East Meets West: Contemporary Furniture Design

Design Wright Studios Combines Western Innovation, Eastern Exceptionalism with the HC28 Line of Contemporary Furniture

WORDS: Kris Scott • IMAGES: HC28

Two years ago, when Beijing-based HC28 wanted to distribute its contemporary furniture in North America, they approached EJ Victor, a high-end furniture company with a reputation for partnering with luxury brands such as Kate Spade New York and Kelly Wearstler.

Around the same time, on the other side of the world, Denver’s Design Wright Studios founder Mary Wright was planning an expansion of her own. Having launched in 2002 as a solo interior design practice, Wright had grown her company into a full-service residential and commercial design firm with its own line of furnishings. With this success came a need for more space, and Wright was in the beginning stages of renovating a 7,000-square-foot showroom in the RiNo district.

It wasn’t long before Wright’s path intersected with HC28 — she met founder Jianwei Li at the High Point Furniture Market, where EJ Victor had orchestrated the U.S. debut of the HC28 line. Wright was, from the beginning, captivated by what she saw. “The HC28 styling was so unique. It had this nice mid-century feel and yet it was just so new and fresh — we spent literally the whole day there.”

It wouldn’t be long before Design Wright Studios was the only showroom west of the Mississippi featuring HC28’s designs.

HC28: East Meets West

Li and creative director Francois Champsaur founded HC28 in 2006 with a multicultural design philosophy and aesthetic, integrating innovative Western design with the Eastern dedication to exceptional craftsmanship.

More than a decade on, the brand collaborates with at least a dozen designers around the world, using materials such as woods, wool, leathers, brass and more in its fabrications. HC28 is particularly renowned for its use of high-gloss lacquer, an ancient Chinese art form that Interior Design magazine declared that HC28 was “breathing new life into” late last year.

Though the line is extensive, some of its more iconic pieces include the “Toy” stool, designed by Champsaur, which was recognized as a standout of the 2017 High Point Market. Its molded fiberglass form is offered in eight colors and can also be used as a side table. The Clara Dining Table and Forest Bookcase are other HC28 designs that garnered high accolades this past year.

HC28 will be back at the Spring High Point Market in mid-April, featuring new pieces from 10 designers that include seating, console and coffee tables, sofas, bookcases and more.

REVO chair + FUNGO side tables


Design Wright Debuts HC28

When Design Wright Studios unveiled its new RiNo space in September, one of the showroom floor vignettes was dedicated to the HC28 pieces that Wright and her team had carefully curated in the months leading up to their grand opening.

Since then, she says, HC28 has become extremely popular within the Denver design community, adding that “where it’s really finding a home is in all the new contemporary homes and condominiums” being built around the city.

HC28’s collaborative design philosophy has been a great match for Design Wright’s own “down and dirty, roll up our sleeves” approach to working with its clients, Wright says. “We are designers, so we know how to help a designer best. Our clients tell us what colors and materials they’re looking for, and we just start digging through different lines, fabrics, finishes, and pull things together for them. We’re also friendly, warm and welcoming and make the whole experience fun,” she adds.

And, much like HC28’s reputation for employing innovation to create exceptional results, Design Wright Studios offers its clients touch-screen technology that allows them to see their designs come to life in an instant. Wright adds that she’s hoping to soon take that experience one step further by offering a virtual reality experience in which “potential clients could walk through a space and see furniture in it from some of our collections and change the color, pattern, texture and so on right before their eyes — it’s really exciting.”

Wright says she hopes HC28’s popularity continues to grow — she would love to see the line used in more local commercial projects — and has nothing but wonderful things to say about the company’s products and her partnership with them.

“They apply the highest level of skill and craft and attention to detail in every piece they manufacture,” Wright says. “There is a persistent and relentless push for excellence in everything they do, from design to final production.

“It’s just a great collaboration of brilliant design minds.”