“Why do all the industry trade shows get stacked on top of one another?”, I found myself thinking after ten days on the road. The last six weeks have been full of travel & conferences – Bond MultiFamily (a meetup of architects & product manufacturers specializing in multi-family residential construction) in April, followed by the mid-year meeting of the Landscape Architecture Foundation in Washington DC in early May. The photo above was taken of the CCDC project in Washington during the LAF meeting. We provided planter liners for the roofdeck gardens for this spectacular project – we’ll feature it in a blog post soon.
From there it was on to trade shows – Over the past two weeks we’ve exhibited at the American Institute of Architects National Convention (Atlanta), the Hospitality Design Expo (Las Vegas), the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (in New York with our partners from Luxxbox), and finally RECon (Las Vegas), the exhibition of the Intenational Council of Shopping Centers.
We met with well over 500 architects, interior designers, landscape architects and shopping center owners/managers. There’s nothing like listening to your existing and potential customers – enlightening, to say the least.
Some of the highlights from the shows:
The South Chair and the Pillow Chair (see photo below). Both come in bright, interesting colors which grab designer’s attention. We knew that bright colors were in – but this confirmed it. While very different in execution, they herald our entrance into the cafe and casual furniture business.
Combine wood with brightly colored metal or concrete and people will notice it. Our Boulevard wood, whether in planters, furnishings or flooring, was the clear star of the show. The sustainable story, combined with its natural good looks makes it easy to get excited about.
We’ve traditionally found our “sweet spot” with landscape architects. Nevertheless, architects have been showing greater interest in the range of products we offer – especially living walls, wood decking and pedestals, Wilshire Box hanging planters and VersiCell drainage panel. Being at the AIA convention was a great experience this year.
A surprise from this series of shows was the number of commercial interior designers that actively specify products in our markets. We met several that have specified us in the past (especially in the hospitality business), and most really like the work we do. It was a great reminder that our reach is sometimes greater than we think!