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Top Designer Michael Payne To Create Furniture Collection For Lazar

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Michael Payne, designer and original host of the long-running HGTV series, “Designing for the Sexes,” announced that he has been retained by contemporary upholstery resource Lazar Industries to develop a distinctive new collection of furniture. “We are pleased and very excited to welcome Michael to the Lazar team,” said Dave Sowinski, president and CEO of Lazar Industries. “Michael will be working closely with our design team in the development of a bold and dramatic new licensed group that we anticipate will have immense appeal with our retail partners and their customers. Michael brings us a rare combination of talent, experience and passion that will make this new collection something really special.” During the nine-year run of “Designing for the Sexes,” Payne earned the reputation as an innovative designer who could help real-life couples navigate their way beyond complex emotional and personal differences, and find amicable solutions through designs that worked for both. Michael’s engaging personality and ability to “cut to the chase” cemented his credentials as part-time psychologist and full-time design trouble shooter. Michael sees himself as a designer who sometimes is impatient with furniture shopping—if he can’t find exactly what he’s looking for. “When shopping for furniture, I found that there were dimensional limitations; things were the wrong size, or simply the wrong design,” he says. “Several times, I would really, really want to have a specific type of fabric on an upholstered piece. I would go shopping for the fabric, buy it, design the sofa and put the two together. And then it would be exactly what I wanted. There is a side of me where I do not want to compromise; I did not want to go with something that was almost the right color but not quite, or almost the right dimension but not quite.” During his many seasons of evaluating, then solving, dozens of real life design problems, Michael came to the conclusion that designing something specifically for a client was often the best way to create solutions that pleased his clients—and himself as well. “That’s where I earned my credibility as a designer; there was nothing I couldn’t design,” he says. In addition to his role as host of the HGTV series, Payne has appeared on numerous network television programs and on radio stations, and has been the featured speaker at various national home shows, design events, museums, conferences, corporate events and charity functions. He has also been the subject of newspaper and magazine articles across the United States and has authored “Let's Ask Michael,” published in the spring of 2003. He holds a degree from UCLA in interior design, and now teaches an interior design seminar at his alma mater. He is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers. Michael’s experience as a designer has touched all genres: contemporary, traditional and transitional. He says he loves all types of design—but loves “some more than others.” And contemporary design—the style and character Lazar exemplifies—captures his passion most. “I see the future going progressively more contemporary because of the buying patterns of younger consumers,” he says. “That’s why I’m so excited to be working with Lazar, because I think Lazar is truly at that cutting edge, going into the future. I think this clean, simple, contemporary furniture is wonderfully exciting. “In days of old, it was all about the ornamentation,” he notes. “The only way you could make that seven foot long, three foot deep rolled arm sofa that was in your mother’s house special was to cover it with all sorts of trim, fringed pillows, tassels and detailed ornamentation. But once you take all that off, there’s nothing there. “But if you look at the Lazar pieces, they are just beautiful, unadorned pieces of sculpture that are also incredibly comfortable to sit on,” he says. “They don’t need the ornamentation. When you start cutting away all the trappings, you end up with something that is just inherently beautiful. This gets down to the purity, the essence of fine design…and it’s wonderful to see the evolution of design, and to see how we are getting to more and more minimalism, which to me translates to purity. Payne recognizes, however, that there is no such thing as design for design’s sake alone: that form must have function—and even more. And with Lazar, he vows to focus on ensuring his furniture will succeed on many fronts. “One of the greatest mistakes a designer can make is to get caught up only in how it looks and not how it works,” he explains. “The importance of function in my mind is that function actually trumps aesthetics. If it’s absolutely drop dead gorgeous but doesn’t work, it’s not worth anything. “With upholstered furniture, you’ve got to be able to sit down and notice its comfort right away. Then, it’s got to be gorgeous. It’s got to work. And not only does it have to work on day one, but it’s got to last. “So to succeed, it’s got to succeed on multiple levels. Function, appearance, durability, cleanability—plus, you’ve got to care about how it’s made, it’s got to be manufactured in an environmentally responsible way. And Lazar cares about all of this.” LAZAR is an upholstery source for contemporary home furnishings, with manufacturing facilities in Los Angeles, California, and Siler City, North Carolina. Lazar maintains a robust residential division, as well as a strong and growing Contract division. Lazar’s Contract division sells custom upholstery to Marriott, Hyatt, Ritz Carlton, Hilton, MGM, Trump and other prestigious properties. Both divisions have separate administrative and sales representative organizations. For more information, visit the company’s web site at lazarind.com.

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