How did the pieces you’re buying at summer furniture markets come to be in showrooms? Decor News Now chatted with Maura Dineen, product development manager at Vancouver-based Moe’s Home Collection, about her company’s creative process and the inspiration behind some key collections it is showcasing during the Las Vegas Market, which wrapped up July 28.
Dineen, who has been with Moe’s for three years, has a background in visual communication and worked in fashion for several years before making the not uncommon move into furniture design. She now leads a five-person, in-house product development team and coordinates with outside freelance designers, too.
Key to Moe’s creative process is collaboration — among the team and with customers, Dineen says.
“We collaborate closely with our clients. We really love listening. That’s part of our culture. … We want to know what our clients’ gaps are, what’s they’re seeing and needing. We’re constantly in touch with them. … (Then) we all come together and talk about what we’re seeing. It’s very collaborative, and we have great fun. We spend a lot of time laughing. We enjoy it,” she says.
“We’re also looking at what consumers are facing in their daily lives and the trends happening at the societal level, which is quite important to us,” Dineen continues. “When it comes to color, we look to fashion but also to nature. We might be inspired by something we see out on a walk in the afternoon. (The creative process) is multilayered. There’s a lot of data behind what we do but there’s also a lot of human gut instinct, as well.”
Dineen shared with Decor News Now the creative stories that led to several Moe’s collections.
The collection: The Zeppelin group has a neutral, refined upholstery in White or Speckled Pumice, and plump cushions constructed of high-density foam and polyfill. Pieces are designed to be used together in modular configurations or individually as a corner chair, slipper chair or ottoman. (Retail prices for a five-piece modular set start at $7,699.)
Behind the design: “We’re really leaning heavily toward the ’70s aesthetic — super relaxed, playful, expressive. We’re seeing the ’70s revival across fashion and the interior industry. This collection — with its low profile and rounded edges — is very much inspired by that period. It has a silhouette that’s got a vintage reference … with a very low-slung 14 ½-inch seat height, ” Dineen says. But Zeppelin isn’t vintage: It’s updated with a Speckled Pumice upholstery and super comfortable cushions, she says. The seating group is also designed with flexibility in mind. “It’s helpful for consumers (especially younger consumers) who may be moving more, who are renting and then buying (a home) or not buying at all. We want to create pieces that can adapt to different spaces over time,” she says.
The collection: The chunky, low-profile solid oak Folke coffee tables are available in round or square. With a natural finish, they show the wood grain and knots that make each unique, and feature dado joinery. (Retails starting at $1,550.)
Behind the design: “We’re talking a lot within our team about the idea of connection and those ideas are represented in the Folke tables with their dado joint detailing between the leg and the tabletop. We also wanted to celebrate natural grain oak so you can still see the inherent, quite decorative grain. With its low-profile, the coffee table has a very artisanal feel and a nod toward the ancient forms, and that’s one of our key design directions for 2022.”
The chair: The contemporary Fox armchair features deep seating and a slanted back with soft foam cushions for comfort. It’s available in four colorways: a light Twilight Gray, a darker Gray and now Dark Amber in a 100% polyester fabric or a Charred Plum in leather. ($925)
Behind the design: “We’re doing it in a Dark Amber now. One of the things we’re seeing is a rise in the depth and warmth of burgundy tones — from dark ambers to charred plums — that provide a sense of comfort. With the Fox armchair, we’re also mindful of how a piece may move in the consumer’s home. The scale of it works quite well. It’s adaptable. It can go from a living room into a bedroom and work in multiple living spaces and move with the consumer over time. … We’re trying to help the consumer with their journey through life. It’s important, that human level of design.”
The collection: Moe’s offers about a dozen vessels handmade in Chulucanas, Peru, using techniques that date back 1,500 years. Each vessel is hand formed, slip decorated and hand burnished with a stone for a unique luster. “One thing that’s interesting is when you unbox these items, you get a subtle, smoky scent that lingers inside the vessels because of the kiln,” Dineen says. The woman-owned Peruvian enterprise producing the pieces is certified by the World Fair Trade Organization through its Fair Trade Guarantee System, and the pieces carry the Nest Seal of Ethical Handcraft. (Retail prices starting at $76.)
Behind the design: The vessels allow Moe’s to support artisans and help keep creative traditions rooted in the communities where they developed. “It’s very important in that area to be able to maintain the culture and traditions but also to do a contemporary take, as well, to move the craft forward,” Dineen says.
“I think it’s also important that people understand that there’s a person who made each vessel, a person who has been educated as an artisan in a tradition that’s been part of their culture for years. Empathy — that human level — is such a big part of design.”