This week in design, in the recently debuted Hulu show Conversations with Friends, the breakout star has not been any of the performers in the series, but rather the well-decorated home of two of its more affluent characters. Whatever comes next, stay in the know with our weekly roundup of headlines, launches and events, recommended reading and more.
Based on current levels of supply and demand, U.S. warehouse tenants may use up available inventory in 16 months, according to data from real estate investment company Prologis—a record-low rate for the inventory of warehouse space, which has previously never dipped below 32 months. As Home Textiles Today reports, the scarcity of available space has put warehouse vacancy rates at 3.2 percent. Despite 375 million square feet of new distribution space scheduled to open later this year, the rising demand is resulting in higher prices, and warehouse rent is expected to increase 22 percent this year.
Recurrent Ventures, the owner of publications like Business of Home, Domino, Saveur and Popular Science, has completed a $300 million funding round led by private equity firm Blackstone Inc., The Wall Street Journal reports. According to CEO Lance Johnson, the company plans to use the funds to purchase additional media properties, likely focusing on existing categories that include automotive, technology, home and military, but also potentially new areas like video games, sports and travel.
FloorFound, a reverse logistics and re-commerce platform for furniture and other oversize items, has completed a $10.5 million Series A financing round led by Next Coast Ventures and LiveOak Venture Partners. According to Furniture Today, the company has more than doubled its sales each quarter since debuting in February 2021. Built around the model of partnering with retailers to resell lightly used items, it now serves brands such as Floyd, Joybird, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and Interior Define. With the new funding, FloorFound has set its sights on expanding the company’s market presence in the U.S. and moving into new product categories such as appliances, mattresses and exercise equipment.
Property management startup Belong has secured $80 million, TechCrunch reports, in a round led by venture capital firm Fifth Wall. Founded in 2019, the company provides services like an in-house maintenance team and financials to homeowners who rent out their properties—and on the renter’s side, offers a system in which individuals can build toward ownership themselves by allocating 3 percent of each rent payment toward an eventual down payment on a home. With the new capital—split between $50 million in equity financing and $30 million in debt—Belong plans to expand into new markets, increase hiring and focus on product development.
Supply chain insights and risk analytics startup Everstream Analytics raised $24 million in a Series A funding round led by Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Furniture Today reports. Using data from billions of supply chain interactions, the company utilizes AI to examine risk based on materials, suppliers and facilities.
Several big employers are now providing affordable housing options as a means to attract and retain workers, The Wall Street Journal reports. The meat-packer JBS, which has already set aside $26 million for affordable housing nationally, is now developing single-family homes for workers and offering to cover closing costs in exchange for a commitment of at least two years. Additionally, just last month, Disney announced it would allocate 80 acres near its park in Orlando, Florida, for a 1,300-unit affordable housing project to be used by workers. With record-high job openings and turnover, and unemployment at 3.6 percent, employers are intensifying their efforts largely in response to the ongoing labor shortage in the U.S. “It’s a labor-market issue they’re solving, not a housing-market problem,” Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, told the WSJ.
Launches and Collaborations
Actress and entrepreneur Kate Hudson has partnered with 1stDibs for a curated selection of furnishings, decor and jewelry up for auction on the site. Available on the platform for two weeks starting May 18, the collection demonstrates Hudson’s laid-back California aesthetic, with pieces including a Minio swivel armchair and a Nicholas Evans abstract painting.
Scott Brothers Global has announced the debut of new home and lifestyle brand Drew & Jonathan, along with digital hub DrewandJonathan. The new overarching entity encompasses the existing home furnishings brands Scott Living by Drew & Jonathan and Drew & Jonathan Home, along with product collaborations with partners like Macy’s and Living Spaces.
Sportswear brand Reebok and the Eames Office have teamed up for a sneaker collection inspired by furniture and toys designed by Charles and Ray Eames. The series takes inspiration from three classic designs—the Eames Elephant, rosewood material and Eames Coloring Toy—for the limited edition line of leather shoes, Dezeen reports.
Real Simple has announced the debut of the brand’s fifth annual Real Simple Home, opening this fall in the Rosemary Beach community in Inlet Beach, Florida. To curate the home—which features such spaces as a multifunction loft, outdoor porch and summer kitchen—the group has tapped a design roster that includes Clara Jung of Banner Day Interiors, Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin of The Home Edit, Erin Wheeler of Sunny Circle Studio and Kelly Finley of Joy Street Design, among others.
This year, Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio is unveiling a series of co-living concepts in Sweden, Finland and Denmark—the first, in a former transformer production factory in Stockholm, will offer 140 studio apartments, 200 co-working spaces, a gym and a cafe. In advance of the new hybrid living space’s debut, Surface Magazine’s Ryan Waddoups looks into the rise (and fumbles) of co-living companies like Common and Starcity to determine whether the phenomenon is truly a viable housing solution.
The cluttercore interiors trend is widely favored by Generation Z—a group that has seemingly rejected the aesthetic minimalism favored by their millennial predecessors. For Fast Company, Vanessa Brown explores why exactly the tides shifted so quickly, pointing to the pendulum swing of fashion over the last century as the source of the recent change.
Call for Entries
Online eco-home marketplace Living Deep has launched the International Product Design Competition for the Home and Office, encouraging both new and seasoned designers to submit their plans for home and office products that don’t already have a sustainable solution. Winners will have their products created by the Living Deep team and made available under a co-created product name, along with receiving 5 percent of product sales for two years and the opportunity for further collaboration. To submit an entry before the September 5 deadline, click here.
Homepage image: Furniture from the Living Deep Collection | Courtesy of Living Deep