CHICAGO -- Outdoor rugs are shaking off their utilitarian image and moving upscale, based on new on-point products offered at the 2018 Casual Market, which closed Friday, Sept. 28 at Chicago's Merchandise Mart.
The market offered a wealth of sophisticated-looking textures, utilizing a variety of weaves, propriety fiber combinations -- and some higher price points. Designer involvement, branding and licensing agreements, too, stood out as consumers seek to coordinate fresher, more luxurious looks throughout the home.
Indoor-outdoor rugs continue to grow in popularity across the price spectrum, although a slight trading up was in evidence. But ease of maintenance remains critical, even at the high end where big-name outdoor furniture companies with rug programs reported larger sizes trending in all-weather rugs, and a growing market for nine-foot square and round rugs for dining table settings.
In this exclusive Casual Market tour, Rugnews.com ferrets out Barclay Butera's outdoor rugs for Nourison at Castelle, new PET indoor-outdoor rugs from first-time exhibitor Rizzy Home, Jaipur Living's newest intros to its ICFA award-winning Polaris collection, Liora Manne's designer rugs and textiles debuting at Donghia, and best-selling intros at Couristan and Trans-Ocean.
Barbara Todd, regional manager for Donghia, shows just-arrived samples of the Liora Manné line, which the upscale showroom introduced to its customers during Casual Market Chicago.
High-end furnishings company Donghia, which announced its representation of Liora Manne rugs, textiles and wallcoverings during the Casual Market, offering designers and architects a sneak peek at samples in Chicago, with a gala introduction of the actual rugs taking place in Dallas a few days later.
The Liora Manné Lamontage and Lush collections, which will be added to Donghia showrooms in Dallas, Las Vegas, Cleveland and Miami, made its debut at the Casual Market because "People in the Midwest love rugs," said Donghia's regional manager Barbara Todd. "Allison Sewell, vice president of sales, thought that Liora's handmade rugs would complement our high-end, custom furnishings lines. There is a wonderful synergy."
All of Donghia's furnishings, including rugs, are custom sizes, colors and designs. "We have a unique process, different fibers that we use in the custom lines of our brand, called Lamontage and Lush, which are geared to designers and architects," said Manné, who also designs popular priced programmed rug lines for Trans-Ocean.
LIORA MANNE for TRANS-OCEAN
Liora Manné poses with her newest designs for colorful coir entry mats that are themed for coastal homes - a big and growing category for Trans-Ocean.
Trans-Ocean brought color, color and more color to market, combining rich textures and multi-level looks in machine-made indoor-outdoor rugs.
"They don't look machine made," noted designer Liora Manné. "It's a marriage of the right colors with the right textures."
Demand continues strong for small, themed and novelty entry mats, according to Manné. "People LOVE them. They're buying everything from garden mats to seasonal motifs (like Christmas and Thanksgiving), and dogs and cats and poolside. Coastal themes are really big."
Bold-colored, coir mats are also filling a need for customers of lots of small gift shops, regional outlets and mom-and-pop shops. Suggested retail for the 18x30" mats is $28.50. Online sales are strong and growing, Manne reported.
Trans-Ocean has added new designs and an expanded range of textures and colors to its collections of room-size rugs, such as the hand-woven Carmel collection, which is 30 percent rubber and 70 percent polypropylene. Coastal motifs and the blues in all shades remain extremely popular, and rugs of 100 percent polypropylene are priced to retail around $129 for a 5x8.
Trans-Ocean makes a statement at the 2018 Casual Market Chicago with a broad away of entry mats and indoor-outdoor rugs designed by Liora Manné.
Ron Couri and Evan Couri offer Casual Show buyers the latest designs from Couristan's vast assortment indoor-outdoor area rugs and entry mats.
Couristan introduced a unique new concept in outdoor rugs, the Outdurable collection of 10 reversible rugs, each with a different pattern on the back and front sides (read full story
The company also introduced a line of entry mats called Kennel Club, depicting the 15 most popular dogs in the U.S. last year, according to the Kennel Club. Number one, by the way, is the Labrador retriever, and number two is the German shepherd. Line extensions also include outdoor poofs, two of which were displayed in a low-key manner at the market.
The outdoor rug leader also featured rich-textured, multi-level looks across the area rug spectrum, created by using various colors in the warp and weft.
