When former professional footballer turned designer Ciaran McGuigan set his sights on the US market, his avowed aim was to “put Ireland on the map for designing and making”.
McGuigan took over the Newry family furniture business Orior, founded in 1979 by his parents Rosie and Brian, in 2014. Three years ago he opened a showroom using Irish furniture in a contemporary manner in New York’s Tribeca.
This was followed by a stylish luxury co-working space called the Malin last December, and he has now opened a striking new global flagship showroom in the heart of Manhattan’s SoHo district.
The new space offers some of the brand’s classic pieces as well as its latest furniture, accessories and rug collections. It also includes a shop-in-shop boutique for his sister Katie McGuigan, the textile and womenswear designer. “It’s a major step forward for Orior, honouring over 40 years of our Irish design heritage while also shepherding the brand into a new era,” says McGuigan.
First impressions make a strong statement; rotating doors with a mirrored facade on both sides that line the front windows filter the light, while sinuous custom floor tiles mark the entryway. Four distinct oak arches handmade in Ireland create different zones that showcase the collections — a lounge area, a dining area and a space where a new credenza, dining table and two side tables are displayed. Three new rugs in bold prints and colours by Katie McGuigan complement the vibrant furnishings.
“I think we have a very distinctive and playful approach to materiality and form that appeals,” says McGuigan. “And overall people buy into the design, into the product, into the quality and how it is made. The US is a strategic market for us where we felt our brand would be accepted within the design community. We have been well received by designers and architects who champion our work — our pieces work from one space to another, from an apartment in New York, to a house in Hamptons or a villa in Italy.”
Prices start at $1,000-$1,500 (€982-€1,473) for a chair or side table made from recycled leftovers or marble, $10,000-$15,000 for a sofa and $20,000-$30,000 for a credenza. Rugs, handmade in Ireland, are $10,000-$20,000.
There are plans to open in other US locations, California and LA being prime catchment areas as Orior already ships there.
“Here is an Irish brand that has the audacity to move into the epicentre of the design world be it furniture, fashion or art with a 5,000 sq ft flagship in New York. I want it not only to be a place for Orior but to host potential other Irish makers and designers. I want it to be a platform for Ireland.”