The millennials are at it again, and Adam Dunn has taken notice.
Dunn is creative director at Four Hands, a leading designer and global importer of lifestyle home furnishings. He was hosting thousands of customers during the recent Summer Las Vegas Market, held July 28-Aug. 2 at the World Market Center.
“We learned that for the first time our global consumer market is going to be more millennial, meaning those between the ages of 18-40,” he said. “This is a change from what had been our main market, and that was the baby boomer market. But now millennials have the larger pocketbooks to buy the products that we’re showing.”
What Four Hands was showing was a range of styles from living and dining room to art and lighting.
“Our style is influenced by many things,” Dunn said. “Just like everyone else, I read all the different interior design magazines and follow a host of artists and designers, both those that are already established in the industry and those who are new to the design world.
“Fashion is also a factor. Rust was a big fashion color several years ago, and that translated into our line and influenced our wood finishes where many of our midcentury pieces are red-brown.”
Dunn said that his team travels to design shows around the world to see what new material and manufacturing techniques are being introduced. Besides fashion, other cultural trends such as food, travel and architecture are studied that might determine what kind of future design trends Four Hands could introduce.
According to Dunn, millennials want clean-lined designs that they can easily incorporate into their lifestyle. Such designs were reflected in some of the more popular items being displayed by Four Hands, including an Atlas Chair in nubuck sand with brown oak framing that curves into exaggerated angles, cone-tapered legs and a boomeranged back. The rear cutout seating of neutral performance-grade upholstery meets midcentury style with modern sensibility.
A Powell Dining Table of mixed materials and classic tulip shaping is recast with a rustic black iron base and rounded top of white marble. The Seth Chair is a low, thick seat of light top-grain leather in a slim iron frame for a modern-industrial look.
The Kennon Chaise is upholstered in a high-performance covering of linen blend while the seating rests within brown oak framing and a bronzed iron base for a sophisticated look with high contrast. It is ideal for sinking in or stretching out. Another popular piece was the Calder Nesting Coffee Table that was designed to slide together or apart with ease.
“We design for every home, large or small, and for every room, large or small, without pigeonholing any one design,” Dunn said. “Self-expression is important to millennials. Many of them have been cultivating their personal brands for years, and when decorating their homes, they’re looking for pieces that complement their unique tastes. And this philosophy is also true for our non-millennial customers.
“Modern design, which emphasizes sleek lines and minimal ornamentation, feels at once contemporary and rooted in tradition. This makes it easy to mix with other styles and is an obvious choice and a great investment.”
Dunn said millennials have become the largest generation in American history and are influencing furniture trends. They are tech-savvy and tech-dependent and crave pieces that incorporate tech considerations such as desks with cable management systems that make it easy to plug in laptops, tablets and smartphones when they need a charge, without having a lot of clutter. Media furniture incorporates IR-friendly glass and space for the tech components like soundbars.
“Millennials are also big on environmental issues and support companies with sustainable practices,” he said. “They want a small ecological footprint that translates into furniture and businesses like ours, that make sustainability part of the company policy, tend to get a stamp of approval from them for design elements such as visible wood grain and organic forms. They want a piece of furniture that is socially conscious and not a mass-produced piece. The most preferred are lighter woods with something more organic that celebrates the natural character of the material with softer lines and a softer finish.”
The Four Hands showroom is in Building A at the World Market and is open throughout the year to trade and those with a Four Hands account.