For the Love of the Craft
Bourdain’s celebrity allows him to be a champion for people like Mats Christeen who create custom, quality products outside of one-size-fits-all designs.

Greensboro, N.C. - So why do we have a chef on the cover?

It’s a fair question. After all, Anthony Bourdain probably wouldn’t be the first person most people would think of for the cover of a magazine about interior design.

But with Raw Craft, a video series about people “that make things with their hands, that make things the old-school, foolishly romantic way,” Bourdain says he is celebrating the handcrafted movement and a consumer preference for authenticity. It’s a movement that includes people like Mats Christeen, a bespoke furniture designer in Brooklyn, N.Y. who has incorporated sustainability, customization and yes, craftsmanship into every piece he creates and who takes great pride in talking about his work and why it matters.

It’s no secret that eclectic, global and handmade have been key trends in home furnishings for a while. Larger retailers like West Elm have incorporated local, handmade products into the floor merchandise mix with measurable positive success, and in November, officials from Las Vegas Market said that West Elm’s local program will be recognized at the January show. Additionally, new initiatives have been added to the January show that will allow buyers to find more artisanal and handmade products while also shopping showrooms — market acknowledgment of the importance of handcrafted.

Politics aside, shifts in trade policies may impact the flow of merchandise coming into the United States in the near future, transforming what and how people buy. Additionally, the “story” behind products can be a game changer for some consumers when applied to the decision of how wide to open the wallet, and artisans and craftsmen offer immediate provenance, the sort once reserved for high-end antiques.

Bourdain’s celebrity allows him to be a champion for people like Mats Christeen who create custom, quality products outside of one-size-fits-all designs. And Christeen’s commitment to his craft elevates customization and authenticity to a new level, one desired by many consumers. Bourdain is the familiar face who tells the story, and Christeen represents one of millions of faces responsible for the rising craftsman tide.

As I write this, we’re heading into the 2016 holiday season and purchases at every level of the price equation are under consideration. We’d love to hear about how you bought this year whether local or not, in a store or online. Go to www.designerstoday.com if you’re reading this in print or click on the link if you’re online and tell us how you shopped. Be sure to let us know about the artisans and craftspeople in your area that deserve recognition as well. Maybe we’ll feature them in an upcoming issue, or maybe…just maybe, Anthony will find an idea for an upcoming Raw Craft episode. You never know — it’s the season where magic happens and wishes come true.

Prior to her role with Designers Today, Cindy attended markets as both a consumer home furnishings editor and interior design client. She has written about the design industry for more than 15 years and still finds editorial inspiration in every corner of the world, from Italian villas to Atlanta urban lofts to country escape tiny homes.