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Two Southland Manufacturers Win Furniture Design Awards


Two Southern California manufacturers were among 15 national firms cited for design excellence by the American Society of Furniture Designers at the recent High Point, N.C., furniture market.

In bestowing their 1999 Pinnacle awards, a panel of judges described the new Silver Collection from Veneman Collections of Westminster as "casual, with sharp sophistication" and said the new Aero line from Brown Jordan in El Monte was "in two words, way cool."

After 25 years of turning out sturdy aluminum furniture, mostly for restaurants, at its Westminster foundry, Veneman recently decided to refocus on high-end residential design.

"Our aim was to start with a collection that would show the new direction with more sophisticated design and complex materials," said Veneman managing director John Aves. "This was the first thing out of the box, so it's very pleasing to be acknowledged."

Designer John Caldwell of Pasadena combined natural brown or weathered silvery gray teak for slats, backs, armrests and tabletops with cast-aluminum frames in the group, which includes a chaise, chairs and tables.

"The design combines contrast, richness and personality," said the judges, who gave it their Summer/Casual award.

The upscale line (chairs start at $750) is carried at the Sam Velasquez Showroom in the Los Angeles Mart and Designers' Resource Collection in Costa Mesa.

Brown Jordan, winners in the casual dining category, also won for cast-aluminum furniture--a collection of dining and lounge chairs, ottomans and tables. Founded in Pasadena 50 years ago, the company has long been famous for its classic contemporary furniture, said designer Richard Frinier. "Most of our cast-aluminum models are 25 to 30 years old, and the furniture has a following."

"Aero [whose chairs start at $850] brings almost a next-generation styling to a historical fabricating process," he added. "This collection is waterproof, so it is perfect for indoors or outdoors."

Brown Jordan has a showroom in the Pacific Design Center.

Contemporary Arts: More than 240 artists from across the country will sell and discuss their artwork in ceramics, glass, jewelry, woodwork, sculpture and more at the Contemporary Crafts Market Friday through Sunday at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 1855 Main St. The juried show emphasizes handmade "fine crafts" (no potholders) and requires that the artist be present. Hours are Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Information: (310) 285-3655.

Connie Koenenn can be reached at

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