Roll & Hill @ Milan Design Week 2010

Roll & Hill @ Milan Design Week 2010

American Lighting Company Roll & Hill to Make its European debut at the Milan Furniture Fair. Since launching in January 2010, Roll & Hill has quickly built a reputation as a leading American manufacturer of compelling, large-scale contemporary lighting.

The exhibition will feature special installations of the following product lines.

“Endless” by Jason Miller is a modular lighting system comprised of half-cylinder sections that can be joined back-to-back or end-to-end into numerous configurations. Endless can be both a wall light and a hanging light.

“Odds and Ends” by Jason Miller is a series of wall lights made of hand-blown glass or acrylic and brass. Basic shapes can be combined to create larger installations.

“Knotty Bubbles” by Lindsey Adelman is a series of lights made from hand-blown glass “bubbles” wrapped with knotted rope.

About Roll & Hill

Roll and Hill, a new design brand founded by designer Jason Miller in January of 2010, produces contemporary lighting fixtures; though they don’t mention working only with American designers, their first collection comes directly out of New York, with pieces from Jason Miller, Lindsey Adelman, Paul Loebach, Rich Brilliant Willing, and Partners & Spade.

jason miller

In 2001, Jason Miller founded his practice, Jason Miller Studio, and by 2004 he was recognized as one of the stars of the Brooklyn design scene.

In 2006, Jason’s work was featured in “Design Life Now, The National Design Triennial” at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum.

In 2007, Jason was named one of the “Best Breakthrough Designers” by Wallpaper* magazine.

Jason is best know for his ubiquitous Superordinate Antler Lamps, the product that has been widely credited with starting the back-to-nature movement which dominated the design world for the middle of the decade.

Jason’s work has been exhibited throughout the world and he has developed products for leading American and European brands. Today he is recognized as one of America’s leading contemporary designers

Jason Miller’s Roll & Hill wants to be that all-too-rare thing: an accessible maker of American design.

By: Julie Taraska

April 1, 2010

for Fast Company

Jason Miller was puzzled: Here he was, one of the most promising furniture designers to come out of the U.S. in decades, and yet it was mostly Europeans who wanted to produce his work. He surveyed the U.S. industry and was startled by what he saw — or, rather, didn’t. There were tiny manufacturers targeting the superrich, and there were mass-market megabrands. But where were the medium-size design firms so common on the other side of the Atlantic — small enough to take daring artistic chances, yet big enough to survive a commercial misstep or two? “We’re incredibly progressive in virtually every other aspect of product culture,” he says. “Why, in this particular one, are we considered country bumpkins? It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Miller decided to fill the void. Debuting in May at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York, his new manufacturing company, Roll & Hill, will focus on lighting that targets what one might call the “mass elite.” He believes the Brooklyn-based firm, which showcases work by up-and-coming American designers, will create a new model in the U.S. by emphasizing homegrown high design. “Most products are made in Europe and work well there because those citizens understand the entry points,” Miller says. “Our references are different.”

Ironically, Miller’s inspiration is European. Largely because of manufacturing costs, most U.S. furniture makers come in one of two forms. They either rely on huge volumes, such as Herman Miller, which cleared $1.6 billion in sales in fiscal 2009. Or they’re small-batch, selling a few, often bespoke items at stratospheric prices (think of the products stocked by haute boutiques like New York’s Moss). Roll & Hill is targeting the middle. Miller envisions a designer-focused brand that would be the U.S. equivalent of Dutchman Marcel Wanders’s Moooi, reaching affluent consumers and generating enough revenue to help cultivate the next generation of American talent.

Miller understands the breadth of the U.S. spectrum, having worked as a studio assistant for artist Jeff Koons and an art director at ad giant Ogilvy & Mather. His commercial savvy drove him to lighting. “It’s something people are willing to pay a little bit more money for, and something in which they want to see a designer’s hand,” he says. (In 2009, lighting produced half of Moooi’s sales.) Margins on Roll & Hill’s fixtures, priced in the $2,000 to $10,000 range, will be north of 50%, compared to the 10% to 30% typical for furniture. And unlike most furniture, decorative lighting can sell to residential, commercial, and contract clients, so Roll & Hill can reach more customers with fewer products.

Roll & Hill is producing lamps on demand, with some parts made abroad and final assembly in Brooklyn. That approach reduces labor costs, keeps inventory low, and allows a degree of quality control nearly impossible if it were done entirely overseas.

Miller is already exporting to Europe — which is only partly about national pride. “If we make crappy products that are ‘Yeah, rah-rah American,’ they’re not going to sell,” he says. “But if we make genuinely good products that appeal to the American market, then I think they’ll have an appeal outside the U.S. too.”

About Lindsey Adelman

Lindsey Adelman was born in New York City in 1968.

Her current work is the apex of a lifelong exploration in making objects. An ongoing interest in combining the hand-crafted with the machine-made, the sensual with the practical, and the feminine with the masculine consistently defines her work.

Her work has been included in the Cooper-Hewitt Design Triennial and Design Miami and she has received awards from the ICFF Editors, I.D. and Blueprint magazines. Lindsey lives with her husband Ian and their son Finn in Brooklyn.

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