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Casual Market 2018: Ebel Inc.


2018 marked thirty years since Anne Ebel founded Ebel Inc., and there was an atmosphere of celebration in the showroom throughout the week at the show. Over the last three decades, Ebel has evolved from its position as a boutique supplier of resin benches in the late 1980s to a veritable powerhouse of luxury woven and aluminum casual furniture.


True to its roots from day one, Ebel remains fully owned and operated by the Ebel family. Anne continues as President, while the next generation (Sabrina Ebel Lehman, Kai Ebel and Kristy Ebel) joins her in managing all aspects of the daily operations of the company. Mark Bottemiller, himself from a multi-generation furniture family, rounds out the management team as Ebel’s National Sales Manager.


It has been a privilege to watch this company evolve. As with most consumer-goods industries, two factors that drive change are design trends and technological innovations; and Ebel has consistently striven to be on the forefront of both. As a team they are not afraid to take risks in the design realm, and they are early adopters of new manufacturing technologies; and this year our assessment is that they really hit a home run with all four of their 2018 introductions.

 

I think all of us can agree that Mid-Century Modern and Scandinavian furniture designs are here to stay for a good long while. From a retail saleability perspective, one of the things we at The Sunshine Room love about this particular trend is that while it has all the markers of being the coolest ‘new’ thing, it stands to have great staying power, as there is already such a high degree of consumer acceptance. It was, after all, the original “Modern” furniture; and many of us have parents or grandparents who still have 50-year-old pieces that have been part of the family landscape for decades.


Two of Ebel’s new collections are placed squarely in this territory, and in our humble opinion, they’re just gorgeous. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Augusta and Lasalle:


Augusta Chat

Lasalle Chat

Both incorporate Ebel’s new finishing technology that creates a wood grain so believable, you need to knock on the surface to tell that it’s actually aluminum. Ebel further ups the ante in wood-like realism with cast and tubular components that honestly look like hand-finished carpentry in all the precision of their shapes and contours. The fit and finish is killer, and in regions of the country that lean contemporary, we foresee a strong retail performance for 2019.

 

Next on the list is Mirasol, which was created in response to dealer requests from across the country.

Mirasol Swivel Club




While Ebel is not the first to incorporate a woven seat bucket into an aluminum seating frame in this fashion, as always they have put their unique thumbprint on the design. With a clean, asymmetrical arm finished in Ebel’s proprietary wood grain aluminum finishes, paired with a variety of rich, variegated woven finish options, they have created a collection that fits right in with the design aesthetic of the Ebel brand.






 

Last but definitely not least is Avallon, which we expect to be the mainstream star of the show for Ebel’s spring retail across the continent.


Avallon Sectional and Club Chairs

Striking a perfect balance between the visual aesthetic of transitional lines and style-forward woven finishes, and the physical presence of a generous scale with incredible user comfort, Avallon is already on track to be Ebel’s #1 collection for 2019, which is a dramatic statement for a new introduction. The collection is available in countless seating configurations, including both round and right angle sectionals; and it also features some great storage chests and concealed ice bucket units with rough-hewn faux leather detailing that received early dealer praise.

 

It is uncommon for a manufacturer to introduce four complete, original collections for a single product launch, and rarer still for all four to have such very serious retail potential for the 2018/19 season. Hats off to Ebel for such a brilliant show, and warmest congrats on 30 years of success in our industry!

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