Design Collaborative: A Vision Fulfilled

April 1, 2008

Rottet by Decca fulfills designer Lauren Rottet's vision for sophisticated furniture that won't break the budget.

By Janet Wiens

All too often, a company's manufacturing capabilities go unheralded. We marvel at the intricacies of upholstery and celebrate the pattern and finish of a wood product but sometimes fail to appreciate the engineering and technology that make those products and reactions possible. In the case of Rottet by Decca, the company's manufacturing capabilities and commitment to production were critical to turning award-winning designer Lauren Rottet's vision into reality.

John Fischbach, president of Decca Contract Furniture, notes that the company's manufacturing capabilities served as the foundation for the new line's birth. "We worked with Lauren in the past and appreciate her designs. During a meeting with her, we asked if there was something she wanted to do but had not achieved. She expressed her vision for a new furniture line but indicated that she hadn't found the right manufacturing partner, which opened the door to our discussions for the line."

Rottet showed her sketches to Fischbach and these were in turn given to Decca's engineers for review. They confirmed that the company had the capabilities to meet all production requirements and they were confident that her designs could be implemented as originally conceived.

Before finalizing the partnership, Rottet, principal of DMJM Rottet, requested a visit to Decca's 1.2 million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Hong Kong. The company developed several prototype pieces for review, which were waiting for Rottet to analyze upon her arrival. The end result is a beautiful new line that has already received strong support from the marketplace.

The coffee table "Fold" has a unique design featuring quarter-cut veneer in book-matched layup on the top and sides.

"We limit our vendor partnerships and do more in-house work than many manufacturers," says Fischbach. "This gives us greater economic strength and flexibility, which Lauren recognized. We're very proud of our craftsmen and the products produced in our Hong Kong facility." Decca also has a manufacturing facility in North Carolina, which handles the company's upholstery products in the Rottet line.

Rottet by Decca enables designers to provide clients with high-design pieces without exceeding the budget and is intended to serve as active elements within a project, according to Fischbach. The line features two chairs; two-seat, three-seat and sectional sofas; benches; coffee tables; and an executive table desk. Finishes include 15
standard options, four premium veneers and eight exotic veneers. COM (customer's own material) and COL (customer's own leather) options are available in addition to the multiple finishes and woods offered by the company.

"Offices have become more casual, and in many instances have a residential quality," explains Rottet. "There are hundreds of options when it comes to selecting furniture for commercial installations ... corporate, hospitality and healthcare ... but I saw a need for something that would work with other elements to create a welcoming environment."

Above: The sofa shows Rottet's initial concept for the product. Below: Rottet's cradle concept for all seating in the collection is evident in the bench.

Rottet notes that Decca team members never told her that something she wanted could not be done. The result is a collection rich in detail and beauty. For example, all seating is designed as a cradle, with the selected materials of wood, upholstery or leather combining to create the desired aesthetic. Every detail, large and small, was carefully considered and reflects great care in both design and final production.

While some new lines begin with limited product elements and grow, Rottet by Decca was introduced with a generous breadth of options. Coffee tables, for instance, are available in Fold, Quad or Slot variations. The low occasional table represents a hearth and reflects Rottet's sensitivity to residential qualities in corporate installations. Remembering that work must take place, some tables accommodate power and storage drawers.

"Furniture in a family is often passed down from one generation to another and the quality of the craftsmanship in this line makes that possible for commercial clients," says Rottet. "The pieces are made mostly by hand and Decca's commitment to quality control and the pride of its employees in the work they produce is outstanding. The products in the line, if cared for properly, will last for many, many years."

Rottet by Decca was granted two NeoCon® Gold Awards in 2007. While the product's design qualities are impressive, it would be inappropriate not to mention the line's environmental properties. All woods used are plentiful and are sourced from sustainably managed forests. The company's environmental focus, championed by Decca's chair, C.H. Tsang, is evident throughout the Hong Kong facility. Decca is currently pursuing the steps necessary to become the first Asian manufacturer to be able to contribute to LEED® points-an accomplishment that will be facilitated by its overall environmental commitment.

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