SBID Awards Sponsors 2019: The Story Behind Perennials and Sutherland 18th October 2019 | IN HOSPITALITY DESIGN | BY SBID

We interviewed the SBID International Design Awards sponsor for the Restaurant Design category. Adam Hout, International Director at Perennials and Sutherland speaks about how the brand has developed since 1944 when founder, David Sutherland embarked on a mission to transform the outdoor furniture industry. From Sutherland furniture to the launch of Perennials fabrics, the brand now showcases the best of its luxury performance fabrics and rugs, as well as high grade outdoor furniture.

What are the origins of your brand?

The story begins over 40 years ago with David Sutherland who opened with his first multi-brand showroom in Houston. This was followed by a flagship showroom in Dallas. He was the first to bring high-end designs from the New York and Los Angeles markets to the booming Texas market. In 1994 David embarked on a mission with friend and collaborator John Hutton to transform the outdoor furniture industry by creating a collection of teak performance with a level of luxury and comfort never before seen outdoors. Sutherland pioneered tailored “deep-seating” cushions and was the first company to introduce fully upholstered outdoor collections. For David and John, it was time to bring indoor comfort and design to the outdoors which was revolutionary at the time. Only in recent years have others embraced this trend.

Creating the best outdoor furniture came with a problem, there were no outdoor fabrics luxurious enough! David partnered with his wife Ann to create outdoor fabrics which looked and felt natural, complementing nature and yet bringing luxury feel to the space. Perennials began as an outdoor fabric brand, but now it is a Luxury Performance fabric and rug brand, with much of its sales attributed to indoors, contract, and hospitality use. Perennials has grown substantially in that time and rightfully sits as the leader in luxury performance.

The company expanded its showrooms across the US and in 2017 opened a direct subsidiary in London UK; showcasing the best of Perennials performance fabrics, rugs, and Sutherland furniture. The strength of this company is in its multi-channel dynamic business model. P&S is a manufacturer, direct wholesaler to the trade industry, and private / white label manufacturer. It owes its success to the designers that it serves, and they remain the main focal point of the business.

How do you work with interior designers?

We manufacture and wholesale highly technical products, therefore specification of our product by a qualified individual or company is the focus of our company. We want the end users to use and enjoy our products in the correct format, setting, and design – for this the designer becomes of paramount importance. We sell direct to the trade and collaborate with them to fulfil their requirements. We educate, train and support our professional clients to get the most out of our products. We believe in one to one relationships and always strive to individualise the service to our clients.

What value does your sector add to the interior design industry?

It was never Ann Sutherland’s initial intention for the outdoor fabrics to become indoor / contract fabrics. It was the designers themselves that began using Perennials fabrics for that purpose and this developed the brand into what it is known and respected for today. This shows that performance is important to designers and end users alike. The issue with performance fabrics is that more often than not, luxury feel will be compromised, usually encouraging the client to go with an indoor fabric for those spaces. That is where Perennials fabrics comes in. We manufacture velvets, linens, silks, bouclets; in complex designs and weave structures which look and feel convincingly natural. The compromise becomes negligible, the client can enjoy the feel of a luxury velvet whilst not worrying about stains.

This is possible through the Perennials yarn technology which is known as 100% Solution Dyed Acrylic. The colour is embodied within the fibre which makes it very difficult to separate the colour from the yarn, unlike traditional yarns where the dye is added later on. Think of a carrot that, when peeled, remains orange – the same can be said about the Perennials fibre. The fabric is inherently resistant to water, mould, bleach, UV, and almost any stain you can think of. The use of bleach allows the user to remove most stains. Our fibre also has an inbuilt Nano-seal technology which adds repellence, with liquids splashing off.

Many other fabrics in the industry are also called Performance fabrics: Polyester and Polypropylene being two examples. They do not perform anywhere near as well, the colour does not hold and the quality and feel is not comparable. Many brands will add performance through using chemical top sprays which simply do not last and are not desirable. Customers often ask about sustainability: my answer is that Perennials is highly sustainable because it lasts an extremely long time and can easily be re-purposed.

What makes Perennials so special is that we have over 130 fabric lines, qualities, and over 1000 SKU’s of fabric using this technology. Whatever the project; whether a restaurant, a yacht, or a residential sofa, the client does not have to compromise to get luxury and performance together: a strong value proposition indeed.

SBID Awards Sponsor Perennials and Sutherland featuring high-performance textiles

How does your offering enhance an interior designer’s projects?

Our performance fabrics and rugs are not only an item of beauty, quality, and soft touch – but they bridge the gap into being a technology product. This enhances our client’s ability create a value proposition to their client. If something is beautiful, great, if it also more durable, cleanable, and will last longer than anything else, then even better!

Sutherland offers a unique aesthetic of understated luxury, combined with a focus on high grade raw materials, and comfort. The brand is world renown for bridging the gap between outdoor and indoor, not compromising on the outdoor area. Sutherland offers designers full customisation of product at a dedicated custom workshop. Whether you look to start from scratch or merely tweak an existing Sutherland piece, our product development team will partner with designers to create custom outdoor furniture guaranteed to be the perfect fit for your project.

What are the latest trends you’ve noticed in your client’s requests?

The autumn trends appear to be embroidery, flowery prints, jacquard effects, and natural wool blends in fashion; and this has crossed over into the interiors industry.  The Timothy Corrigan for Perennials collection reflects these trends well as do some of our longstanding natural weaves.

Why did you want to become a sponsor for the SBID Awards?

We want to give back to the industry and SBID is the perfect partner and platform for that. SBID is a shining light in the industry and is a strong facilitator for the the various participants.

The SBID International Design Awards winners for 2019 will be announced on Friday 25th October! 
Tables to attend this year’s SBID Awards are now sold out, but a limited number of individual tickets are still available. Book a seat now!
To find out more about sponsoring the SBID International Design Awards next year, email [email protected]