Stephan Weishaupt takes new furniture brand Man of Parts in a fresh direction
We joined co-founder of Avenue Road at his 1930s Miami home to explore his latest design venture
As design aficionados go, Stephan Weishaupt, co-founder of North American contemporary design store Avenue Road and an avid collector, is as dedicated as they come. His beautifully outfitted homes in Toronto, Munich and Miami, and his frequent international travels to sniff out worthy additions to Avenue Road’s collections, bear testament to his eye for elegant and covetable design.
Now Weishaupt has launched a separate furniture and lighting brand, Man of Parts, with a collection of 27 products. Featuring designs by a host of long-time collaborators, including Yabu Pushelberg (the duo co-founded Avenue Road, with Weishaupt becoming sole owner in 2016), Philippe Malouin, Sebastian Herkner and Osvaldo Tenório, Man of Parts is intended to reflect a contemporary way of living, rather than a singular aesthetic. ‘The Man of Parts is a person who travels a lot, a global nomad. Luxury can be found in the moments one spends at home, either to rest or to entertain or to be creative,’ Weishaupt summarises. ‘Those are the key ideas [behind] how it all started. We don’t need much, but we need good things, good objects that support our way of life.’
The designs range from the statuesque – such as the ‘Lombard Street’ modular sofa by Yabu Pushelberg and the ‘Rua Oscar’ bed by Tenório – to easy, yet memorable additions such as the ‘Alexander Street’ chair series by Malouin, the ‘Mainkai’ lighting collection by Herkner, and Pushelberg’s ‘Gin Lane’ bar cart. With each piece evolving from a collaborative dialogue with its designer, it’s no surprise that Man of Parts has taken more than four years to come to fruition.
‘I wanted to take my time because the last thing the world needs is another furniture brand,’ asserts Weishaupt, who serves as Man of Parts’ creative director. ‘I didn’t want to make the mistakes some other companies have made, where they had great ideas and concepts, but then went to market and couldn’t deliver.’
Each of the pieces brims with personal and intuitive touches. Pushelberg’s sofa has been calibrated to support its occupant’s posture as they lounge, perhaps cocktail in hand. Tenório’s asymmetric bed is modelled after his own. Malouin’s chair series, wrapped in supple perforated leather in a nod to vintage car interiors, was the most challenging to execute, while Herkner’s lighting, inspired by the buoys of the Main River near where he studied in Frankfurt, was the easiest. Manufactured in Europe, the collection is aimed not only at the design-savvy, but a wider audience as well.
‘We want to appeal to someone who wouldn’t typically think of furniture as a top priority. I see a lot of [people] who have a certain income and spend money on a luxury car, fine watches and fancy clothing,’ says Weishaupt. ‘They know they need something for their nice home, but have a hard time making that step. Sometimes they are intimidated, so I want to make it easier.’
Although Man of Parts evolved out of Avenue Road’s side enterprise of producing its own pieces (seven designs originally produced by Avenue Road have been absorbed into the new venture), the label is securely its own entity. In addition to being available through Avenue Road, Man of Parts will also be sold through a variety of retail partners across Europe.
Another aspect that promises to help the brand stand apart is its focus on service. Weishaupt’s background as a dealer and his insight into manufacturing processes has enabled him to identify where the competition is lacking. He has invested in often overlooked areas, such as providing strong dealer support and training, creating welcome packages, care manuals and videos for new clients, offering a decent warranty period for products, and establishing a team to help resolve any post-sales issues quickly.
‘There was an opportunity to do things differently,’ he says. ‘Not only [have we] produced beautiful products but we also provide all the service and experience around that. I feel like the industry is way behind others, say fashion or hospitality or high-end automotive; they are more sophisticated in the way they deal with customers [and understand] what the customer needs.’
With a warehouse in Munich already filled with pieces ready to ship to swiftly meet orders, Man of Parts is wasting no time. An additional ten products, including pieces by Victoria Wilmotte are slated to be launched later this year. §