Global Furniture Group recently opened its 29th showroom in the U.S., and its first in Philadelphia. The new location in the bustling Center City is an opportunity to provide better access and appeal to a variety of design and architectural firms, dealerships and end users.
“We certainly know the requirements of a product-focused showroom, but for us it was important to create something a little bit different,” explains Michael Fishman, director of marketing/design at Global. “It really represents the markets we participate with, which would be workplace, healthcare, education. We focused on representing applications, real life scenarios, more so than a museum of products.”
All photos courtesy of Global Furniture Group and Jeffrey Totaro Architecture Photography
To take on the project, Global brought in Meyer Design Inc. The firm did its diligence weaving minimalist and bold elements throughout the L-shaped floorplan, subtly guiding visitors through areas designed to highlight Global’s furnishings, while meeting the needs and expectations of a modern workspace.
“You have a really natural flow between the products that they sell,” says Debra Breslow, principal for Meyer Design Inc. “It’s all in response to the current needs that are out there in the marketplace.”
Philadelphia Showroom Meets Modern Workspace
The goal was to step away from a more “traditional showroom” style or feeling, which often can lack energy. Instead, Global wanted to create a space that is truly a working environment, while simultaneously highlighting its many textile vendor partners.
The showroom is a variety of open 'retreat' space, closed 'workshop' rooms and gathering 'hub' spaces. It’s also used for larger, more formal events.
The main workshop has a telescopic glass front system and reused, intense blue acoustic panels, which makes it highly functional, while still providing a “wow” factor.
“They wanted the flexibility to allow for entertaining, to allow for educational purposes and seminars and host events,” Breslow explains.
Fishman adds: “We designed part of the showroom as a hospitality area for entertaining, everything from gourmet coffees and cappuccinos, to a wine bar late in the day. It’s a place to gather, retreat and collaborate with our guests.”
Incredible Views From Center City
The showroom is located on the 38th floor and has great views of Philadelphia, including the bridges to New Jersey, the Delaware River, 30th Street Station, Schuylkill River and its famous boat houses, the Philadelphia Art Museum along with the Rocky statue, and city hall with the William Penn statue.
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The priority of the new showroom was to create a modern, multifunctional space, but the amazing views don’t hurt, and were easily and naturally worked into other design elements.
“What’s interesting is, on one side of the building you could be in a glass corner by the bar area where we have hanging lights and an open bar area, and you can look out the window and see William Penn,” says Breslow, noting that as you get farther away from the statue—moving toward the other side of the building—the view gets better and the statue looks bigger. “We put a window seat there … so you can sit there and enjoy those views as well.”
Representing Global Furniture Group’s Brand
Keeping in mind Global’s branding, furniture style and color, Meyer worked to keep a subtle, but consistent, aesthetic representing all those elements dispersed throughout the space.
The overall color scheme is very neutral and warm, whereas the architecture took on a classic feel, with some fine, silver detailing and concrete floors throughout.
“From a textiles standpoint we intended to keep it soft and warm and comfortable, so among all our textile vendors we selected numerous fabrics with texture and a very soft hand,” Fishman notes.
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Natural elements were added, with reclaimed wood wrapped around windows and living greenery and plants situated between columns. The columns—common within inner-city buildings—posed a unique challenge that was met by installing displays and seating in those tighter spaces, which ultimately added interesting elements and maximized the space.
Visible immediately upon stepping off the elevator is an eye-catching, wood feature wall encasing a circular round pane of glass adorned with Global’s logo. This round element is carried throughout the showroom through various products and features.
“It’s carried into the circular pendants over the seating area when you first walk in, and then also in the rear seating area. There’s also a beautiful decorative pendant made up of small little round black and white mini lights.” Breslow says. “It all ties in together, but you might not pick up on it at first.”
Design Center and Product Directory
For convenience, there’s a design center that houses all the fabrics, finishes and materials, which allows designers and clients to have an interactive experience with the materials. They’ve also provided a handy four-page document inclusive of every item in the space.
“Everyone wants to know what everything is. We can hand them this information and they have all the specifications of all the finishes within the showroom,” Fishman says.
While Global offers thousands of products, its Philadelphia showroom represents the company’s best and most current solutions, featuring what’s on trend and meeting the needs of today.
“It was important to show working scenarios, things that you would actually find in an office, or an actual educational or healing environment,” Fishman explains. “We were able to accomplish that within the footprint of the Philadelphia showroom.”
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