December 3rd – December 6th, 2017
High Point, NC

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Tickets are nearly sold out for the newly elevated Pinnacle Awards Gala on Monday evening, October 16th and Market-goers are strongly encouraged to act quickly to secure their seats by visiting:

“The Pinnacle Awards Banquet, which celebrates product design and designers is always a popular event at Market,” says John Conrad, executive director. “Yet, this year’s Pinnacle Awards is shaping up to be a true gala celebration that will be the talk of the Market. As the industry’s awareness and respect for the role of product designers continues to grow, ASFD is continuously promoting, advancing and supporting the profession of design and its positive impact and the Pinnacle Awards is evolving as well. The gala this year is being elevated to an entirely new level. We are expecting a sell-out crowd in the IHFC Green Wing ballroom,” says John Conrad, executive director.

For the first time, an up-and-coming singer/songwriter and her trio will serve as headline entertainment. North Carolina artist Anne-Claire writes music influenced by her love of soul divas and intimate singer-songwriters. “Currently celebrating the release of her new single Second Time (March 31, 2017) Anne-Claire’s music is rich and melody-driven,” Conrad says. “We are very excited to have her unique, exciting and very sophisticated sound set the stage for our roster of Pinnacle presenters, all of whom are industry leaders, influencers and stars in their fields. There is no question that this night will be our industry’s version of the Academy Awards.”

Indeed, this year’s list of presenters reads like an industry Who’s Who, including Master of Ceremonies Bill McLoughlin, Furniture/Today; Libby Langdon, Libby Interiors; Jaye Anna Mize, Fashion Snoops; Jeff Selik, Hillside Furniture; Lael Thompson, Broyhill Home Collections; and Bob Maricich, International Market Centers; with merchant Andy Thornton, founder of LaDiff delivering the keynote address, “Design and Happiness.”

“One of the most exciting aspects of this year’s awards is that three of the winners will have the opportunity to be interviewed the following morning by James Swan for his Million Dollar Decorating podcast:,” Conrad relates. “The interviews will be broadcast to James’ podcast in “real time” and live streamed videos of the sessions will be shared on Facebook Live and YouTube. Gala attendees will also be among the first to see and hear about exciting developments like the Asian Pinnacle Awards and the Association’s new website set to be unveiled following Market.”

Andy ThorntonMerchant Andy Thorton has been named keynote speaker for the 2017 Pinnacle Awards Banquet set for Monday, October 16 at the High Point Market. The provocative and design savvy founder of modern and contemporary Richmond, VA-powerhouse La Difference will address “Happiness By Design.”

Now in its 22nd year, the Pinnacle Awards honor design excellence across the home furnishings industry, showcasing products introduced each year in 17 categories, ranging from accessories to upholstery. Winnowed down to 64 finalists, products are judged by a jury comprised of 12 well-known industry professionals on a variety of criteria, including innovation, form and function, retailer and manufacturer benefit, and consumer benefit. Winners are kept a closely guarded secret until the gala Pinnacle Awards banquet ceremony.

“The American Society of Furniture Designers was created more than two decades ago to advocate for outstanding design and the designers whose creativity drives the home furnishings industry’s engine,” says John Conrad, executive director. “In light of our goal to elevate the role of design in the home furnishings industry, we could not think of a more timely and relevant speaker than Andy Thornton.”

Born in Kent, England—moving to Paris at the age of 5 and Ridgewood, NJ at the age of 11—by his junior year of high school, Andy Thornton was attending Escola Americana do Rio de Janeiro. President of his senior class with a 4.0 grade point average, he was politely asked to leave Brazil by the CIA for making a speech on U.S. Embassy grounds against the war in Vietnam during graduation ceremonies. He would spend a year at Bard College in New York before deciding to hitchhike across the U.S. eight times in six months (once on $4 round trip).

In what would eventually prove a lucky turn of events for the design-conscious up and down the East Coast, the peripatetic wanderer decided to settle down for the balance of the early ‘70s and start his own high-end furniture and woodworking business. Andy’s talent and predilection for great design was obvious from the get-go, with positive reviews and coverage of his work appearing in numerous publications, including the “Washington Post,” and Interior Design Magazine. During this time, his work was sold in galleries from Florida to New England.

As successful as the young furniture maker was, he again succumbed to wanderlust in 1977—taking a year off to travel Mexico, the U.S., Western and Eastern Europe and the Near East, an adventure he continues to recommend. A year later he settled in Port Au Prince, Haiti, where he set up a business exporting handcrafts and art sold through a U.S.-based wholesale operation.

