If it is true that creative endeavors are the offspring of experience, as well as of the mind and spirit, then the conception of the Bolier & Co. showroom, which opened earlier this year in High Point, N.C., occurred some time ago—in fact, long before Christian Plasman founded the furniture brand in 2003. Plasman, who serves as Bolier & Co.’s president, has held executive-level positions at Herman Miller, Baker Furniture, and other furnishings companies over the past several decades, and before entering that phase of his career he had cultivated his interest in design during his postcollegiate years in Vietnam-era Germany, where he served in the U.S. Army. Plasman, now 60, was stationed at a base near the town of Rosenau and the Schloss Rosenau Museum, which held a collection of Biedermeier furniture, a French-influenced style developed in early-19th-century Germany. “We had always loved furniture,” says Plasman, recalling the fondness for home accoutrements that he shared then, and still shares today, with his wife, Deborah. “But to see the Biedermeier chairs, desks, and side tables—all inspired by Louis XIV design but cleaner and simpler in line and form, without excessive layers of ornamentation—was a revelation.”
Today, that epiphany informs the style of Bolier & Co. pieces, which Plasman commissions from designers and architects, and the appearance of the new showroom. “The clean white space celebrates our designs elegantly,” Plasman says of the 10,000-square-foot gallery-style space located in High Point’s Hamilton Wrenn design district. Designed by Michael Vanderbyl, creator of the company’s Domicile furniture collection, the exhibition room features ceilings as high as 22 feet and neutral draperies that accentuate the space’s loftiness. “The furniture is so beautiful, its quality so high,” Vanderbyl says, “I knew it should stand on its own, with no competing carpets or colors.”
The showroom floor displays spare yet substantial pieces from all seven of Bolier & Co.’s collections, each of which has been influenced by the designs of a particular period and place. Rosenau, the line with which the company debuted in 2003, is an updated version of the classic Biedermeier designs; polished nickel hardware and sleek modern touches have replaced the gold leaf, contrasting veneers, and other ornate details that characterize the Biedermeier pieces. The new venue also showcases the Bolier Classics collection (influenced by 18th-century English designs), Arlanda (19th-century Swedish), Atelier (20th-century French Moderne), Kata (Japanese antiques), Domicile (contemporary European), and Bolier Occasionals, a mishmash of distinctive contemporary pieces that do not fit neatly into any of the other categories.
The Occasionals group first appeared nearly two years ago, but designers John Black and Cecilia Shi Kirkpatrick recently added campaign chests and occasional tables, among other items, to the line. Plasman sees the works, which range in price from about $3,000 to $5,000, as “a real opportunity to make unique statements in form and design and to address new materials such as plastic, even carpet fiber.” That the disparate pieces do not compose an en suite collection need not hinder cohesive room design, Plasman notes, for they share the company’s simple yet elegant aesthetic. “All of the pieces work with other Bolier collections, with antiques, and in modern and contemporary interiors as well.”
Bolier & Co.