RICHARD FRINIER has spent over 35 years designing award winning furniture, textiles, lighting and accessories for interiors and exteriors that inspire people to create relaxing spaces that bring the quality of indoor living outside and the casual spirit of the outdoors inside. His range of work encompasses soft modern and contemporary to transitional, traditional and exotic forms with an unmistakable essence of understated modernity blended with neoclassicism.
He is best known for his personal passion to create sophisticated and elegant designs with his mantra: authentic, relevant and memorable styling. His ability to capture design details inspired from his world travels to over 40 countries spanning five continents and infusing those characteristics into each design until they seem to “take you places” draws people closer to the designs upon first site, resulting in an emotional connection with the designer and his creations, which may take you to the future or the past, or to a place where you have never been before yet immediately feel comfortable to linger and relax. These designs are often said to possess a soul for they are imbued from start to finish with the heart and passion of artistry.
To date, Richard Frinier has created thousands of designs across hundreds of collections, and his creations may be seen in royal palaces, the finest resorts and spas, and private residences around the world. Richard Frinier and designs by Richard Frinier have received over 90 product design excellence and career achievement awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 from the International Casual Furnishings Association, a division of the American Home Furnishings Alliance, and a Stars of Design Award from the Pacific Design Center in California.
Richard Frinier is proud to license his exclusive designs to brands around the world. His designs have been sought after and collected for many years with many of his original designs remaining in the marketplace 20 to 30 years after their original launch. These designs have been celebrated and editorialized in design museum exhibitions, design books and also trade, design, shelter, and online press throughout the blogosphere capturing the prolific nature of this design contributions across the home furnishings’ industry.
Designing for and fueling popular lifestyle trends, including the outdoor room, stay-cations and day-cations, luxury spa resort, and resort-at-home living, Richard Frinier believes that we should all take the time to unplug, unwind and undo to relax, refresh and renew. He would like everyone, no matter how rushed or hurried, to make the time to take five-minute vacations throughout each day – inside or outside – and enjoy the moment.
“All we have is time. How will you spend yours?” ~ Designer, Richard Frinier
RICHARD FRINIER has been a creative since childhood. Always looking at “what is missing” and “what can be” in this world, his design aesthetic is elevated yet approachable. In the early years, he followed his artistic nature and creative spirit from bohemian artist and sculptor to production artist to lighting and furniture designer.
After spending more than a year traveling in Europe between the late 1960s and early 1970s, including many adventures on a Triumph motorcycle riding through countless cities and miles of countryside from London to Morocco and back again, one of his most memorable experiences was apprenticing at the Anton Lang Pottery Studio in Oberammergau, Germany, where his first commercial success was a pitcher that became known as “Krug Rikkard,” which sold well at the Frankfurt Fair and was still in production at the designer’s last visit to the studio’s gift shop in 1996. These sojourns grew to become the experiences of a lifetime, where all of the influences stayed with him and may be seen across his work today. Always longing to return to these magical places in the future, he vowed to himself that when he returned it would be for his life’s passion and work of design.
Coming back to the United States, he committed to fine tuning his skills and finished his education at California State University Long Beach earning a Master of Arts degree. His relationship with schools would continue, as he taught furniture making at the college level for several years, as well as Art and Crafts. He credits this experience as being fertile ground for what was to come in his career, as it deepened and expanded his understanding of how to work with people, materials and challenges, while taking ideas and seeing them all the way through from concept to research and development to realization.
During the same time, he did commission work and production model making, sculpture and lighting design. The first furniture design he created for a California case good manufacturer was a contemporary bedroom set, which sold “9,000” sets – a clear sign that perhaps he may be on to something.
In 1981, he saw a photograph of a chaise lounge on the cover of the Los Angeles Times Magazine, which was manufactured by Brown Jordan. As a freelance designer, he studied the company and presented his design ideas to management for their review and consideration. Unexpectedly, this exercise revealed to him that the Company was looking for a full-time designer and they would be placing an advertisement in the following Sunday’s Los Angeles Times.
