Although I spent a disproportionate amount of time at the Hickory Chair showroom (how could I resist with Suzanne Kasler and Alexa Hampton, Thomas O'Brien, Mariette Himes-Gomez and Ron Fiore in the house?), a highlight of my High Point experience was the ultra cool British import Halo. The chic furnishings experience is a bit challenging to describe. It has a hipster loungy vibe by day, with full coffee bar and creative-types milling about, and is quite the VIP magnet at night. Whether you identified yourself with the studied and serious day crowd or the black-clad evening group, one thing was certain: this was the place to be.
If you haven't been to HIgh Point before, it will help if I set the scene for you. There are a cluster of main buildings. Massive, gleaming, modern structures complete with transportation bays and information desks. Entering those buildings you realize you are entering into a Vegas experience. By that I mean you'll see no clocks, have no concept of hours passing and leave not find your way back to an exit until long after dusk. Along the way you'll see bizarrely beautiful things, cram into packed elevators with strangers, part with lots of hard earned cash and feel the rush that only mingling with massive crowds can deliver. It's an adventure.
Last time I visited Market I spent most of my time in the main buildings. This time... not so much. The place to be, it seemed, was Hamilton Street. Thanks to ideal weather (72 and sunny), this amazing design district drew me in and kept me coming back for more. Hamilton is a sunny and meandering street lined with high end furniture shops and luxury showrooms. Sunlight streaming into tiny little boutiques and breezes blowing on silk draperies: this was designer heaven. There are plenty of people along Hamilton, but no crowds. Instead you're free to pop in and out of various shops and bask in the warmth of the Carolina sun. The breeze was amazing and you had that "all is right with the world" feeling. It was amazing. Further downhill the showrooms could be found. Hickory Chair, Pearson and others. There were places to grab a drink, live jazz bands playing in plazas and cocktail tables in clusters.
I'm setting the stage for you so you get a sense of the relaxed atmosphere of the district. It was worlds away from the formal experience of the main buildings. Less to see, yes. But I felt I could actually take in the scene and focus on the objects in front of me at my own leisure. A block or two over was Halo. It actually occupies two buildings. Brick two story structures across the street from one another. Each building had it's own personality. Between the floor to ceiling tapestries brandishing the image of The Queen and the well curated mix of repurposed antiques, you got the sense that Bob & Cortney Novogratz pulled from their inventory. The offerings were eclectic and cool, funky and different.
While I was there I walked upon a photo shoot in the works. Union Jack upholstered chairs and weathered leather tufted ottoman's being pulled together to form a cool vignette. The place just had "cool" written all over it.
A few items I had trouble parting with... an airplane wing repurposed into an executive desk. Mr. Venti has been wanting one for ages (since we saw one in a movie). Now, I can order one for him. It was truly amazing, all that gleaming metal buffed to just the right level of imperfection. Very cool, indeed.
They had a few amazing Louis XVI objects, too. Chairs and ottomans. Gorgeous. But you know that insanely large mirrors are my weakness. The best was an Italian flourish framed beauty that was priced so low I had to catch my breath. Truth be told it's the shipping that kills you on these things, but a girl has to plan for the future. That mirror needs a home in my Texas living room. Badly.
While I was there I met the owner as well as one of the brand managers. He indicated they were looking at expanding their US footprint and were even considering a place down south. With any luck they'll choose the Big D as the site of their next location. Until then, I'll continue refining my list of "must have" items from their fabulous inventory.
Halo... I'm drinking the kool-aid. This Venti girl is a full fledged fan. Keep up the fantastic work.