American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame Unveils Exhibit Concepts

The vision for the 23,500-square-foot permanent home at 311 S. Hamilton Street is to create a sense of community and connection.

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American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame
The 23,500-square-foot permanent home will be located at 311 S. Hamilton Street.

The American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame has unveiled the concept for its exhibits and activities as a world-class gathering place and a center for leadership in the heart of the High Point Market. The vision for the 23,500-square-foot permanent home at 311 S. Hamilton Street is to create a sense of community and connection, an engaging experience that changes people and inspires them to create a beautiful home.  

Rich in technology, the presentation will be inspirational and forward facing as a place where leaders will meet to generate new ideas and relationships, focused on creating the next generation of leaders.  The exhibits are being designed by Roto, an international exhibit design, fabrication and installation firm, based in Columbus, Ohio. The firm is known for combining the latest in immersive theater, interactivity, embedded technology and social participation with a commitment to preservation and scholarship.  The building has been designed by Freeman Kennett Architects to function as a worthy symbol of the industry and a hub of innovation, excellence and leadership. It is scheduled to open in 2022.

“The building’s design is stunning and the exhibit concepts are brilliant. People are attracted to places that ignite the imagination. Our home, with great intention, will become the genesis for new thinking, for creativity and thought-provoking conversation among those in the Leaders Circle,” says David Gebhart, Hall of Fame Board Chairman and Creative Team member.  “It will benefit all of us at a time when consumers are passionate about their homes.”

“Industries much smaller than ours have a Hall of Fame. Why is it that our $150 billion industry, which furnishes millions of homes around the globe, does not have a home? This industry deserves nothing less,” says Hall of Fame Board 1st Vice President and Creative Team Member Caroline Hipple.  “We are creating a long-needed hub for activities designed to generate pride among our industry, as well as among consumers, for the place that we call home.”

The Creative Team is comprised of David Gebhart, Global Views; Caroline Hipple, Norwalk Furniture; Larry Rogers, consultant and Building Committee chairman; Mark Phillips, Phillips Collection; Mike Herschel, Furniture Marketing Group; Kyle Hughes, Hall of Fame historian; and Karen McNeill, Hall of Fame. 

Notes Karen McNeill, Hall of Fame CEO, “It is time to build well-earned pride in ourselves as an industry, and to capture the attention of future leaders through a concerted effort to promote the career opportunities and personal rewards of what we do.  The home furnishings industry inherently thrives on changing fashion trends and products, uses technology extensively from design through manufacturing to delivery to the customer, is rooted in a deeply relational culture, and serves a noble purpose: we improve lives by creating beautiful homes. We are an amazing industry with a story to tell.” 

The Hall of Fame has long been building a body of work, including 29 Hall of Fame inductee documentaries, manufacturing videos, photography and memorabilia.  A significant new element will be the creation of an industry training video, “The Inside Story of Home Fashion: Creating the Place We Call Home.” 

“Everyone will want their teams and new employees to watch this video,” says Keith Koenig of City Furniture and one of the capital campaign co-chairs who suggested the idea. “The people behind the scenes at our companies – much less consumers – know very little about the total picture of the fashion, design, manufacturing, marketing and sale of furnishings.  The Hall of Fame is on a mission to create value and interest during a period that I believe is fast becoming the Golden Age of Furniture.  When you see this video, everyone in the industry will want to be included.”

A Hub for Gathering

In our research before we started the design concept, the Hall of Fame met with more than a dozen museums and centers. The first question they all asked was, “For sustainability and ongoing income, what is your meeting space going to be like?” As a result, multiple meeting spaces have been carefully and strategically incorporated into the plans for use by our industry, area businesses and the community. In short, the space is designed for people to gather, to learn, to share and to celebrate.

  • The Celebration Hall will seat 400, supported by a catering kitchen for full service events.  We also have included features that will make it a perfect setting for weddings and family celebrations.
  • The Display Galleries can be used to host cocktail and other small events.
  • The Leaders Board Room will accommodate meetings of up to 50, or can be split into two smaller meeting rooms.

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. As the Hall of Fame moves from concept design to the next phase of exhibit design, these are examples of the approach to the exhibits:

  • The Inspiration Theater will present the scope of the industry through a fast-paced documentary: The Inside Story of Home Fashion: Creating the Place We Call Home.
  • Digital introductions to the inductees will be told from the perspective of their innovations and contributions, what inspires them, how they lead, and examples of managing through challenging times.
  • A discovery place for the jobs and people behind the scenes will kindle interest in what we do and how we do it.
  • A Tell Us Your Story Video Booth, for the industry, will capture the stories of what it’s like to be a product designer, a merchandiser, a sales rep, a retailer, a manufacturer.  Visitors also will be able to tell their stories of home.
  • It will be a learning experience about how various products are made. 
  • Interactive Discovery Centers will focus on style and design.
  • The Spotlight Galleries will highlight new trends and technology.
  • From the outside, visitors will be greeted by the Grand Story Wall, a digital matrix of interlaced LED screens, each programmed with photography and videos.
  • Inwardly facing the Celebration Hall, the Dynamic Story Wall can be used as a backdrop for presentations and training, or purely for setting a mood of inspiration.  
  • Using the Dynamic Story Wall in the Celebration Hall, it will be the perfect setting for CEU seminars and training sessions.

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