By DAN NIELSEN
TRAVERSE CITY — Dale Campbell went to college to seek a degree in business. He ended up with a long career in interior and furniture design.
He just hit a new career peak with a deal to be the first featured designer in high-end manufacturer Kindel Furniture Company’s new Designer Artist Series. Kindel is introducing a chair and ottoman Campbell designed on Saturday from 2-5 p.m. at Campbell’s interior design studio, Urban Diversions, 430 S. Union St. in Traverse City. “It’s definitely a proud day for me,” Campbell said. The ottoman and chair will be available through thousands of design studios in the U.S. Campbell plans to add two or three more pieces to the collection in the next year. Kindel builds the pieces in its Michigan factory and will distribute them worldwide through interior designers. The wood parts of the chair and ottoman are curved, he said, to mimic a suspension bridge. The chair sells for $4,000, plus the cost of the particular fabric chosen by each customer. The pieces are available in different finishes. Campbell designed a collection called Grand Traverse years ago for the Lloyd Flanders company. It still is among that company’s best sellers, Campbell said. He worked as a contractor to design that collection, so he earned a one-time fee. This time around the business arrangement is very different: Kindel will pay Campbell a royalty for each item sold. Royalties will provide a new revenue stream for Campbell and his store. “The two will help each other,” he said.
He sold 10 copies of the chair in two months at Urban Diversions. Campbell is encouraged by that fast pace. He hopes the collection will sell well in shops coast to coast. He designed the chair to appeal to a broad range of potential buyers. It’s massive front face looks masculine. But the chair’s tapering shape and latticework lend it feminine aspects, he said. The seat is low slung to add comfort. The cushions include foam and hypo-allergenic down. Campbell has lived in Traverse City for 23 years. He has traveled extensively in Asia and Australia.
“You’re influenced by many things you see — like architecture and art,” he said. He said most furniture designers use computer programs to create their designs. Campbell uses pencil and paper to create renderings.
“I’m one of the old guys,” he said. “I draw it so you can hang it on the wall as art. I think the nuances that come out of it are different.”
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