Outdoor Furniture Trends at Casual Market Chicago

August 30th, 2017 by Rapid-Line Staff

Rapid-Line is gearing up to take the  Chicago Leisure Furniture market by storm during the “Casual Market Chicago” exclusive outdoor furniture show at the Merchandise Mart Sept. 12-15. The employee-owned company will be launching  MyLine  – its lineup of customizable, commercial grade aluminum furniture that can be powder coated, upholstered, and cut with custom logo, family signet or design.

Every September, all facets of the outdoor market come together in Chicago to celebrate the myriad of product available, as well as the surging momentum found in the statistics. Rapid-Line will join more than 250 manufacturers filling more than 350,000 square feet of exhibit space at the Merchandise Mart.

“Casual Market Chicago is the ultimate destination for all things outdoor. It is the premier marketplace for all new product debuts, trends and offers vital networking opportunities,” says Julia Chappell, Managing Director, Marketing, Merchandise Mart.

All significant product trends in outdoor living originate from the show floor of Casual Market Chicago. This is where exciting new categories such as fire pits and outdoor lighting were born, as well as the latest in contemporary styling for the more traditional product staples. For a glimpse of the latest trends, read this compilation presented by Casual Market Chicago.

Trends in Outdoor Living:

Colors have become bolder and vibrant, materials have become cutting edge and outdoor fabrics are better made than ever before. With nature as the backdrop, entire rooms are being created through highly stylized groupings of deep seating sofas, design-driven coffee and end tables, and high-tech outdoor replaces and re pits that complete the look and extend the season well beyond summer. Here’s a closer look at some other major trends that will be on full display this September:

Blended design palettes

Outdoor furniture designers look to nature’s raw beauty to nd inspiration for many of their new collections through organic, natural materials. Explore this signi cant design trend at many of the leading showrooms.

Drawn to texture, mixed materials

The juxtaposition of hard and soft surfaces, so common in nature, is becoming more evident in outdoor materials and textures. Weathered gray nishes that result from years of exposure, are increasingly duplicated for a distressed, aged appearance. Mixed materials as well, continue to gain momentum, with teak, ipe and other woods paired with all forms of aluminum, wrought iron, stainless steel and other metals.

Taking the talk outside

The chat group category of outdoor furniture is exploding. Expect to see an unmatched offering of product that captures this relaxed spirit prominent in Chicago, from big names to new emerging resources.

Shelter from the sun

Shade products are also experiencing substantial growth. An outdoor staple, look for a plethora of options this year that combine on-trend color and design options with new forms of functionality.

Fashion first

Pillows and other accessories now embody all of the major trends seen in the indoor market, from interesting architectural elements to popular mid-century modern and minimalist designs. Always a strong draw, manufacturers in this category embrace the looks driving other fashion-conscious markets.

“Manufacturers and retailers have done a great job of addressing the rising popularity of outdoor spaces by focusing on fresh new colors, styles and materials,” says Jackie Hirschhaut, executive director of the International Casual Furnishings Association. “And after the winter that many have had, spring and the outdoor living that comes with it will be even more welcome.”


Rapid-Line Set to Launch MyLine

August 30th, 2017 by Rapid-Line Staff

For the last nine decades, Rapid-Line has been a key supplier to the OEM office furniture industry. For the last nine months, it has nurtured a plan to expand operations with its own “bespoke” furniture line. Fresh on the heels of becoming a 100% Employee-owned company, Rapid-Line is poised to join the market for commercial-grade, custom indoor/outdoor aluminum furniture.

“It’s exciting to be putting our manufacturing experience to work on our own product,” said Athena Sobczak, account rep and co-lead on the development team.
“We saw a niche in the commercial sector where companies want branded furniture that is specified for commercial applications, as well as the upscale residential leisure market where homeowners want contemporary, sleek, premium-grade patio furniture that is rust-resistant for lakeside or poolside use.”

The all-aluminum chair and loveseat can have any logo or custom design cut into the backs or can be ordered without specialty cutting. The oversized, high-quality aluminum table was designed for spacious appointment. All pieces can be powder coated in Rapid-Line’s facility and can include upholstered seats or custom wood seats for indoor use.

Rapid-Line will unveil MyLine this fall in Chicago at the upcoming Merchandise Mart that focuses on outdoor furniture. Casual Market Chicago runs from Sept. 12-15.


Roundtable Explores Office Furniture Market

August 30th, 2017 by Rapid-Line Staff

Rapid-Line President Rick Van Dis was featured as a roundtable participant in a recent MiBiz article entitled  Office Furniture Supplier Roundtable: Supply chain focuses on fundamentals amid volatile office furniture market.”

Despite growing operational complexity and a period of industry-led change, office furniture suppliers say they remain optimistic. 

Neither a move to short-run mass customization, a “mix shift” of product types, talent shortages in an era of near full employment nor the effects on trade from domestic political upheaval can faze the battle-tested supplier executives who weathered the Great Recession. Still, they’re focused on improving their operations, further diversifying their customer base and embracing new challenges in data management, to name just a few. 

Prior to the annual NeoCon trade show, MiBiz convened an executive roundtable, sponsored by The Right Place Inc., to discuss issues and trends in the office furniture industry and how they’re affecting the supply chain.

Read the full article here.