Michael Aram Partners with Creative Converting to Launch MADHOUSE
Caroline Kennedy -- Furniture Today, December 10, 2012
NEW YORK and INDIANAPOLIS - Designer Michael Aram, known for his beautifully sculpted metalware tabletop and home decor accessories, has partnered with paper and partyware manufacturer, Creative Converting, to launch a new brand, MADHOUSE, a collection of home entertaining accessories and paper tableware.
Lemonwood collection in the MADHOUSE line by Creative Converting. Pieces in the MADHOUSE line range from $6 to $50 retail.
MADHOUSE will make its debut in January at the winter gift markets. The brand will launch six coordinated collections of high-end, premium paper tableware, statement tabletop pieces, including paper plates and napkins; melamine bowls, plates, trays and serveware; plastic drinkware and cutlery; and silicone placemats. The six collections—Ocean, Black Orchid, Olive Branch, Fig Leaf, Botanical Leaf and Lemonwood—are direct interpretations of six of Aram's nature-inspired core collections.
"Today, entertaining at home has become about the formalization of casual and the casualization of formal," states Michael Aram. "Hosts want their gatherings to feel special, but they don't want to spend a fortune creating a beautiful tablescape. MADHOUSE will bridge that gap, giving accessible options for elegant, yet easeful entertaining."
The development of the collection is a licensing arrangement with Michael Aram as the licensor and Creative Converting as the licensee. But, as Andy Romjue, vice president of marketing for Creative Converting, noted, "I‘ve never been a part of a licensing agreement with so much collaboration. My product team and Michael and his product team were constantly working together flying back and forth to New York, then to China and the melamine factory, together with Michael and his Indian team, to work on sculpts for the melamine pieces. The collaboration is at an extremely high level. Michael has approved or designed each piece that we are putting put out there."
The partnership, which came about almost by accident, has been a huge undertaking. The development of the collection, more than 18 months in the making, has not been without its challenges. Creative Converting and its supply partners had to do things that have never been done before. For the paper products, the company, which has been producing paper products for more than 100 years, introduced treatments, printing and screening processes that it had never done before in order to create the different textures and other qualities that emulate the same look and feel that Michael Aram accomplishes with his sculpted pieces.
There were similar challenges with the melamine products as well, such as creating the pearlescent treatments, which had not been done before, as well as incorporating the sculptural quality of Aram's work. "Michael spent hours and hours carving the pieces-whether it was a botanical leaf or a woodgrain-that would be the basis for the molds," said Romjue. "In China, he even went there himself and went carving into the mold to get the result that he wanted. His hand is all over this project." The end result is a beautiful heavy quality melamine that could be mistaken for stoneware-and in fact was, when early pieces were shown to some retail consultants, according to Romjue.
In addition to the six debut collections, plans are already in development for two collections of melamine and paper tableware, as well as some giftable items with a "Christmas-y feel" for fall holiday 2013 and a new collection and line extensions of the six debut collections for spring 2014. "We weren't able to do everything that we wanted to on the first go-round, so there are a few things that we will be launching, as well as some natural solid color stories," said Romjue.
Aram added, "It's exciting that MADHOUSE will open doors to new customers who may not have otherwise purchased my signature collections. This brand has been a dream of mine for a long time, and we're looking forward to expanding the MADHOUSE product offering through 2013 and beyond."
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