Happily for today’s consumers, Andy moved back to Virginia in 1980, changing the home furnishings landscape and shopping experience with the launch of La Difference—the East Coast’s largest selection of modern and contemporary furniture and accessories. Honored with multiple awards from Small Business of the Year to Distinguished Retailer of the Year to the ARTS Award for Best Accessories by a Furniture Store, he served as president of the trend-setting, three-story showroom in downtown Richmond until last year, when he relinquished the role to his partner in life and business, wife Sarah Paxton. He retains the dual titles Founder and Flunkey.

“Andy’s passion for great design and business sense are legendary in this industry, and he couples his insight with a wonderful sense of humor,” Conrad says. “I urge everyone to purchase their tickets for this event as soon as possible, because his not-to-be-missed presentation will be the talk of the Market and we expect a sell-out crowd.”

To purchase tickets for the 2017 Pinnacle Award Banquet, please visit

Following months of anticipation and intense deliberation, the waiting is over and the American Society of Furniture Designers (ASFD) has a new class of finalists in the running for the industry’s highest honor for outstanding design: The 2017 Pinnacle Awards.

The ASFD was created more than two decades ago to advocate for outstanding design and the designers whose creativity drives the home furnishings industry’s engine. Now in it’s the 22nd year, the annual Pinnacle Awards competition is drawing greater interest than ever, with some 64 finalists competing in 17 categories. The competition culminates Monday, October 16 at the 2017 Pinnacle Awards banquet held at the High Point Market.

According to John Conrad, executive director, a provocative keynote speaker for the gala event has been set and will be announced in the coming weeks. “As we continually seek to elevate the role of design in the industry, our focus now is on announcing the finalists, all of whom are waiting to hear whether their work has been recognized by the elite mix of industry leaders encompassing manufacturing, retailing, education, journalists, designers and home fashion forecasters who serve as the Pinnacle Award judges. And the envelope please…”

The American Society of Furniture Designers (ASFD) has released its latest Design Between the Lines episode. The new installment features Libby Langdon, interior designer, product designer, author, makeover television personality and the creative force behind New York-based Libby Interiors, Inc.

Featuring an ever-growing library of movers and shakers, industry innovators and lifetime legends of the business, Design Between the Lines is a popular design and home furnishings podcast and YouTube series focusing on the influencers shaping the industry today. The provocative series provides behind-the-scenes insights into product design and the lives of designers, with recent episodes ranging from Bobby Berk (known as “It” boy of the design world today) to Jason Phillips (creative director, Phillips Collection) and Furniture Hall of Fame inductee and creative strategist Jena Hall.

This latest Design Between the Lines interview is available on iTunes via…/design-between-the…/id1166378903… and on YouTube: The discussion with ASFD Executive Director John Conrad focuses on the unique journey Libby Langdon took to becoming a designer, how crafting a lifestyle brand can be a powerful asset, and her advice to students just starting out in the home furnishings industry.

During the interview recorded in High Point, N.C., Langdon reminisces about growing up as a hometown girl here, where she was inspired by the work of a father in the textiles business, and a mother in design. She also provides great insight into how she has evolved into one of the fastest-growing home furnishings brands in the industry, addressing the various components of her company, her design process and experiences working with manufacturers.

“As a product designer, Libby designs licensed collections for a variety of leading companies, including Braxton Culler, Crystorama, Bradburn Gallery and most recently outdoor furniture maker NorthCape,” Conrad notes. “As an interior designer, her residential and commercial projects are winning widespread fans and industry acclaim. Libby understands how people want to live today, and her design aesthetic is driven by near-daily conversations with consumers. With a great sense of humor, energy and enthusiasm, her realistic and down-to-earth point of view is readily apparent throughout our interview and her anecdotes are very entertaining. We’re thrilled that Libby has shared her story with ASFD for the benefit of all those interested in good design and design education.”

Heads up procrastinators: The American Society of Furniture Designers (ASFD) is issuing an urgent call to all furniture designers interested in submitting their work for consideration in the 2017 Pinnacle™ Award Competition. The deadline for entries has been extended to July 15, 2017.

“It’s been a very busy Spring for most, but we’re confident that this generous, two-week extension will give any designer who has put their entry on the back-burner enough time to finish filling out their online submission form,” notes John Conrad, executive director of the association. “Those who have submitted their designs in the past will see that the entry process has been greatly streamlined and simplified over the years. And first-timers will find that it really is quite simple to have their best designs considered for recognition among the industry’s most remarkable work. Just visit the Pinnacle Award entry website: and follow the prompts for an opportunity to join the pantheon of the most elite group of furniture designers in the world.”

