From significant business changes to noteworthy product launches, there’s always something new happening in the world of design. In this weekly roundup, AD PRO has everything you need to know.
Savant to Acquire GE Lighting
Smart home tech company Savant Systems, Inc. made waves this week by announcing that it had inked a deal to buy General Electric Lighting. Savant plans to capitalize on GE Lighting’s brand name while expanding its products’ capabilities thanks to their own technologies. The news also marks a notable divestiture for American mega-company GE.
Home Furnishings Startup Closes Major Funding During COVID-19 Crisis
Fernish, the Los Angeles startup that rents home furnishings, recently closed its Series A round of funding amid the COVID-19 crisis. The company raised $15 million via round participants including RET Ventures; Spencer Rascoff, a cofounder of Zillow; and Fred Tuomi, former CEO of home-rental company Invitation Homes. The startup, which has experienced a 300% increase in home-office orders since the onset of the pandemic, also reports that it has seen an uptick in sales. Its prior round of funding totaled $30 million, and included the likes of Techstars Investments, Intuit founder Scott Cook, PLG Ventures, and Jeff Wilke of Amazon.
ASID Bids Adieu to CEO Randy Fiser
After eight years at the helm of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), CEO Randy Fiser is stepping down, effective at the end of July, to pursue an executive role at the American Geophysical Union. In his near decade-long tenure, Fiser consistently promoted interior design as an evidence-based practice and spearheaded more than $1 million in research sponsored by the ASID Foundation. He also conceived and oversaw construction of the organization’s new Washington, D.C. headquarters, the first dual LEED platinum– and WELL platinum–certified location in the world. “I’m proud of our work, during my time at ASID, to demonstrate design’s power to improve people’s lives through attention to the places we live, work, learn, heal, and play,” Fiser said in a statement. The ASID board will name an interim CEO while they work to fill the position permanently.
B&B Italia’s Podcast Gets Off the Ground
For those looking for a good listen, it might be time to check out The Couch. B&B Italia’s podcast, which debuted on May 16 with two episodes, is set to unveil its next offering this weekend. “One thing that has been really exciting about working on The Couch is getting a real sense of enthusiasm from the guests taking part,” podcast host David Plaisant tells AD PRO. “I think everyone immediately sees just how relevant what we are doing with this podcast is. I’m speaking to people who are at home (and often on the couch!) in London, Milan, or San Francisco and I’m at home too. I definitely think that adds intimacy to the conversations.”
Cartier Debuts New Digital Series
French jewelry house Cartier has found a way to bring arts and culture into our living rooms through its new series “Home with Cartier.” Digitized exhibitions, immersive sound experiences, readings, conversations, and concerts curated by the Fondation Cartier offer a multitude of ways to stay inspired and feel connected. One recent experience presented Bernie Krause’s The Great Animal Orchestra, whereby viewers become the conductors of Mother Nature’s vast musical ensemble.
The Piccolo Parade Marches On
Earlier this year, Jeremy Anderson’s amorphous vases debuted to great acclaim. Sadly, the works’ unveiling at Apparatus took place right when the coronavirus washed over New York City. Unsurprisingly, the exhibition was somewhat stymied, but the works’ beauty was unable to be dimmed. Now, they’re getting a second lease on life, as Anderson has launched a digital exhibition for his “Piccolo Parade.”
Christie’s Holds First Live Auction Since Global Lockdowns
This week, Christie’s announced the results of its first live auction to be held since the coronavirus shut down cities the world over. The sale, which was staged earlier this week at the auction house’s Paris location, brought in $6,048,279. Of lots sold for this iteration of Classic Week, 37% were sold through the organization’s online live platform. In total, only 22% bidders were from France. While some works, such as an Apollo Belvedere by Peter van Lint, fetched higher prices than was expected, 25% of lots went unsold.
All About Arts
Museums Continue to Struggle, and Find Ways Forward
Lately, there’s been no shortage of museum-related news as the art world continues to adapt to a post-coronavirus world. Of particular note was UNESCO’s announcement that it expects 13% of all museums currently closed worldwide to never reopen. Striking a similarly sad note was word that D.C.’s National Building Museum has let two-thirds of its staff go. However, glimmers of hope persisted: The Hudson Valley’s Magazzino Italian Art Foundation shared that it will be making use of technologies such as EGOpro Active Tags to help facilitate social distancing. Public visitation hours, it seems, are just around the bend.
Two New Opportunities for Students Crop Up
Penn’s Stuart Weitzman School of Design has partnered with Surface Media to create a virtual summer school. Titled Surface Summer School at Penn, the program will center around a competition to devise a mobile coronavirus testing station. Also of note, Be Original Americas, a non-profit organization, unveiled its first-ever worldwide virtual student fellowship, which will include presentations by more than 25 leading design brands.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest