Destination: Floyd House, LA. Last month the Detroit-based furniture company, Floyd, rented out a Barbara Bestor designed home in the Blackbirds Community of Echo Park, LA to celebrate the launch of same day shipping. For the entire week, they invited the public to experience their product in its natural state: in use. Visitors were invited to connect to WiFi and get cozy on the bed with a book and a cold beverage. The fridge was fully stocked—the flowers and pastries fresh each morning from neighborhood staple Cookbook
It felt like home. But better.
DII’s CV Henriette caught up with Product Designer, Nick Tilma, to get the details.

CV Henriette: Sun sign?
Nick Tilma: Virgo.
CVh: Favorite color?
NT: Yellow.
CVh: Favorite time of day?
NT: Evening.
CVh: Characteristic you like most in a person?
NT: Integrity.
CVh: Dislike?
NT: Dishonesty.
CVh: Top-sheet: fitted or flat?
NT: Flat.
CVh: Describe your personal design aesthetic in one sentence.
NT: It’s a broad range – I appreciate all eras of design and enjoy mixing styles in my personal space.

In one sentence? Clean and sophisticated yet bold and interesting, functional but stylized.

CVh: Describe Floyd’s design aesthetic in one sentence.

NT: Clean and minimal, purposeful and timeless – the new modern.

CVh: Let’s chat on the Floyd House, LA. I spent a lot of time there and what struck me was the sense of hospitality, everyone who walked in was treated as a guest—offered drink, pastries, invited to have a seat and plug into the WiFi. In a sincere, no bullshit way. And, so, people stuck around – some exchanged phone numbers. Shoutout to Kelly Jo of Lala Local. It felt like Detroit. People from Detroit came by to support Detroit, and others were eager to learn about the city.

I hope you made some sales, but, damn, I felt like I was hanging out in a popup embassy. I love furniture enough, but, I have to admit I definitely wouldn’t have called myself a Floyd advocate before your West Coast tenure. I found myself cheering you on—like “Yeah Floyd! Yeah Detroit!” 

What’s your perspective on Floyd House LA? Will there by more popups in the future? Where to next?

NT: It was fun! As an e-commerce company with our brand living almost entirely online, we’ve been focusing on how we can share our values of hospitality and bring our ideas of creating great spaces that can be enjoyed by all into the real world. Basically Floyd IRL. Many people have seen our products online or have read about us somewhere, but haven’t had a chance to interact with the brand on a personal level. That was one of our main goals with the LA popup and popups to come – what are we like in person and what’s it like to hang out with us? That’s why we wanted it to be a place to come in to, relax, have a seat and meet new friends, grab a drink from the fridge and chill out for a bit – all while using and seeing Floyd products in their natural habitat – the home. We’re definitely planning more!

CVh: Is there any part of Floyd culture that you consider distinctly Detroit?

NT: Floyd was started in Detroit. It’s our home and it’s where we’re based. Our whole team lives there, and the culture and brand we’ve developed has come from there. We also design all of our products in-house. So in that sense you could say we’re distinctly Detroit. But we see our brand and our products working anywhere, not just in Detroit.

CVh: I would love it if the next time I was abroad and told someone I was from Detroit they shouted “Floyd” instead of “Eminem.” No offense, Marshall. Every time you send out a bed, do you imagine sending out a bit of Detroit? Do you see yourselves as city ambassadors?

NT: There are many great things you could name about the city, from the rich history of music – motown to techno, the automobile, the strong art and design scene, and so many cultures represented. We’d be happy to be included in that list – if someone associates Floyd with Detroit, that’s fine by us!

CVh: You seem to work extensively with other businesses. LA House, for instance, featured works of various LA artists, through a partnership with Poketo, and Parachute supplied the bedding. Do you see these relationships coming back to Detroit? Do you see Floyd as the catalyst to bring more businesses and manufacturing to Detroit? 

NT: We like to show that Floyd can fit in any home, with anyone’s taste. We partner with brands whose products we like personally and would recommend to our friends. We don’t have any immediate plans to bring other companies to Detroit per se, but even in our shop we show the Floyd Bed next to a Noguchi lamp and Eames low table, or the Floyd Desk with an Anglepoise lamp on it, because these are products we honestly like that just so happen to complement our products nicely.

Floyd House

Entrance

CVh:  I’m shopping for a desk. Why should I choose Floyd over IKEA?

NT: An Ikea desk will be difficult to assemble, it will feel cheap and flimsy, and will probably get ditched the next time you move. The Floyd Desk can be put together in a couple of minutes – literally, and will last you years. It’s also beautiful and looks great in any space!

CVh: Michigan has a rich legacy of furniture designers. How does Floyd fit into this history?

NT: We greatly respect the furniture design history in Michigan. We’d like to see ourselves as a continuation of this legacy. The Eames, George Nelson, Eero Saarinen were all incredible designers whose work we continue to look to for inspiration (and use) every day – we have Eames shell chairs and a Nelson sofa in our office. Originally, the Eames and Herman Miller sought to make good design attainable for all – what they called democratic design. We share in this philosophy of making high-quality and well-designed furniture at an attainable price point to be more accessible than high-end design. And we certainly look up to the Michigan furniture giants in terms of their innovations and manufacturing prowess.

CVh: I recently made the argument that Floyd is a gateway company. That, for instance, someone investing in your platform bed and desk—rather than a flat full of IKEA—is nurturing an appreciation for design. That may see objects grow into a larger exploration of design, and that Floyd can exists in tandem with small designers. Do you see Floyd as a gateway company?

NT: Sure. We hope that someone who aspires to own a Floyd product values high-quality design & materials, and long-lasting design, and that these reasons contribute to why they would buy from us. So in that sense, this same person could be inspired to buy quality designs both from larger companies or smaller studios.

If a Floyd bed or table is someone’s first purchase after only owning Ikea, then yes – we can be a gateway to owning high-quality, long-lasting  furniture.

CVh: What question did I forget to ask?  

NT: What’s my personal favorite Floyd product? I love the side table. It’s so versatile – it can be used as an end table, a plant stand, a stool, a nightstand, and it looks great!

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