Beautiful products that Endure

How do you define a classic? The pure swing of Arnold Palmer. The understated yet elegant suits of Coco Chanel. The powerful, spare words of Carl Sandburg. The clean, strong forms of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Those creative expressions were perhaps at their peak of vitality in the 1950s, yet they are just as vibrant today. Perhaps that is one definition of a classic.

Established in New York City against the city’s backdrop of creativity, Cumberland Furniture shared a focus on the simple and straightforward, the practical and the beautiful. It began crafting desks, tables, benches, and lobby seating in a style that would come to be known as transitional—a blend of traditional and contemporary appropriate for a wide range of interiors.

An obsession with quality, an insistence on attention to detail, and the skillful use of honest materials helped build a solid reputation for Cumberland. The Cumberland name became known among those working in both residential and contract settings alike; its products were coveted, especially for fine homes and executive offices.

Over its first 50 years, Cumberland operated under the ownership of the Epstein Family and, later, Ozzie Krug (whose daughters, Sue and Ivy Krug, are still Cumberland sales representatives). In 1984, the company was purchased by Irving M. Rosen, a founder of Pace Furniture; he brought his unique experience in design and furniture manufacturing to a new generation of Cumberland. He supplemented the existing designs with contemporary furniture from European designers, both importing and manufacturing those designs under licensing arrangements.

At the time of Rosen’s death, Cumberland had established a strong relationship with Gilmore Inc., an outstanding OEM source to many furniture manufacturers and maker of many of the Cumberland products. Gilmore Inc. had developed a tradition of excellence and custom solutions for architects and designers for over 20 years.

With the purchase of Cumberland by Scott F. Gilmore and Gilmore Inc., in 1998, the most recent Cumberland renaissance began. The company headquarters relocated from Long Island, New York, to its current home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where much of the world’s best furniture is produced.

Cumberland sought design community partnerships, and engaged with Gary Lee Partners, a respected Chicago-based design firm to build on the company’s heritage. Gilmore and Lee amplified Cumberland’s reputation as a high-end line with extraordinary products by introducing an entirely new furniture line, Modo Collection, at NeoCon 2003. The company next restyled and reintroduced many of the products that had made Cumberland the respected products for which the company has been known.

In 2005, the company launched its Designers Speak program. Through each phase of this program, Cumberland has sought design leaders across the United States to design product that speak of an American story, a reinvention and a fresh start. Today, Cumberland represents Modern American Classics: attention to detail, purity of form, tailored product, and a sophistication that set it apart in the market.

Cumberland continues to introduce furniture pieces—not too trendy, not too modern, and not too traditional—but pieces with an uncanny ability to adapt to various interior settings. With an amazing range of materials and finishes, each versatile design can assume even more personae, magnifying the designer’s distinctive stamp on each environment.