By Tina Jepson
What began as the quest for an affordable window shade has blossomed into Umbra, a business that prides itself on modern, functional design, and utmost affordability.
Today, Umbra employs a large, dedicated, and above all, an extremely talented group of designers recruited from across the world. Together, their collaborations become the furniture, frames, wall decor, kitchenwares, and more that grace homes in over 120 countries.
We sat down and talked with Umbra's president, Les Mandelbaum, at the Summer 2017 NY NOW design tradeshow because we were drawn to this Toronto-based company’s ingenuity and distinctive vision. Plus, Umbra’s booth at NY NOW was a definite showstopper. When asked to describe Umbra, Les stated, “We do everyday items for the home with the flair of modern design, functionality, and affordability. It’s all accessible and casual.”
Sounds like heaven!
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For Les and his team, one of the hallmarks of the company is the emphasis on creating products that work for smaller environments, such as their line of jewelry containers and holders.
The first thing our NY NOW media team took notice of at the Umbra exhibition was the accessory Hammock. Similar to a file cabinet, the hammock is ideal for holding eye glasses, cell phones, and other accessories you like to keep handy. The neutral suede material is structured by chrome wire. It’s the perfect holder for an end table or even an entryway table. How handy!
Another standout from NY NOW was the Zoola and Anigram Ring Holders. They’re not only functional—they’re adorable! Whether your spirit animal is a bunny rabbit, elephant, or rooster, you’re bound to find an animal you just have to have.
Have you ever been invited to a housewarming party but didn’t have the slightest idea what to get the host? Rest assured, there’s something available for just this circumstance from Umbra. Take, for example, Umbra’s rustic yet modern barware offerings.
Modern design is known to mesh function and aesthetics, which is something Umbra focuses on in all their creations, including wall art. In fact, their shelves, clocks, planters, and even frames are beautiful on their own, but they serve vital purposes as well!
The invisible book shelf, appropriately called Conceal, was another product on display at NY NOW that we know would be perfect in any room of your house. Plus, it comes in white, silver, and nickel and in a wide variety of sizes.
According to Les, the best-selling product this season has definitely been the TRIGG wall planters, featuring mixed media ceramic and metal. We’ve been hearing from a lot of designers that mixed media is “in,” and these wall planters prove why!
It’s always nice to run across a product line that’s trendy, affordable, and 100 percent designer-inspired. Let’s face it, that’s not always the case. So don’t forget to check out Umbra the next time you need a home accessory for yourself or a friend!