The just-ended Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market was the Southern design hotspot to feature the latest looks in gifts, personal accessories, tabletop and home decor. Among the key material trends spotted for fall 2015: tartans, tassels, acrylic, gilded finishes, fur (especially curly Mongolian-style sheepskin), and gem-like minerals such as agate and pyrite, which enhanced all manner of home decor and personal accessories. Colorwise, neutrals continued to play an important role, standing on their own or as a foil to exuberantly colored merchandise that’s finding an increasingly enthusiastic buying audience.
Perhaps the richest repository of trend-driven home decor at the Atlanta market could be found among the temporary exhibitors in High Design and High Design Luxe, both located on Floor 1 in Building 2. The white-carpeted HD Home section on Floor 1 in Building 1 was also filled with sought-after, design-driven merchandise, as was Home & Design, the 100,000-square-foot collection of permanent showrooms that launched on Building 1’s Floor 15 in January.
One of the more noteworthy exhibitors in HD Home--or anywhere on the AmericasMart campus--was Oly Studio, which returned to the Atlanta market this summer with a collection of large statement-making organically inspired chandeliers and pendants, juxtaposed with the brand’s clean-lined furniture and accessories. Meanwhile, former HD Home exhibitor Ashley Childers, known for her early use of agate and gold-finished furnishings and accessories, relocated her trendsetting Emporium Home brand to a new permanent showroom on the 9th floor.
Global Views, which maintains a large permanent showroom in Home & Design, unveiled more than 100 products from the new Julia Buckingham Collection. Highlights: the Wiggle chair with its unusual shape and colorful cut-velvet upholstery and Modernique glassware with a Greek key motif rendered in vibrant orange.
In contrast, Bliss Studio was the epitome of elegant understatement, presenting a neutrally colored assortment of designer-oriented home furnishings against a showroom backdrop bathed in Sherwin-Williams’ Shoji, a rich, warm white. New merchandise included the Poduca Collection of embellished couture pillows, as well as accent tables and table lamps in a new warm gold finish.
Another noteworthy line was Rebel, the breakout brand from Waterford. Rebel targets young Millennials in price point, styling and marketing. The initial wave of Rebel product included jewelry (studded cuffs, earrings, rings, bracelets and pendants in bright gold and gunmetal gray); barware (decanters, martini, flute and cocktail glasses in ethereal shades of plum, blush and amber); and crystal giftware (studded perfume bottles, vases, and tabletop accessories with warm gold accents).
A special attraction for interior designers shopping the Atlanta summer market was the Portman White Vignette Exhibition. It featured the work of seven interior designers who used the new Sherwin-Williams’ signature paint color Portman White, named after architect, developer and founder and chairman of AmericasMart, as a backdrop. Five of the featured designers were Atlanta-based: Stan Topol, Brian Patrick Flynn, Michael Boyd, Kerry Howard and Niki Papadopoulos. Their work was shown alongside that of designers Michelle Workman and Kristin Alber.
Finally, the Atlanta market hosted the 2015 Icon Honors, which recognizes industry contributions, career achievements, as well as product, branding and technology innovations. This year’s ICON winners and their awards were:
Lifetime Achievement Honor – Howard Henschel of The Norman Group, owner of 46 Hallmark Gold Crown stores located throughout the Philadelphia area and central New Jersey
Gift & Home Trade Association Medal of Excellence Honor - RM Innovation of Louisville, KY, for its RM Datalink program, which automates retailers’ data product management process by streaming a vendor’s entire product catalog directly to a retail web store
AmericasMart Medal of Excellence Honor: Lee Industries of Conover, NC, for enduring contributions to the home furnishings industry for more than 46 years of continuous family ownership and operation
Product Innovation Honor: Kuhn Rikon of Novato, CA, for its Ratchet Grinder, a contemporary pepper and spice mill that combines an exclusive high performance ratchet mechanism with a ceramic stone grinder
Brand Identity Development Honor: Poketti of Palo Alto, CA, for its multichannel branding campaign, which was built by 15-year-old Sydney Loew and her younger sister, Toni
Contribution Honor for Community Influence: Lamon Luther of Villa Rica, GA, for furniture crafted by marginalized citizens struggling to overcome homelessness and addiction
The next edition of the Altanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market will be held Jan. 12-19, 2016.