The indoor-outdoor Outdurable collection by Couristan adds fashion and value to the category.
Matt Peterson of Jaipur Living gives RugNews.com a closer look at the company's ICFA Excellence in Design Award presented at Casual Market Chicago 2018.
Matt Peterson, trade show manager for Jaipur Living, accepted ICFA's Excellence in Design Award for flooring from Terri Lee Rogers, president of O.W. Lee, and current chair of the IFCA/International Casual Furnishing Association. The award honored the "Stowe" design in Jaipur's Polaris collection, which was first introduced at the spring High Point market (read full story
Jaipur was also showing two new outdoor rug designs in the hit polypropylene Polaris line, including "Miner," in neutral and red hues, which were inspired by the company's wool hand-knotted rugs.
"The 12 designs in Polaris have really taken off," said Peterson, not only for outdoors but also for indoors where the easy care feature makes it perfect for households with kids and pets. The rugs are 100 percent machine-made polypropylene, manufactured in Turkey, and priced at retail from approximately $300 to $350 for an 8x10.
"The Nikki Chu line and Polaris are our top sellers [at the Casual show]," said Petersen. Buyers who missed the show will be able to see the premiering Origins by Nikki Chu collection
of hand-woven in-out rugs at High Point Market.
The newest addition to Jaipur Living's award-winning Polaris collection, a tribal design called Miner debuted in two colorways at Casual Market Chicago.
Nourison showcases Barclay Butera's Lido collection of indoor-outdoor machine made polypropylene flatweave rugs.
Celeb designer Barclay Butera, whose long time licensing partnership with Nourison on luxury indoor rugs blossomed into the launch of Lido, an indoor-outdoor collection which debuted at the spring 2018 High Point Market. The polypropylene Lido complements Butera's outdoor furniture for Castelle.
Patterns in the flatweave Lido collection include abstract brushtrokes and stylish stripes in fashion color palettes, including Butera's signature blue. "Working with Nourison has been a dream come true," he told RugNews.com. "Our furniture collections have really taken off around the country and we are so grateful to be able to offer rugs that coordinate seamlessly.
"Retailers love the ease of selecting the rugs, and the showrooms have been incredibly supportive by bringing in my collections to create a Barclay Butera atmosphere."
Barclay Butera's Lido collection by Nourison, showcased earlier this spring at Castelle's High Point showroom, complements his furniture designs shown at Casual Market Chicago.
Brian Djernes of Cane-Line of Denmark showed proprietary indoor-outdoor rug weaves and fibers, pointing out strong global business in high-end outdoor rugs.
Cane-Line, a high-end furnishings company based in Denmark, is seeing strong growth in its outdoor-indoor rugs. Cane-Line's business is divided almost 50-50 between residential and contract, some of which include commercial projects for Rockefeller Center, a hotel in the Catskills, and some Hilton hotels.
The company's Scandinavian-influenced rugs look and feel like lush, soft cotton, utilizing various deniers woven to create a multi-dimensional appearance. Clean-lined contemporary, the rugs retail around $670 for a 55" round and $3,700 for a 120" square.
Sten Jensen, sales manager, showed RugNews.com one of the booth highlights: "Spot," a 67" x 95" polypropylene outdoor rug woven in various shades of gray and priced to retail at $2,795.
Beside the luxury look, customers are sold on the idea that the rugs don't bleed or fade and, at least in Europe, provide a consumer solution to allergens because they are very easy to clean by power washing, according to Brian Djernes, owner and president of the firm. The rugs are also being specified for commercial installations over concrete floors.
Cane-Line, a 30-year-old, privately held company that employs some 2,500 people, has won several European design awards and exports to more than 110 countries. Tariffs are not an issue for Cane-Line's proprietary polypropylene, used to manufacture rugs in Indonesia, Denmark, Lithuania, India and Italy.
Cane-Line Furniture's Sten Jensen shows "Spot", an outdoor carpet which is so easy to wash that it's attracting overseas customers who are concerned with allergies.
The round Deco rug designed by Henrik Pedersen in Sunbrella rope was chosen as a finalist in the flooring category at this year's ICFA Excellence in Design Awards.
Gloster, another high-end outdoor exhibitor, introduced rugs -- two large, square rugs -- to its furnishings lines two years ago, and strong customer response has led to the addition of new colors and custom sizes.
