Atlanta: Record Start for Gift & Home

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The winter gift and home décor show season got off to a record start at the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market, Jan. 12-19. The semi-annual event was buoyed by a bevy of new products, new exhibitors, expanded showrooms and record year-over-year attendance.

The Atlanta winter market provided the first opportunity for most buyers to see and experience product in Pantone’s pastel blue and pink 2016 colors of the year: Serenity and Rose Quartz. Showcasing the newsworthy hues were lobby vignettes created by interior designers Michel Smith Boyd and Kristin Alber Design. Alber’s ethereal vignette featuring furniture, accessories and accents in Serenity and Rose Quartz was especially well done and showed just how beautiful and surprisingly livable the palette could be. Color aside, Alber’s use of clear acrylic furniture, dyed long-haired fur accents, natural stones, and warm burnished gold details channeled key material and finish trends for early 2016.

True to form, the Atlanta winter market was once again an important venue for seeing the newest in tabletop, with floors 9 and 10 in Building 2 showcasing wares from top brands such as Waterford/Wedgwood/Royal DoultonJuliskaVagabond House and Michael Aram. Waterford introduced the Dungarvan crystal collection of vintage 1950s-era patterns on new silhouettes, as well as the Town & Country Collection of crystal drinkware and metal giftware, including ice buckets, trays, and two-tier servers. High-end tabletop resource Vagabond House, known for its rustic pewter styling, introduced a line of hefty and equally pricey lamps with pewter bases in the shape of an owl, frog and alligator. Arte Italica showed its new Marina Collection in antique white with a shell motif, while Annie Glass also had several new collections inspired by the sea.

Also making big waves at the January market were tabletop resources with picture perfect presentations. Hester & Cook along with Saro, which marked its 35th anniversary by expanding its Atlanta showroom from 6,000 to 8,000 square feet, were rich repositories of new merchandising ideas. Table runners and placemats printed with on-trend patterns and colors were paired with dinnerware for a host of striking, but affordable, looks for almost any occasion. Among the standout themes were ethnic ikats, nautical/seaside living and Americana/Fourth of July, which rivals Valentine’s Day and Halloween as one of America’s favorite holidays for decorating.

Following its recent recapitalization by private equity firm Freeman Spogli & Co. and new parent company, Regent Holding, Creative Co-Op was bursting at the seams with 19 new and refreshed collections, including a shabby chic version of French chateau and updated takes on country and farm style. The Pure Collection showcasing layers of muted, tonal merchandise inspired by natural materials exuded Millennial appeal, as did Smudge, a moody collection of black, gray and cream furnishings and accents designed to mix and match.

Outside the permanent showrooms, one of the easiest and most rewarding places to shop at the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market was the temporaries, which according to JoAnn Miller Marshall, executive vice president of AmericasMart trade shows, posted “100 percent year-over-year growth in international exhibiting companies with globally sourced product.” Marshall said that the growth in international exhibitors parallels the expansion of AmericasMart temporaries mix, which included more than 2,000 companies.

The next Atlanta Gift & Home Furnishings Market runs July 12-19, 2016. The summer market will feature the debut of ANTIQUES, a curated collection of authentic, one-of-kind home furnishings presented by top-tier dealers from the United States and abroad in more than 30,000 square feet of exhibition space. Also new at the July event will be Décor—Light and Lifestyles, new juried collections of furniture, lighting and home decor.

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