Residential Furniture Brings Indian Architects To North Carolina
The inside of April's High Point Furniture Market was a dizzying scene of designers, buyers and manufacturers all perusing the latest in the furniture industry.
For the first time, a delegation of architects and interior designers from India made the trip to High Point.
The 108-year-old bi-annual trade show regularly brings industry officials from around the world.
Indian Representative for Space Design Collective Home, Smita Prakash, led the delegation to High Point. She first came to the market alone five years ago.
"I realized that it's just not enough me coming here," she said. "Other architects and designers just like me should realize the value of American furniture design."
The market draws about 75,000 people to 180 buildings scattered around the Piedmont town. SDC Home is a company based out of Singapore and has an office in New Delhi, India. It prides itself in offering "luxury American furniture."
In India, architects and interior designers work very closely together and some designers are even employed by architectural firms. Prakash thought it only made sense for them to make this trip together.
"I would say for architects and designers, I mean you get everything here," she said. "Whatever you require to make a dream home and I think I'm right when I say this is the market to be at."
There's been a growing demand for high-end furniture with India's burgeoning middle class. Reports from Greensboro's Furniture/Today magazine show the demand for residential furniture in India will exceed $27 billion over the next five years. That's an almost $10 billion increase from 2015.
There were two main objectives the delegation had with this trip according to High Point Market CEO, Tom Conley.
"One objective is to create some kind of a design center in or around in the New Delhi area," he said. "The other thing that they want to do, in addition to having this design center is to run annual buying trips to the High Point Market."
Those annual buying trips to High Point are one of the reasons manufacturers like Mark Phillips came to North Carolina in the first place. His company, The Phillips Collection, moved to the state from New York a few years ago.
"I realized you had to be slightly out of your mind to be warehousing large products in New York, when opportunities for land and building and labor were so much more advantageous here," he said
Phillips wants to grow his furniture business in North Carolina, especially if he can make it into the Indian market.
"We are very optimistic that we will be shipping a number of products," he said. "There are projects already specking our goods and the minds are percolating."
Prakash said she expects North Carolina interior designers and manufacturers to place orders to ship furniture to them very soon.
The next High Point Market is set for October.