06 9 / 2012
Okay, not technically a WTF about the catalog (speaking of which, I really need to write a new post. Trust me, there are a lot more WTFs to cover!), but this was just. too. good.
Restoration Hardware CEO Ousted Amid Reports of Relationship with Subordinate
This stuff just writes itself.
But, seriously. How was she supposed to resist THIS:
06 4 / 2012
In the world of Restoration Hardware, downsizing means moving to your Paris apartment for a month. That can be tough. And Restoration Hardware is here to help.
“…for those who choose to live in smaller yet no less stylish environs, we’ve scaled down our entire collection to offer sizes that work beautifully in more intimate spaces. […] So whether you’re looking for sofas, dining tables, dressers or more, they’re all here to outfit your pied-a-terre, city loft or coastal bungalow.”
Now, because this message is so important, Resto gives it to me twice: once in the catalog itself, AND as an entirely separate 50-page “special issue” that was plastic-wrapped with the catalog. It’s just so hard to concentrate on furnishing my Boston brownstone when all I can hear is THE EARTH WEEPING.
Anyway. So, the world is getting smaller, we are stylish people, and we’re concerned. Concerned that Restoration Hardware won’t be able to meet our varying needs. I mean, my Paris Pied-a-Terre, my San Francisco Victorian, my Napa farmhouse, my London townhouse, my New York loft, my Boston brownstone and my Los Angeles bungalow…there is NO WAY that one furniture company can meet all of my needs. No way.
Gary begs to differ. And he’s about to spend the next 50 pages showing us how wrong we are. I mean, from the photos below you can clearly, CLEARLY see how the collections fit into the aesthetics of each of my different home environments. You can see how the collection has been scaled down to a more appropriate, livable size. You can quite obviously see the differences here. Look how VERSATILE this collection is.
Go ahead and try to differentiate Paris, San Francisco, Napa, London, New York, Boston and Los Angeles. Correct answers are in the comments.
05 4 / 2012
6 pages in and we’re already up to our 5th WTF: The Deconstructed Collection. WTF, you say? Let’s allow the copywriters at Resto to enlighten us:
Inspired by their grandfather’s mid-19th-century wing chair - liberated from its ancient red velvet upholstery and its frame elegantly exposed - the Van Thiel family set out to replicate is unadorned state. Finding great beauty in the stripped-down form, they expanded the concept to include other seating styles, meticulously hand-crafting them to reveal the old-world artistry of their inner-workings. Authentic character belies sturdy comfort and resilience. A heavily distressed walnut frame, accented with nailheads and whipstitching, is complemented by the rich texture of burlap and antiqued cotton upholstery for a lived-in look. Uniquely one of a kind, this furniture is for the ages.
Go ahead. Take a moment and let that sink in.
Now, let’s translate:
A couple of guys ripped the fabric off their grandpa’s chair because it smelled of pee and cigarillos. Taking all that upholstery off was hard work, so they looked at the chair frame and wondered aloud, “I wonder if anyone would just buy it like that? That would save us a whole step in the furniture manufacturing process: the part where we cover it with a nice, expensive fabric.” And so, The Deconstructed Collection was born. And on a factory line somewhere in the world, some poor fool has to take a hammer and nails and poke holes in a walnut chair frame so that McMansions everywhere can enjoy an “authentic” and “unique” look.
Also, this is the only time you will see burlap described as “rich.”
This is the furniture equivalent of premium “distressed denim.” Instead of buying a high-quality piece of furniture and giving it a lived-in look by LIVING IN IT you are paying a couple grand for what, in the past, would have been called “an unfinished chair.”
“Kind of like Derelicte! for the home!”
- Joseph Pettini
You pay extra for those authentic nail holes. Also note the authentic chunks of fabric. That’s where they deconstructed some shit! You can’t buy that kind of authenticity! Wait. Yes, you can.
Authenticity. To quote The Princess Bride, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
04 4 / 2012
You don’t have to stray far from WTF #3 to find WTF #4; it’s on the facing page. It’s a letter from the editor. And by “editor” I mean the ruggedly handsome CEO, Gary Friedman. Damn it, Gary! Stop looking at me like that, I’m trying to buy some furniture here.
But, no. You cannot buy furniture until you hear what Gary has to say. And Gary wants to talk to you about Steve Jobs. WHAT? Yes. Because Steve Jobs said important things like, “Don’t be trapped by dogma,” and Gary wants you to know that Restoration Hardware is 100% dogma-free. No dogmas were harmed in the making of this 655-page catalog. Trees? Yes. The backs of the postal workers forced to haul this tome to each of our doorsteps? Indeed. Dogma? Absolutely not. You can rest easy on that subject.
I’m just glad that someone in this world is finally…FINALLY!…recognizing the brilliance of Steve Jobs. That guy has toiled away in relative obscurity for far too long.
04 4 / 2012
In my quest to understand why on earth a company would send such a ridiculous catalog, I consulted my dear friend, Google. This May 2011 article from the Wall Street Journal, Restoration Rewired, explained a lot.
“We said, ‘Let’s forget about the customer for a minute,’ ” Friedman says. “I don’t mean that in an arrogant way. We believe that great brands don’t chase customers, customers chase great brands.”
And then this, which explains the catalog. Pardon me, I mean the “Source Book”:
The most visible signal of intent, apart from the store-design revamp, is the “source book,” as the company calls its catalog. “It’s 384 pages,” he says. “Find another home book that big.” There are no products on the cover; rather, an inviting photograph of the gallery in the gloaming, lights aglow, everything symmetrical. Inside, there’s a portrait of Friedman, and a kind of editor’s letter. The “book” is short on product descriptions and long on large, immersive photographs (squint and it just might be a coffee-table interior-design book).
04 4 / 2012
04 4 / 2012
Guest submission from Jamey Erickson.
“Not only was it delivered to our office, and not a single business dollar has ever been spent at Restoration Hardware, it was too large for our mailbox. It took both hands and a strategically propped leg to pry it out… and send it directly to the recycling bin.”
04 4 / 2012