Bernhardt Design is no stranger to bringing on established designers for collaborations and their latest approach makes a slight, but incredible, variation. This time, the brand’s president, Jerry Helling, brought on three unique talents that didn’t come with your typical design background to round out a project they call, The Creatives. When you take a look at the collections, you’ll see why Helling enlisted Terry Crews, Tift Merritt, and Joe Gebbia for this brand-new perspective on design.
One thing you can’t do is put Terry Crews in a box, as the former NFL player turned actor has way more under the surface than many might know. He’s been drawing and making art since childhood and while his career took him in other directions, his creative core never left him. Just last year at ICFF, he was introduced to Bernhardt Design’s president, Jerry Helling, which is what led to Crews designing his first collection of furniture for the brand. ICFF 2017 marks the collection’s debut and it’s pretty remarkable. Looking to ancient Egypt and the Nile River for inspiration, the Ibis sofa is what Crews imagines would live in an Egyptian palace, while his Lilypad chair rests upon a low table, much like when a blooming lotus flower emerges next to a water lily. Then there are the Float tables and Aire benches that reference the rocks and pebbles you find along the Nile’s shore. All in all, Crews has now accomplished an almost impossible trifecta of producing successful work from three completely different arenas. Us in the design world? We’re really lucky to have him join this team.
Much like Terry Crews, Grammy nominated singer, songwriter, and musician Tift Merritt had found success in another genre before she officially stepped into the design world. When you reframe it though, the North Carolina native has been crafting songs much like an architect creates a building or a painter paints a picture. With 20 years of a music career that saw her on the road living out of a suitcase, Merritt began collecting textiles, as they were a small enough souvenir to carry back home. Her favorite became antique ribbons for their incredible detail and craftsmanship. After acquiring a few old guitars in the summer of 2012, she wanted to complete them with custom guitar straps and with the help of boutique hotelier, Liz Lambert, she became hooked. Having known Merritt since 2002, it’s no surprise Jerry Helling asked her design a collection of striped textiles inspired by her ever-growing collection. The result is a beautiful collection layered with woven textures, soothing color palettes, and rich histories of where they came from, much like a song. The collection is made up of six designs – Cadence, Forte, Reverb, Solo, Swing, and Verse – that come in 51 colorways.
Joe Gebbia is pretty well known for co-founding Airbnb, but the CPO has a product design background as he graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in industrial design. Over the nine years since Airbnb launched, the company has rapidly expanded requiring several office moves and it became difficult to adapt previously used furniture for the new spaces. Not finding anything on the market that really worked for him and his team, Gebbia and Jerry Helling joined forces to launch something that wasn’t available. The idea for Neighborhood began with a basic building block and grew from there to become a modular and connected seating concept for modern offices. As workplaces evolve, and sometimes move locations, Neighborhood makes it easy to adapt to any situation that might arise. The various modules (there are 38!) fit together into a multitude of configurations for the optimal workspace.