The Pinnacle Awards honor design excellence across the home furnishings industry, showcasing products introduced each year in 16 categories, ranging from accessories to upholstery. Products are judged by a jury comprised of 12 well-known industry professionals on a variety of criteria, including innovation, form and function, retailer and manufacturer benefit, and consumer benefit. Each year, a list of finalists is released following the judging process, but winners are kept a closely guarded secret until the gala Pinnacle Awards banquet ceremony held each Fall during the High Point Market.

Judging the Pinnacles each year is an elite mix of industry leaders encompassing manufacturing, retailing, education, journalists, designers and home fashion forecasters. This year’s roster features Greg Curry, Engender Furniture; Lael Thompson, Broyhill Home Collections/Sonshine Furniture Today, Inc.,; Richard Prisco, Appalachian State University; Sheila Edwards, Savannah College of Art and Design; Jane Nichols, High Point University; Chris Eitel, Vladimir Kagan Design; Adam Kessler, Association of Woodworking & Furnishing Suppliers; Christi Barbour, Barbour Spangle Design; Erin Berg, Furniture Today; Jay Anna Mize, Fashion Snoops; Russell Bienenstock, Furniture World; and Susan Inglis, Sustainable Furnishings Council.

The 2017 Pinnacle Awards are made possible through the generous support of industry sponsors, including Continental Hardware, Furniture Design Studios, HSM Solutions, the High Point Market Authority, Home Furnishings Business, International Market Centers, Leggett & Platt, Autodesk,, and Sherwin Williams Corp. Industry publication Furniture/Today serves as lead sponsor of the event.

“Last year’s record-setting competition provided an unprecedented level of exposure for the designers honored with these prestigious awards,” says furniture designer Catina Roscoe, president of ASFD. “If you have not already done so, now is the time to step up and enter your work for a chance to be judged among the best of the best. I know I echo the sentiment of the entire ASFD board when I wish all ‘Good luck!’ ”

Libby LangdonThe American Society of Furniture Designers (ASFD) is presenting an “Evening with Libby Langdon,” a special design event benefitting the association’s scholarship fund on Wednesday, May 17th, 2016, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., at the String & Splinter Club here.

The creative force behind the New York City based interior design firm, Libby Interiors, Inc., Libby Langdon is a well-known interior designer, author, and makeover television personality. One of the fastest-growing home furnishings brands in the business, the designer has launched several successful and growing collections of licensed products for a variety of leading companies, including Braxton Culler, Crystorama, Bradburn Gallery, and most recently, NorthCape.

According to John Conrad, executive director of ASFD, Langdon will offer insights into the various components of her company, her design process and experiences working with manufacturers on her licensed collections, as well as how she partners with companies in the branding and promotion of her products.

For Langdon, who grew up in High Point, the event is very much a homecoming. “I’m really looking forward to coming back to High Point for this special evening,” she says. “My Dad was in textiles, and my Mom was in design, so the home furnishings industry has been in my blood from the beginning. I’m thrilled to be a part of the furniture business and I look forward to sharing my experiences from my start in interior design, my move into product design and what I want to make happen next!”

The cost per ticket is $25 per person which includes wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres. To learn more and order tickets online, please visit: For this night only, dinner reservations at the String & Splinter Club will be accepted exclusively for presentation attendees. For dinner reservations, call (336) 882-8191.

“Besides being a smart and exceptionally talented hometown girl, Libby Langdon is known as a real mover and shaker in our industry,” Conrad relates. “She has also been an ardent supporter of good design and design education and this event promises to be a very entertaining presentation, appropriately set to coincide with Celebrate the Old North State week. We are delighted that Libby will be coming home to give us the opportunity to learn more about how she has achieved so much, so quickly. We expect tickets to sell-out, and encourage everyone interested in attending to order now.”

About Libby Langdon
Libby Langdon is an Interior designer, author, product designer and makeover television personality, as well as the creative force behind New York City-based design firm, Libby Interiors, Inc. Her first book, Libby Langdon’s Small Space Solutions, was born out of Libby appearing on 5 seasons of HGTV’s hit show, Small Space, Big Style. Her interior designs and home products have been featured in leading shelter magazines: Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, Traditional Home, Hamptons Cottages & Gardens, Better Homes and Gardens, and Woman’s Day. Langdon has been a regular design expert on NBC’s TODAY Show, HGTV’s Small Space, Big Style, The View, The Rachael Ray Show, The Early Show and NBC’s Open House. Langdon travels across the country presenting her design seminars to consumers, designers and retailers about all things design and she splits her time between New York City and Sag Harbor, New York.

The American Society of Furniture Designers (ASFD) is heading into Spring Market 2017 with a slate of new officers and board members that reflects the changing face of the home furnishings industry.

