This is the Coolest Furniture Coming Out of Ireland By a Mile
You could be forgiven for having missed Orior Furniture‘s presentation during New York Design Week. There was a lot going on, and the new showroom is tucked away on a quiet corner of Tribeca, almost to the Hudson River. Besides, though Orior is 40 years old, no one we knew had ever heard of the family-owned Irish heritage company. But, if you did happen to have stepped into the new showroom, you were rewarded with a serious feast for the senses — plush, vibrantly colored velvets, deep green marbles and glossy woods, all of it showing the mark of impeccable craftsmanship. Here was Atlanta, a sinuous cobalt-blue sofa wearing a tasseled skirt, and Nero, a glossy oak table with a Brutalist marble base. There was Mara, a walnut and marble credenza fronted by varicolored leather doors, and Futurist, a muscular couch with tomato-red cushions and ebony legs. The Hemlock Console — a personal favorite, with its zigzag legs and marble feet — could have been a long-lost Sottsass design but in fact was inspired by sacred chalices. This, you realized, was furniture with personality, and the coolest thing coming out of Ireland by a mile. So where exactly did it come from?
Orior was founded in the 1970s by Brian and Rosie McGuigan; the Irish couple lived for a spell in Copenhagen and, inspired by the furniture industry there, decided to replicate it closer to home. They created many of the pieces that are still in the collection today (including that tasseled sofa), and the pieces are still made in their factory in Newry, Ireland. But somewhere along the way, Orior became a company that made custom pieces in response to high-end hospitality queries rather than one that created pieces in response to its designers own ideas or aesthetic inspirations. The McGuigan’s son, Cieran, took over as creative director in 2012, and it’s Cieran who decided to change all that, spinning off the more contract-based arm and refocusing the core brand on churning out perfect new classics. (Cieran and many of Orior’s current designers attended SCAD in Savannah, Georgia, so if you’re wondering where some of the more dramatic influences came from, look no further.) The new showroom is just the latest piece in the puzzle and it’s definitely worth a visit. Until then, though, scroll through for some of our favorites from the newly reimagined brand.