Blu Dot furniture design and manufacturing sells most of its stylish furniture - a cross between mid-century and Danish Modern designs in oak, ash, walnut, and matching plywood veneers - through online retailers like Wayfair, or its own e-commerce portal. Last year sales totaled $150 million.
To establish its brand with consumers, Blu Dot Design & Manufacturing, Inc., has opened retail stores around the globe - but just seven of them so far: Sydney, Mexico City, Monterrey, Austin, Chicago, Minneapolis, and New York.
The firm was launched in 1997 in Minneapolis by designers John Christakos, Maurice Blanks and Charlie Lazor, where the company builds models and prototype production pieces of furniture at its studio.
Blu Dot designers model in computers, "But we favor the immediacy of a drawing and the tactility of a prototype any day," the company says. "We will make small scale models to test out an idea or build a rough full-size prototype to look at scale and proportion. It's a step-by-step process, and each sketch, each model, each prototype gets us closer to the final design."
Once a design seems to have real potential for launch, production models are made.The Blu Dot Buttercup Swivel Chair, designed in 2004, pairs mid-century modern with a comfortable form Seat colors are complemented by the powder coated or brushed stainless steel finish. www.bludot.com
By Bill Esler