Greensboro, NC-based designer Catina Roscoe is set to become the third woman to be named president of ASFD since the association was founded more than 30 years ago. “As the unified voice of the furniture design community, it is only fitting that the make-up of the ASFD board is becoming more inclusive and diverse,” says the designer, who emigrated from Cuba to the US at an early age. Founder of Catina Unlimited Design, Roscoe has created numerous successful collections for leading manufacturers throughout her three-decade career, intuitively balancing traditional with contemporary styles, and the familiar with the unexpected. Her studio is a repeat finalist and winner of the Pinnacle Award.

“As passionate as I am about the value and integral role of great design, particularly in time of great change in our industry, I am honored to take on this position, as well as excited to be joined on the board by newly elected directors Aimee Kurzner, furniture designer at Currey & Company, Atlanta, GA; Megan Barrett, director of design for Sherrill Furniture Companies in Hickory, NC, and Mandy Shanahan, designer for Phillips Collection, based here in High Point,” Roscoe relates. “All three of these young women are leaders in companies long known for outstanding design. Additionally, Tom Conley, president and chief executive of the High Point Market Authority—which has accomplished so much in recent years in terms of welcoming the design community to Market—also joins the ASFD board this year. I look forward to the fresh perspectives and innovative ideas for growth that these new board members will bring to the table.”

As Roscoe assumes the role of president, Jason Phillips becomes chairman of the board of ASFD. Tim O’Hare, senior vice president of creative merchandising at Caracole, and designer Christian Dunbar have both been elected vice presidents, while Jack Hendrix, of Hendrix Barney & Co., CPAs, continues as treasurer.

Other continuing board members include Peter Aiken, Aspenhome; John Black, J. Black Design; Mark Tucker, MT3Dzines; Christopher Eitel, Vladimir Kagan Design Group; Liz Moore, Otto and Moore, Inc.; Jacob S. “Jake” Wharton, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP; Karla Webb, Bienenstock Furniture Library; Bill McLoughlin, Furniture/Today; Monty Simpson, Kendall College of Art and Design; Adria Torrez, Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers (AWFS); and Cole Reynolds, Vanguard Furniture.

“My mission as we move forward together with the new board is to elevate furniture designers and broaden the reach of ASFD, both here at home, and around the globe,” Roscoe relates. “As we begin to chart the future course of the organization, it’s also important at this time to acknowledge those who have helped us navigate thus far. As such, the ASFD Board of Directors wishes to thank the following departing board members for their service and contributions: Rick Schroeder, vice president of design, Stanley Furniture; Steve Hodges, Steve Hodges Associates, Inc., and founder ASFD; C.J. Grudzinskas; Paula Fogarty; Fred Spector, Frederic Spector Design Studio and Savannah College of Art and Design; and Nicholas Blair, Turnkey Products.”

As part of its on-going mission to serve as the voice of the furniture design community, the American Society of Furniture Designers (ASFD) has licensed its prestigious Pinnacle Award concept to the China International Furniture Fair (CIFF).

The agreement inked here will result in the launch of the first-ever Asian Pinnacle Award Competition, culminating later this year with a gala celebration at the 23rd China International Furniture Expo, September 12-15 in Shanghai.

Created more than two decades ago by the ASFD board of directors to promote design quality and encourage the recognition of furniture designers within the retail home furnishings industry, this year marks the 21st anniversary of the Pinnacle Awards held each October during the High Point Market.

According to John Conrad, executive director of ASFD, the American organization will oversee the Asian competition, with first-round submissions of the 2017 competition vetted by members of the ASFD board prior to being released to judging panel.

“As with the Pinnacle Awards, which have come to stand for excellence, innovation and originality in the practice of furniture design, our goal is to ensure a design competition that is above reproach, and that the Asian Pinnacle Award judges will be presented with the crème de la crème of Asian furniture design,” Conrad says.

“Like the American competition, submissions in 15 categories will be judged by a panel of twelve, including prominent Asian shelter magazine editors, design educators and professional designers. The new competition will also feature a category for students. A new website has been launched to promote the competition and encourage submissions by both professionals and students.

Entries are open to all Asian furniture designers and manufacturers. Products entered must be in current production and be available to Asian consumers through internet, catalog or brick-and-mortar retailers. Entries must meet the most discerning design standards and are judged on form and function, innovation, retailer and manufacturer benefit and consumer benefit.


Founded in 1998, the China International Furniture Fair has been successfully held for 38 sessions. Every year the spring edition in Guangzhou connects over 3900 world leading brands with more than 170,000 professional attendees from 200 countries and regions, creating immense value for the international furniture industry.

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