Products & Trends

The Innovation Space

Mill Village Collective is High Point’s center for disruptive new products and ideas

The living room of futuristic TV family The Jetsons is one source of inspiration to Jessica Banks, CEO and founder of RockPaperRobot. Charles Eames is another. Banks and her Brooklyn-based manufacturing company engineer and design kinetic furnishings - stylish floating tables, collapsible chairs and robotic chandeliers - while rethinking the role of home decor in people’s lives.

Buyers will discover RockPaperRobot and a growing community of forward-thinking exhibitors at Mill Village Collective. The new, multi-exhibitor showroom is located at the edge of downtown High Point, a short Go Anywhere shuttle ride from Market’s main transportation terminal.

On the upper floor of the light-filled, LEED-refurbished historic textile mill, more than a dozen manufacturers, makers and artists will welcome retailers, interior designers, and commercial specifiers to the Collective’s second High Point Market in October.

Exhibitors include BuzziSpace, an international resource for modern workspace furnishings and experts in the science of sound. They address acoustic considerations in commercial design projects with their extensive line of products and a CEU course that’s open to designers. Dry Dock Works, a U.S. based manufacturer of LED filament bulbs, perfectly balances our competing desires for ambient lighting and energy efficiency. And there’s Pacific Rugs, a supplier so responsive to product trends, they’ve created an impressive process for recycling, over dyeing, and reimagining hand-knotted area rugs from around the world.

There’s a palpable vibe of passion and authenticity among the Mill Village exhibitors. Schuster, for example, manufactures furniture in concert with an outstanding cadre of young designers, with an end goal to foster emerging talent in their native Brazil. Refoundry is a not-for-profit organization which trains formerly incarcerated people to repurpose discarded materials into home furnishings. They use sales from the one-of-a-kind products to launch participants in their own businesses as furniture craftsmen and makers.

Fine art photographer Ron Royals contributes his singular point of view to the showroom’s hip factor, as does community promoter and artist Brian Davis of Brian Studio. A dose of L.A. cool is offered up by Jiti Home and Soft Block Design, along with colorful textiles, pillows, and outdoor furniture.

Following in the footsteps of the modernist masters that came before them, mid-century furniture resource Organic Modernism is committed to the idea that all people should be able to afford and enjoy an aesthetic quality in their everyday lives.

Red Egg founder Carol Gregg turns a global business model on its head, reproducing Asian antiques in custom finishes at a North Carolina-based manufacturing facility. The Mill Village display is ancillary to Red Egg’s primary showroom on High Ave.

Beyond product, Mill Village Collective aims to bring new ideas to Market attendees through its programming. As consumer expectations for customization and personalization continue to proliferate, interactive displays, including 3D-printing of small- and large-scale furnishings on demand will follow.

The showroom collective, devoted to innovative producers and practices, is the creation of Tim Branscome and Luciana Mikos with BIG, a global business development agency based in High Point and Brooklyn. Their team collaborated with Los Angeles-based manufacturer and retailer Cisco Brothers, which owns the building and maintains its own custom upholstery and furniture showroom on the lower level. Cisco Brothers CEO Cisco Pinedo is also co-founder of the Refoundry project.

“We’re grateful to contribute to the big picture, within the scope of High Point Market,” says Branscome. “The industry is rapidly evolving and we want to help guide attendees to the leading edge of new products and ideas.”

“We believe marketplace disruption is ultimately a good thing,” he adds. “It’s a signal to act. We want Mill Village Collective to address the question of where we go from here.”