Restoration Hardware's Gary Friedman Talks Small Spaces, Color And Deconstructed Furniture (PHOTOS)
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Last week, we caught up with Restoration Hardware Chairman and Co-CEO Gary Friedman at the company's New York City location, where he talked about the new spring 2012 collection. Friedman, who has completely overhauled Restoration Hardware's direction and image since his arrival in 2001, shed some light on the inspiration behind this season's line, why it works now and what's to come.
The House Of Blues
It's rare to see color in the luxury retailer's arsenal, but indigo is making its way on to Restoration Hardware's linen throws, chambray bedding and a variety of seating options. The brand tends to stay within neutral-hued borders, so why now and why blue? Interestingly, it's partly due to the fact that we wear the color so often, says Friedman, adding: "We have been working for a long time -- we haven't perfected it yet -- to make the perfect denim sofa that doesn't look like Cabbage Patch doll. And through our efforts to work on this denim sofa, we loved the different shades of blue we were coming across in the trials and tribulations. It just started to come together in an organic way."
The blues are definitely a refreshing addition to the line, yet still subtle and classic. But when we asked if we would see other color possibilities in future collections, Friedman seemed hesitant to the idea, saying, "Maybe. We noodle around with color from time to time...We see things more through an architectual perspective and design perspective versus a decoration perspective. I think there's a difference between decoration and design -- at least in my view. We obsess a lot about the design -- the shape, scale, beauty of something. Sometimes, when you add color, it can take away from that."
The Deconstructed Collection
In the new spring collection, seating is stripped down to its bare essentials...or at least, so it gives off that impression. There's no bells or bedazzled whistles, just exposed wood frames, burlap accents and cotton fabrics. The idea behind this collection was to provide a vintage look and modern comfort. "We found a couple of beautiful antique deconstructed chairs...We'd admire them but they weren't very functional," explains Friedman. "You can look at them but when you try to sit in them, they're all ripped up and the burlap is all itchy and stuff like that."
Big Style For Small Spaces
Restoration Hardware is known for their (very) large furniture. Friedman says that much of the size decisions relate to how it's being presented in the store. For example, they don't want to feature tiny furniture in large, high-ceiling galleries. However, the enormity of their couches and coffee tables often begs the question of "How would that fit?" especially in small living spaces like New York City apartments. So, for the first time ever, the retailer is offering a collection in smaller-size furniture. "I think there's always been small spaces and there's always been a need," says Friedman. "It's just kind of a natural progression for us in defining and creating our collection's point of view and presenting it in a harmonious way with the size and scales of some of the locations we have."
We can't deny the quality and beauty of Restoration Hardware's new collection; we love the indigo infusion, the deconstructed look is an innovative idea, and offering smaller furniture next to their oversized pieces is a smart move.
Click through the slideshow to see a few products from each collection. All photos courtesy of Restoration Hardware. What do you think of this season's designs? Let us know in the comments!