As part of its Deco collection, Gloster showed new 55- and 87-inch round rugs designed by Henrik Pedersen in a woven Sunbrella acrylic rope and in a new fall colorway at the 2018 Casual Market. The ombre rug, designed to reflect the weave in its Deco chairs and sofas, is woven in color gradations from a burnt sienna to a clay and an oatmeal tone. The 55-inch round is priced to retail around $940 while a 9'10" x 13'1" is priced to retail at around $5,700.
All told, Gloster now offers five colorways in two different styles, and in custom sizes.
Steve Roan and Rizwan Ansari of Rizzy Home unveil the company's rugs made from recycled PET yarns at their premier showing at Casual Market Chicago.
Rizzy Home, a first-time exhibitor with one of the most intriguing rug stories at the market, showed tufted and flatweave polyester rugs made from recycled water bottles in a range of color-coordinating solids, stripes and textural abstract modern designs.
"This is Rizzy's first time at the Casual Market, and we have a revolutionary product," said Steve Roan, managing director of the Americas. "The rugs are made from recycled water bottles in India, a concept that evolved from a family with a social and environmental conscience."
The company is over 50 years old, but has recently started recycling in the past several years. "They started with the fiber as a filament, which could be used for clothing and other textiles, but Rizwan [Ansari] developed a process to turn it into a staple polyester that can be used in flooring," said Roan. The loop pile and and cut pile area rugs are available in five different constructions, priced at approximately $299 to $399 retail for a 5x8 size.
Growth has been outstanding, Roan noted. "Eighty-five percent of what Rizzy is showing now didn't exist 15 months ago."
Rizzy Home debuts at the Casual Market Chicago introducing attendees to its latest area rugs in PET yarn from recycled plastic bottles.
Candy Chase of Treasure Garden shows off the debuting Meridian-Steel Blue indoor-outdoor rugs made for the shade products company by Belgium-based Balta.
Rugs do very well for us, explained Candy Chase, national sales manager for Treasure Garden, a shade umbrella and accessories firm whose rugs are made by Balta. "We want to do it right," said Chase, so the company has introduced four new designs to its carefully curated line of 18 different designs manufactured in Belgium of 100 percent UV-stable polypropylene, machine made.
The Treasure Garden line falls into the company's two "umbrella" color schemes: the Gold Collection, and the Silver Collection.
New introductions take off from existing best sellers. In the Silver collection, Treasure Garden introduced North Shore-Blue Sky and Meridian-Steel Blue (blue with gray-silver tints). In the Gold collection, Canyon-Taupe, in warm browns and desert hues, and Cobblestone-Teak complement the existing designs.
Brown Jordan executives David Kennedy, division president (l.) and Stephen Elton, chief brand curator (r.) and talk about their rebranding launch during the 2018 Casual Market.
Stephen Elton, chief brand curator at Brown Jordan, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Casual Furnishings Association at the IFCA Awards Gala on the final night of the 2018 Casual Market.
Elton has been instrumental in helping launch Brown Jordan's total lifestyle rebranding effort, "Invest in the Good Life." The lifestyle rebrand -- including rugs, fire pits, planters and kitchen products -- was reflected in redesigned showrooms for Brown Jordan. Sister company, Tropitone, simultaneously unveiled its own rebrand, "Beautifully Crafted, Time Tested" in Chicago's Merchandise Mart.
Elton gave credit as well to Brown Jordan's licensing arrangement with California rug company Gertmenian. "We partner with the best in class, and license our brand," he said. "My role is to guide them in these relationships."
In keeping with Brown Jordan's sophisticated approach to lifestyle, the rug designs utilize simple patterns in muted tones of flax, silver, gray and jute. A mixture of acrylic and polypropylene, the rugs provide a softer feel, and highly saturated color. The company's rugs are sold in in retail stores and Brown Jordan showrooms, while a different group of rugs, marketed under a sub-brand called Brown Jordan Studio, is sold through big box chains, both in-store and online.
Above, Brown Jordan's David Kennedy, John Wojcik, Gene Moriarty, and Steve Elton celebrate their new lifestyle rebrand with The Merchandise Mart's Beth Hicks, Byron Morton, and Susan McCullough. Below, 9x9 square rugs like Aragon are trending in upscale dining settings.