House brands pull out of Russia, Material Bank prepares for expansion in Japan and more

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With house prices at an all-time high and rents continuing to rise, the best option might be to start your house hunt in an overlooked location – an entire abandoned village in Canada has just come on the market, with buildings in a quaint alpine style reminiscent of traditional European chalets. Whatever happens next, stay in the know with our weekly roundup of headlines, launches and events, recommended reading, and more.

Economic news

Several national brands cut ties with Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine, reports Furniture today. TJX Cos., which operates HomeGoods stores in the United States and overseas, has sold its $225 million stake in Russian retailer Familia and chairman of the group Doug Mizzi and financial director Scott Goldenberg resigned from its board “to support the Ukrainian people”. In a similar vein, Ikea’s parent company, Inter Ikea Group, announced last week that the brand was suspending all operations in Russia and Belarus. Both brands join a rapidly growing list of companies pulling out of Russia in one form or another, including Airbnb, WeWork, Hermès and dozens of others.

As the labor shortage continues in almost all employment sectors, the real estate profession has experienced a boom over the past two years. According to The New York Times, 2021 has seen a record number of real estate agents in the United States, with more than 156,000 people taking the job in 2021 and 2020 combined, a number that is up nearly 60% from the previous two years. While record house prices combined with the relatively low barrier of entry to employment have prompted those looking to change careers during the pandemic, it has also resulted in a workforce of agents far exceeding the number of homes on the market, leading to a more competitive lot than ever before.

Material Bank has announced plans to launch its services in Japan in 2022, marking the first deployment of the sampling platform outside of North America. Expansion to be led by Material Bank Japan’s new CEO, an 18-year industry veteran Come on Nakazawa, who will oversee the branch’s strategic direction alongside founder and CEO Adam Sandow. The news follows Material Bank’s recent hiring of Philippe Brocadethe former director of Maison & Objet, with the aim of exploring the European market.

New York-based startup MyPlace, a social network created to help peers share their homes, has completed a $5.8 million seed funding round led by Freestyle Ventures, reports Tech Crunch. Launched in 2019 by entrepreneurs Zach Bell and Rameet Chawla, the platform has expanded to 86 countries with thousands of users, who must be invited to the network by a friend who opens access to their home. Once a user is logged in, they can join private groups created by other users to create home sharing networks.

The International Interior Design Association announced the creation of the Equity Council, a group of association and chapter leaders with the goal of increasing inclusion, access, opportunity and diversity in all activities of the group and in the interior design profession in general. According to Home News nowthe council plans to conduct a demographic diversity survey to reveal industry representation figures, as well as establish new anti-racism and anti-bias policies, goals and objectives through five key committees – education, leadership , programming, public/industry outreach and strategic partnerships.

Danish architecture studio Bjarke Ingels Group has completed its first building in the Metaverse, Dezeen reports. Called Viceverse, the space is a virtual office for Vice Media Group employees, and is on the Decentraland platform. Employees will host meetings and work on NFTs and digital projects in the new office, which also serves as a virtual innovation lab site for Vice’s creative agency, Virtue Futures.

Launches and Collaborations

British heritage brand Laura Ashley has teamed up with UK-based designer and wallpaper manufacturer Graham & Brown for a line featuring the brand’s signature prints. The resulting wallpaper collection features 80 peel and stick designs in designs drawn from Laura Ashley’s archive, including a variety of flora and fauna inspired images.

Canadian furniture and homeware retailer EQ3 has partnered with mattress and bedding company Silk & Snow to offer its eco-responsible products in EQ3 stores across North America and online. Silk & Snow was founded by childhood friends through a Kickstarter campaign and creates sustainable bedding solutions made from Canadian-sourced materials, including down from a duck farm in Quebec and steel coils made in Toronto.

Model houses

Dotdash Meredith southern life announced the location of Idea House 2022: the riverside community of River Dunes, on the North Carolina coast. Created by Court William of the Court Atkins group, constructor Jordan Maroulès of SLD Custom Homes and interior designer Charlotte Lucas from Charlotte Lucas Interior Design, the space will be approximately 4,125 square feet, featuring multiple structures, wraparound porches and outdoor living areas, as well as views of the nearby harbor.

Showroom representation

Cloth & Kind’s commercial showroom in Ann Arbor now represents the designer ellisha Alexinathe eponymous line of textiles and wall coverings. The brand’s creative approach centers on a proprietary process developed by Alexina in-house, combining hand painting and screen printing for unique floral and geometric designs.

recommended reading

Following the invasion of Ukraine and the resulting sanctions from Western countries, there is a growing awareness of the assets in the United States held by Russian oligarchs. Ultra-wealthy individuals who have made their fortunes from Russia’s privatization have invested their funds in everything from sports teams to tech start-ups, though local New York leaders like the Manhattan borough president Marc Levin are now calling for property foreclosures similar to those recently decreed by Mayor Sadiq Khan in London. For Braked, Kim Velsey offers a tour of posh and historic properties owned by Russian billionaires in New York City – a list that includes Upper East Side co-ops, historic townhouses in the Village and penthouse apartments at the Plaza Hotel.

After taking over The world of interiors last month as the third publisher in the title’s 41-year history, former vogue editor Hamish Bowles reassures loyal readers that he intends to maintain the spirit of the beloved magazine while bringing it into the digital age. For The New York Times, Steven Kurutz talks to Bowles about his plans for the magazine, including the introduction of new digital offerings and a more global perspective on a historically Eurocentric publication. “AT The world of interiorssuddenly it’s the world of interiors,” Mr Bowles told the NYT. “This extraordinary breadth of topics and material is open. It’s DNA. You turn a page or click a mouse and you’re in a totally different world.

When SFGateit’s Arianna Bindman visited her local Ikea on a recent Saturday morning, she widely dismissed the store’s bare shelves as a temporary roadblock caused by supply chain issues. It turns out that the furniture retailer is experiencing persistent product shortages that will likely last through most of 2022 at least. As Bindman explains, the terms have created a booming resale economy online, where Ikea devotees are paying thousands of dollars more than an item’s original price.

In memory

Timothy Oulton, founder and CEO of global furniture group Halo and its eponymous brand, died on March 4. The designer got his start in 1976 working in a small antique shop owned by his father before taking over as head of Halo in 1990 to bring antiques to the world. wholesale market. Oulton also opened its first gallery in Los Angeles under the Timothy Oulton retail brand in 2008. Today, the company has more than 70 retail locations and employs more than 350 team members in a dozen countries. “Tim’s legacy of creativity, excellence and authenticity will live on. These principles – and an ongoing commitment to the company’s growth program – will guide our leadership team as we move forward and drive the company’s continued success,” reads a company statement.

Elsa Klensch, fashion journalist and former host of CNN’s “Style With Elsa Klensch,” died Friday at the age of 92 in New York City. As WWD reports, Klensch’s show became one of the network’s highest-rated weekend shows during its run from 1980 to 2001, introducing mainstream audiences to designers like Marc Jacobs and Karl Lagerfeld and airing runway coverage in New York, London, Milan and Paris. Known for her journalistic rigor, Klensch’s reporting has extended to interior design, which she has written about for titles like Elle Decor, Beautiful house and Architectural Summary after leaving CNN in 2001. “Ultimately, she was a trailblazer because that’s what it’s all about. She really saw something back then – the public’s interest in fashion – that no one else had seen or only a handful of people had seen,” the designer said. Denis Basso Recount WWD.

Homepage photo: The Wisteria Garden wallpaper from the Laura Ashley collaboration with Graham & Brown. | Courtesy of Graham & Brown

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