to the function. Our new home will be inspirational in both design and purpose – it will be a living, breathing space where people gather and future generations are encouraged,” she says. “Consumers and industry members alike can come to learn about and be inspired by all facets of the home furnishings industry, its people, its processes, its products and its scope. Here, people will come to learn about the latest trends and technology as well as to examine historic artifacts and stories.”
“We have assembled a world-class team of architects and exhibit designers to help us create a home worthy of our $150 billion industry and one that will serve our industry,” says Larry Rogers, building committee chair and retired president and CEO of Sealy Inc. “We have been diligent in our search for a site within walking distance of the center of the High Point Market to make our new home easily accessible during Market and now we are thrilled to move forward with construction.”
The Building Committee, chaired by Rogers, includes Hipple; David Gebhart, Global Views; Mark Phillips, Phillips Collection; Mike Herschel, Furniture Marketing Group; Kyle Hughes, Hall of Fame historian; and Karen McNeill, Hall of Fame. Designed by Freeman Kennett Architects, the new space will incorporate glass, steel, concrete and digital imagery to reinterpret elements of masonry buildings that were common to early furniture manufacturing. A clerestory roof, which introduces day lighting and ventilation, will look decidedly current yet mimic techniques formerly used in American factory construction. The most imposing design element is the two-sided Dynamic Story Wall, a digital matrix of interlaced LED screens visible from the street on one side and throughout the interior on the other, which will be used to tell the many stories of the home furnishings industry on a grand scale.
The exhibits are being designed by Roto, an international exhibit design, fabrication and installation firm. Roto is known for combining the latest in immersive theater, interactivity, embedded technology and social participation with a commitment to preservation and scholarship.
Organized around four themes, the exhibits will be presented as the industry, the people, the process and the products, featuring interactive displays designed to teach and entertain.
The Exhibits Creative Team for the new building is comprised of David Gebhart, Global Views; Caroline Hipple, Norwalk Furniture; Lauren Estep, Hall of Fame executive vice president, Kyle Hughes, Hall of Fame historian; and Karen McNeill, Hall of Fame CEO.
Capital campaign donors include: The Wanek family and Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc.; Bill and Carolyn Hinks, Furniture Mart USA; Surya; Furniture of America; International Market Centers; Lacquer Craft USA; Manwah Holdings; Neil and Robin Goldberg, Raymour & Flanigan Furniture; Rooms to Go; Karen McNeill and Stephen Pond; The Broyhill Family Foundation; Bill and Candy Fenn; Roger and Martha Bland; Michael Amini , AICO; Keith Koenig, City Furniture; Chad Spencer, Dufresne Spencer Group; Hooker Furnishings Corporation; Amini Audi, L. & J.G. Stickley; Palecek; Bill and Julia Wittenberg; Schwarz Properties; Jake Jabs, American Furniture Warehouse; Bernhardt Furniture Company; Hassell Franklin, Franklin Corporation; Patrick Cory, Joseph Cory Holdings, LLC; Markor International Furniture; Nebraska Furniture Mart; Nourison Industries; Furniture First; The BB&T Foundation; the DRIVE Foundation; Mickey Holliman, Five Star; The Furniture Foundation; David Gebhart and Frederick Rayner, Global Views; Havertys Furniture Companies; Skipper Holliman, Jr., HomeStretch; Jofran, Inc.; Amir Loloi, Loloi Rugs; Phillips Collection; Planned Furniture Promotions; Martin and Mary Ann Ploy; Prestige Arts/Art Trends; Jeff Child, R.C. Willey Home Furnishings; RHF Companies; John Bray, Vanguard Furniture Company, Inc.; Lyle Harris, Behold Home; Lawrence Rogers; J. Don Coleman, Coleman Consulting LLC; Bruce and Kena Cohenour; Andrew Bernstein, FurnitureDealer.Net; Bill and Sue Kimbrell; Norwalk Furniture; Jim Sneed, Affordable Furniture; Bobby Bush; Randy Coconis, Coconis Furniture; Russell Bienenstock, Furniture World; Julius M. Feinblum Real Estate, Inc.; The Ina Mae Kaplan Historic Preservation Fund; Don Belgrad; Jerry Epperson; Gill Bro’s Furniture; Infinger Furniture; Michael Alan Furnishings; New Atlantic Construction; Slone Bro’s Furniture; Will Somers; Stegar’s Furniture; Suburban Furniture; Imogene Zimmerman and Guardian Protection Products.