Meet the Showroom: Schumacher
The grand dame of American decorating, Schumacher was founded in 1889, and has opened its first standalone showroom outside of the US at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour. It is known for its joyful, exuberant approach to fabrics, wallcoverings and trim, with a talented in-house design team complemented by A-list collaborators: in the past Elsa Schiaparelli, Dorothy Draper, and Cecil Beaton have all played their part in the Schumacher story. Here, the company’s president Benjamin Frowein (pictured above left) explains what visitors can expect from the London showroom, how the brand keeps its heritage fresh – and why “more pattern, more colour” is the way ahead.
What prompted Schumacher to open a stand-alone showroom in London at Design, Centre, Chelsea Harbour?
We only waited so long because of our excellent and long-standing partnership with Turnell & Gigon! We love how the UK celebrates the importance of home and the power of design. We felt it was overdue for us to move closer to the UK design community and share our love for beautiful fabrics, wallcoverings and trimmings.
What should we expect from the showroom?
The space is designed to be as engaging and efficient as possible for our clients. Most of all it is airy, friendly, and the light is just right for working. A very long working table gives customers the space to lay out their schemes and find their dream Schumacher products. Once this happens, we fulfil any swatch request from our back room, stocked with over 30,000 samples.
Why should customers visit in person as opposed to looking/buying online?
We believe we have the one of the best websites in the industry. Having said that, there is nothing better than to finally touch textiles again in person – either in our showroom or with one of our brand ambassadors that visit our clients’ offices.
What is Schumacher’s design philosophy?
Design matters. Great design matters more. Our designs celebrate the today while being rooted in the past. Our monthly collections – yes, we launch collections every single month! – are bursting with joy, freshness, and inspiration.
Is there a ‘hero’ product that you feel encapsulates that philosophy?
Our ‘Citrus Garden’ fabric [pictured top right] is a design that was painted originally by Joseph Frank, the famous Scandinavian artist, in the 1930s. Its colours are sure to bring joy to every home and although it’s almost 100 years old, the design couldn’t fit better with the zeitgeist. I suggest everyone should come and look at it – it’s mesmerising.
What are the broad trends you’re seeing in your sector of the industry, and how are your collections embracing them?
More pattern, more colour. We speak a lot about “joy” when we design new patterns. People want to be happy and enjoy their houses. This is also the reason why we see a shift to warmer comfort colours: spice, browns, reds. We are convinced that we have the “golden 20s” ahead of us.
What can we expect from the latest collections?
Well, there’s a new one every month, but all of them celebrate beauty, joy and the art of making. Neisha Crosland launches Espalier this spring – a combination of velvets, prints, textured wallcoverings and coordinating trims that are rich in texture and colour. It has all the elements of classic decoration but with fresh inspirations.
What craftsmanship and innovation goes into Schumacher’s products?
We celebrate originality and diversity. We work with true masters around the world to bring our designs to life. An embroidery might come from India, a hand-printed fabric from England, and a lustrous silk velvet from Italy. But one aspect combines them all: we cherish the art of making and put love into everything we do.
Schumacher is known for its collaborations with guest designers – what do they bring to the creative mix?
We look at the world with our Schumacher goggles. Collaborating with other artists – for example with Johnson Hartig from the fashion label Libertine, Molly Mahone, Hamish Bowles from Vogue, or Neisha Crosland – brings a different perspective to the table. Teamwork can enrich results and result in something magical.
Is there anything else you’d like the Design Centre community to know about your brand?
Absolutely! I want to personally thank everyone for welcoming Schumacher with open arms. It’s the first time in our 132-year history that we are opening our business in the UK. That is very exciting but also sometimes scary when you look at the business side of things. Come visit us, you’ll love what you see!