Over the weekend, he carefully assessed the opportunity before him and quickly came to realize that if he was there every day he could make it happen. The following Monday, he called the Company back to say he would like to apply for the job. After several more interviews, he was hired and decided to stay for the next 20 years, where he would evolve from a staff designer to Chief Creative Officer and lead designer also serving as the brand ambassador for Brown Jordan eventually overseeing the brand and its sister brands for product design, marketing and brand content. He named the very first design he created for Brown Jordan, “Quantum,” for his quantum leap into the casual furniture industry. This award-winning design turned out to be as relevant today as it was back then, as it is still in production over 30 years later for its understated elegance and broad appeal to the industry, architects, designers and consumers. Special anniversary editions of Quantum were released in 2013 to commemorate the design’s significance and success.
In 2002, Richard Frinier decided to take his career in a new direction forming his own creative consultancy along with his wife and partner, Catherine, where designs are licensed and co-branded through exclusive relationships with partners and brands around the world. In total, he has created and marketed thousands of furniture, textile, lighting and accessory designs across hundreds of collections with over 90 product design excellence and career achievement awards designated and presented since 1981.
The designer’s original creations have fueled important industry and societal trends, such as “the outdoor room,” “resort-at-home,” “slow living,” “stay-cations and day-cations” and “spa and resort living.” These sculptural designs present the most innovative use of materials, both new and existing used in unique ways, and are said to possess a sense of heart and soul, which is why they are equally specified by the trade and consumers for the most unique and discriminating spaces, including the Vatican, royal palaces, luxurious resorts and spas, and private residences worldwide.
The celebrated designs of Richard Frinier are best known for their range in architectural styling from traditional to transitional and contemporary to modern. His own mantra and self-imposed design brief is to ensure that each piece is realized as “authentic, relevant and memorable.”
In September of 2009, he was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Casual Furnishings Association, a division of the (international) American Home Furnishings Alliance. This prestigious award was presented at a gala event in Chicago, Illinois, as a distinctive recognition reserved for individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the casual furniture industry at large and to their communities. Designs by Richard Frinier have been awarded by many prominent organizations, including ASID, IDSA, ID Magazine Review, SCFMA, ICFA, IIDA, HD Expo, ASFD, reddot Design Award and reddot Contemporary Design Museum, permanent collection GOOD DESIGN Award from The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, ADEX, and more. His career and creations have been published around the world in design journals and books, magazines, syndicated newsprint, blogs and throughout social media, including trade, design and shelter publications. His designs have been acknowledged as being among the “Top 100 Designs in the World” by Hachette Filipacchi media (acquired by Hearst), and his iconic Daydream for Dedon was named by The Robb Report magazine as, “One of the Most Influential Designs of the Past 30 Years.” In 2007, Richard Frinier was named by the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles as one of their esteemed and celebrated “Stars of Design” in the Product Design category, as presented by arbiter of style, Mayer Rus, and as determined by leading editors and members of the A+D community for his consistently outstanding and creative contributions. In early December of 2015, Interior Design magazine named his now iconic Orbit XXL design for Dedon as one of the best designs of the decade in the outdoor furniture category receiving one of the publisher’s first ever Best of Year – Best in 10 awards at a ceremony attended by nearly 1,000 designers and manufacturers in the state-of-the-art Frank Gehry designed, IAC Building in New York City.
Today, Richard Frinier is regarded as one of the premier designers of indoor/outdoor furniture and textiles in the world for his design innovation and longstanding commitment to the design trade and home furnishings industries. He has also been touted as the quintessential ambassador for this genre of the home furnishings industry. His designs carry a very high design aesthetic yet they are infused with an immediately welcoming spirit. Many of his creations are executed using weather-resistant materials making his designs suitable and equally specified for both interior and exterior use. His familiar expression, “Inside or outside . . . you decide,” resonates with all who come to know his work for his suggestion to really use one’s entire living space as a private resort both inside and outside.
Over 35 years of designing, and having traveled to more than 40 countries to date, Richard Frinier’s work remains his passion and traveling for his work has been a dream come true. He and his wife and partner, Catherine, are also privileged to support students of design in the design and home furnishings’ industries through important scholarship programs associated with some of the nation’s leading design and trade organizations, as well as supporting and helping to raise the level of awareness about programs dedicated to more natural pathways to wellness.
Biography and photograph courtesy of FrinierAtelier l Richard Frinier Design Studio.