Let’s start by saying High Point is a staple event on the interior design calendar and holds a significance for many players in the industry. This year, Fathom Design Company attended High Point to get a perspective on the current market and the direction we’re headed in terms of furniture and interior design. For your reference, Fathom Design Company is owned and operated by artistically driven millennials… so for the first time ever you get OUR generation’s perspective on High Point Market!
And boy do we have some thoughts to share…
We noticed several established companies presented a new line geared towards millennials and most of us found it comical. It was like Traditional Home through a Snapchat filter. While we appreciate the effort, it just goes to show how big the generational gap really is. Instead of negatively bashing companies that missed the mark, we thought we’d showcase the brands that represented well the fresh look millennials are after.
Millennial design is not yet well represented in the furniture and design world.
Let’s talk about millennials for a minute in general. Where do we stand currently in the eyes of the world?
First off, there is a limited belief that we are the lazy, socially inept, technologically saturated, overly privileged generation. I’m sure you’ve read countless articles filled with the warnings and predictions of the millennial mindset, written by, of course, non-millennials. But that’s not at all the whole truth. Beyond that, millennials are focused on life experiences, individualistic expression, connectivity, social equality and saving our planet and because of the level of technology we incorporate into our lives, we’re able to connect to realize these experiences in ways previously impossible. It’s an incredibly positive frontier.
Millennial traits translate interestingly to the home:
What’s important to us directly translates to our behavior towards home design and home ownership. We’re just not buying big houses. Even if we had the resources, we’re just not that into it. We’d rather spend money on supporting local businesses, traveling the world, and life experiences. Millennials are more comfortable with smaller, manageable, and more temporary spaces that fit our active lifestyle. This is a big cue for the design industry (which seems to go missed). Smaller spaces means smaller furniture. Multi-functional is best and a key qualification for millennials. Oh, one more thing, we’re uber passionate about minimizing our waste. Green, eco, and recyclable furniture is something that will become a big selling point for millennials.
Here’s a perfect example from Market: this nightstand from Universal is compact, modern and has a small, lift lid with power and USB ports! It’s multifunctional and connected; a perfect fit for a millennial lifestyle and mindset.
Millennial style is quick, modern, and unconventional as well. The rattan poles on these stools from Kenneth Cobonpue are actually high-density foam and are hands down the most comfortable perch ever! They have a unique look that makes them an art fixture as well as functional furniture. Impactful pieces like this are ideal for small spaces.
These chairs from Sunpan don’t take up a lot of space but are stylish and comfortable. Their look is non-traditional, modern, and clean, which really appeals to millennials.
Encompassing Millennial Style:
Millennial style isn’t just throwing a USB port onto any piece of furniture. We actually have certain looks we gravitate towards ahead of other looks that older generations appreciate. At High Point, Bradley knocked this concept out of the park with their showroom. The burnt sienna they chose for the carpet was an epic success. You will see this color grounding more and more interiors in the near future. It’s earthiness connects us to our planet and creates a foundation for our futuristic creativity. Bradley products are what millennials crave! Uniquely forward, modern, and customizable pieces displayed in a way that is new.
We’ve done elephants, sloths, etc. After this Market, we predict the Gorilla will be the next “it” animal of decor! While looking at all the unique accessories at Sagebrook Home, this piece stopped us in our tracks just as it would in the wild. They are quietly fierce and intimately human. We’re in love with this unique detail! It would look great and add an interesting touch to any space.
Art and accessory pieces are increasingly important to millennials. With previous generations, art was an afterthought. It was about finding something to fill space and match your color palette; not make a statement. You will see a major increase in art purchases as millennials are all about defining their individuality and having something uniquely theirs. There is no better way to do that in the home than with uniquely curated pieces for our walls. Here are some fabulous finds from Leftbank that caught our eye.
And we are obsessed with this beauty spotted at Noir. This would look amazing on dark or white walls. The oxymoron of strength and vulnerability in this painting is striking.
Millennial design is now:
Overall at High Point, there is a lack of representation for forward thinking, millennial design. Many brands are still very much focused on pleasing the older generations who are not going to be buying furniture and redoing houses well into the future like millennials are. The time to begin engaging with millennials through design is now. They are coming of age financially and they will be the bulk of the market in little to no time. Brands who have their eyes on this are the ones who will excel outside of Markets and well into the next few decades.
At Fathom, our style, philosophy, and work is by millennials for millennials and we can’t wait to help usher in this holistic, connected era of design.