When the Denver Design District launched in the mid-1980s, furniture showroom Hoff Miller, founded by Leanna Hoff Boers and Dar Miller Thomas, was one of the first companies on board. They opened their doors in 1985 and, more than 30 years later, they’re still going strong.
They’ve grown, of course, and there have been changes. Leanna now helms the company herself (Dar left to form another company) with a team that includes her daughter, Caitlin Mancini. Mancini says the showroom now includes upward of 30 furniture lines and brings its products and services to five states.
“We enjoy helping with every detail, big and small, and we are constantly seeking the latest and greatest furnishings, fabric and accessories for our floor,” Mancini says.
One of the latest and greatest furniture lines they’ve introduced more recently is Bend Goods, a Los Angeles-based company that got its start in 2010 when founder Gaurav Nanda, who was working as sculptor in the auto industry, decided to make a change. “I needed to get out of the corporate environment and develop something on my own,” says Nanda. “I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so I thought, ‘I need to do this.’”
Lucy Side Chair by Bend Goods, in Orange and Peacock Blue (Left) and White (Right)
Left Image: Array Pendant in Copper; Mini 8″ Basket in White; and Wall Arrow in Orange, Copper, and Black
Growing up, Nanda’s family spent summers vacationing in Palm Springs, CA, and the city’s architecture, design and lifestyle left an enduring mark on the Michigan native. “It was such a foreign world to me — I always thought everything there was so amazing.”
He was especially interested in furniture, so in 2008 he took the design skills he’d developed at General Motors and started thinking about designing something “clean, simple and modern.” Using Harry Bertoia’s 1952 “Diamond” wire chair as his muse, he played around with prototypes until he landed on something that he thought was a more modern take on that iconic piece.
That first piece was an early version of what is known as the Lucy chair, still one of Bend’s most popular items. Eight years on, Bend offers a much-expanded line of chairs, bar and counter stools, tables, accessories and what they call trophies — “our take on a more eco-friendly taxidermy,” says Nanda. Most of the products are made of hot-dipped galvanized iron and powder coated finishes in a fun array of colors. They also have added a limited line of upholstered pieces.
The company, adds Nanda, grew steadily and organically until someone at Apartment Therapy took notice of Bend and posted about it, and from there the company’s evolution took off. Bend now employs a team of nine — a “good, manageable size,” says Nanda.
Bend’s relationship with Hoff Miller started about two years ago after Nanda’s team contacted them. The folks at Hoff Miller saw an opportunity to fill an inventory niche they felt wasn’t already represented in their lines. The two companies, says Mancini, hit it off right away. “We had a few great conversations back and forth, and we just loved their L.A. laid-back style. They were more modern, had fun colors and we thought the indoor-outdoor capabilities of their products was great.”
Another hit for the Hoff Miller team was Bend’s price point, which is a bit lower than some of their other lines, and the fact that its products contribute toward LEED certification. “The iron is recyclable and they are conscious about how they do packaging and that sort of thing. That was another thing that drew us together,” says Mancini.
She adds that Bend has been well-received in the Denver market, including the culinary sphere, with local restaurants El Five, Edible Beats latest offering, and the soon-to-open Beckon, from 34 Degrees, embracing Bend’s products in their design.
Says 34 Degrees founder Craig Lieberman: “We spent six-plus months looking for the perfect counter stools to fit our vision, which is to make Beckon feel like a really special dinner party in which every detail is thoughtfully planned and executed. When we discovered Bend’s Lucy counter stools, we immediately knew that they were perfect for the space … plus they’re super comfortable, which is important for a 90-minute plus experience.”
Nanda adds that Bend also has been a natural fit in the hospitality and tech industries — the San Francisco Google offices have used their products, and so has the Airbnb corporate space.
When we talked to the Bend team, they were excited about their recent trip to the Maison et Objet trade fair in Paris last month, and hope to expand on some contacts made there to branch out into the international market. And they have some other exciting projects on the horizon in 2018: They’re designing new products, including a new chair, new lighting and expanding their upholstery offerings. They’ll also open a showroom in L.A. this summer.
“We’re really excited about it,” says Nanda. “We want to have some fun events there — make the space very creative and do some really fun things with it.”