Coinciding with New York Design Week, Resident, the New Zealand based design company, popped up for the month of May to display and sell its sleek furniture and lighting. The products, made for design-conscious people, were on display in this industrial Storefront showroom in the Lower East Side, right on the buzzy Spring Street.
Storefront visited the 3,000 square foot pop-up showroom, titled “Traveling Without Bags”, and sat down with Resident co-founder Scott Bridgens to discuss the space, why he chose to pop-up in NYC for the first time, and why he calls it an “experiential retail solution”.
- Bringing Resident to the U.S In Resident’s First-Ever Showroom
While Bridgens states the U.S. is his biggest market and his team comes to NY Design Week every year, he “needed to do something extra special this year to go deeper, and give customers a more pure, bolder, fulfilling experience of the brand.” Wanting to show the designs on his own terms for the first-time ever, Bridgens decided now was the perfect time to release Resident into a dedicated space and have maximum control.
“If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere,” Bridgens says, adding “we’ve always had our eye on New York and are thrilled to come here. Our friends are here and most of our business is done here.”
He chose this space on Spring Street to display his products and give customers a unique experience that they wouldn’t get from just viewing each furniture or lighting piece online. “We’re not calling it a pop-up, rather an experiential retail solution. We’re not focusing on selling product per se, but educating people about the brand and design and philosophy.” Focusing on this crucial stage, Bridgens hoped people will fall in love with the brand this way and then the buying and selling aspect would naturally happen afterwards.
- Finding the perfect space with quintessential New York character.
“The space ceilings are so high, and it had that beautiful New York brickwork. It’s so quintessential New York, and the dimensions of the space were perfect for us,” Bridgens says. His team divided the space into 6 zones, designed by the interior architect Rufus Knight. with curtains placed strategically to maintain an open feel. The space was also able to adequately display the full range of Resident designs, with each “room” intended to evoke the feeling of home.
Bridgens split his focus on just the NY audience for the first half of the pop-up duration, and then to the out-of-towners who visited NY just for Design Week. He also worked to secure appointments with influencers in the design industry to promote the pop-up showroom, hosting breakfasts and evening sessions with designers and the media to come and check out the space.
- Future Goals For Resident Showrooms.
“The goal is to have a standalone store in the U.S – not one but many – and this showroom serves as an important stepping stone. Bridgens wanted to put his company under the microscope to determine if he believes he has the brand, or products, to self-sustain itself in the city.
“The New York design scene is flourishing right now, and this has been a wave that’s 6-7 years old where there’s a lot of notable furniture and lighting designers coming out of New York and Brooklyn,” Bridgens adds. He also stated that New World design is much more tolerated in the U.S., while Europe is deeply rooted with Italian and Scandinavian design, looking optimistically to opening a permanent store in New York in the near future as it would have the wide reception the brand seeks.