At CEDIA, Specialty Dealers Do Design Too
Learn this word, it could make you money this year: wenge (pronounced “WHEN-gay”). Originally, it was the name of a type of dark, rich, brown wood which grows in Africa, but for specialty CE dealers this year, it’s the color of A/V furniture manufacturers say will be hotter than roasted chestnuts this holiday season.
Omnimount design specialist Zachary Eyman got a good look at wenge-colored products-- what catalog-savvy Americans might also call “espresso” or “cocoa”-- at this year’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York. “I go every year to see what trends are developing,” said Eyman, “and with the increasing focus on sustainability, we’re seeing more and more natural materials like bamboo, teaks, wenge and woods that aren’t even stained.”
Eyman spent the 2008 CEDIA expo sharing his furniture industry reconnaissance with dealers hungry for high-margin items (typically 40-50 percent on A/V furniture) they can pair with the most affordable LCDs and plasmas in history. In the Omnimount booth, wenge showed up in the Echo 50FB, a Moda Collection flatpanel stand (MSRP $249) with matching audio rack.
“It’s that West Elm, Crate & Barrel look, a very natural modern,” said Eyman, who noted that Americans are still shy about going full-out modern in their decor, though they have grown tired of those so-1990’s oakey entertainment centers.
Marc Sculler, Presdient of Bell’O called the new wave in stand styles “transitional.”
“It’s not traditional and it’s not contemporary,” he said. “I like to say it’s ‘warm contemporary.’”
Call it what you will, Sculler noted that A/V furniture has never been more popular. “Only 25 percent of TVs are mounted right now,” he said. “That’s not to say people won’t mount them in the future, but for a lot of people, it’s just easier to set it on a stand with the components on shelves below.”