Bernhardt Design sets North American distribution partnership with Italian brand

Bernhardt Design, the contract division of Bernhardt Furniture Co., has formed a new partnership with Italy-based furniture Plank.

Called Bernhardt Design + Plank, Bernhardt Design described the move as a long-term partnership “between two design-focused, family-owned companies” in North America.

“I have been searching for an appropriate European partner for a number of years and was unable find the perfect product fit and personal chemistry,” Jerry Helling, president of Bernhardt Design. “We have admired Plank for many years, and when I heard Michael Plank (CEO of the company) might be open to a new relationship, I was sitting in his office the next week.”

In its release on the partnership, Bernhardt Designs notes that the companies share common goals in several areas like “the pursuit of quality, a deep appreciation for the value of design and a commitment to innovation.”

Through the new partnership, Bernhardt Design + Plank will be the exclusive distributor for Plank’s indoor and outdoor products in North America. An extensive Fast Track program will offer two-week shipment on an array of seating and tables, and the brand is launching this month in North America.

Plank, established in 1953 and known for collaborating with designers such

Lighting expert makes case for courting designers

The interior design channel is growing, but lighting showrooms often fail to court designers and are therefore leaving money on the table, according to one lighting expert.

Designers offer a unique opportunity to lighting showrooms in multiple ways, said Tim Stumm, creative director for Z-Lite. Stumm was the moderator of the panel “Working with designers to grow your showroom business” during the American Lighting Association’s virtual symposium this month.

First, showrooms should join and participate in such associations as the ASID, IDS and Design Guild, Stumm told Home Accents Today ahead of his panel. Then they can offer up their spaces to host association events, for example, or provide designers a conference room or area to meet with clients. Clients who then have great experiences in the showrooms through their designers will tell their friends. “The best way that you build a business is by word by mouth.”

Designers also need lighting for showhouses and other events, so lighting showrooms can engage in that way as well, Stumm added. It’s all “brand awareness for the showroom.”

Designers bring such energy, he said. “Why would you not want that in there?”

Designers can also help keep showrooms on top of trends,