From ergonomic seating to biophilic design, health and wellness products are driving consumer demand in many home furnishings categories, and product designers have taken note. Case in point: Richard Frinier and his latest fabric collection for Sunbrella that incorporates “the importance of grounding” as a design strategy.
Internationally acclaimed and winner of numerous product design awards, Frinier has more than 35 years of experience in product design spanning furniture, textiles, lighting and accessories for residential, contract, hospitality and resort environments. During the upcoming Casual Market Atlanta, his latest textile introductions will debut, and the celebrated designer said the collection has health and wellness at its core.
“Right now, technologies are moving rather quickly making it even more important to be able to unplug, unwind and sometimes to undo and begin anew,” Frinier said. “The pandemic fueled many socioeconomic trends, not the least of which is the live-work-play way of living.
“Some years ago, many companies redesigned and/or rebuilt their office spaces to make them feel more like home. We saw this all around us, and it continues to this day,” he continued. “That trend spiraled out during the pandemic, compelling each and all of us to evolve into a completely new way of looking at how we choose to live, work, learn and play in our own homes. This includes, of course, attitudes on health, wellness and well-being practices and daily living rituals that focus on who we are, who we want to be, how we want to get there and what we dream of doing along the way. Creating live-work-learn-play living environments to set the stage for us to do so as seamlessly as possible.”
As a designer of indoor/outdoor furnishings, textiles, lighting and accessories for many years, Frinier explained that his goal has always been to “identify what is missing and what can be.” He adds that his partnership with Glen Raven/Sunbrella is a “perfect fit” because the Sunbrella team understands that individuals need to be personally balanced while also creatively expressing themselves and their living spaces, often with added focus and commitment to the planet.
“My collaborations with Sunbrella over the past 40 years have evolved to include textile designs using recycled content yarns,” Frinier said. “My inspiration to look to the global practice of grounding was to tap into the need and desire to rebalance our personal energies to feel better, yes, but also to be prepared for what comes next in the world post pandemic.
“I have a heightened awareness of the importance of being outside for sunshine, movement and exercise, and to clear my mind and relax and be at one with nature for moments at a time and then longer stretches of time as we all know or should know how much this resets our minds and bodies,” he noted. “Outside, we can begin to let go of what is not needed; creativity and innovation is shown to flow more easily when we are in our most relaxed states of mind. Grounding quickly became my springboard to develop constructions, patterns, and color ways to illustrate the textural beauty of the ground beneath us.”
Each design of the new fabric collection presents a different interpretation of the energy and natural rhythms experienced from grounding, according to Frinier. The fabrics are woven with Sunbrella recycled-content and acrylic yarns, and they are intentionally infused with random irregularities to create an artisanal appearance and hand for each design, construction, pattern and color palette.
The “perfectly imperfect characteristics provide a subtle symbol of the inherent beauty found all around us in nature and also across the spectrum of recycled-content products very important and popular today,” Frinier said.
For Sunbrella, Frinier’s collection is an important part of a much larger story.
“Health, wellness, sustainability and the circular economy are all connected, and products made sustainably are an expectation today,” said Greg Voorhis, executive design director at Sunbrella. “When it comes to fabric, we’re seeing more consumers choose designs made with repurposed or recycled materials not only because these designs support the circular economy, but also because there are new and textural styles available today made with innovative yarns and weaving techniques.
“Each fabric in our latest collaboration with Richard Frinier is made with at least 20 percent recycled content, offering a beautiful array of timeless designs all woven to last for years to come,” Voorhis added. “The collection is inspired by Richard’s interest in the practice of grounding, the restorative practice of rebalancing internal energy by connecting to the earth, and this design rationale makes these fabrics highly versatile for a range of applications. Our partnership with Richard spans 20-plus years because our work and specialties have always complemented each other.”