January 8, 2018

Michael Berman's New Collection for Theodore Alexander Showcases Coast to Coast Style

California designer Michael Berman creates a new collection for Theodore Alexander that recalls the casual elegance of his home state.

by Deborah L. Martin

A Graphite Dimple lamp sits on a Washi console, the brass inlay evokes Japanese brushstrokes.


The Washi dining table has brass details on the legs, and is accompanied
by the Bellaire arm- and side-chair;

"Designing this collection was a dream come true for me," says renowned California designer Michael Berman. "The people at Theodore Alexander basically said, 'design what's in your right brain and we will make it happen.'" He took them to heart, and designed Califolio, which debuted this year. The collection, which includes case goods, upholstered pieces, lighting, and wall art, is inspired by Berman's love of midcentury and contemporary design, his California-infused aesthetic, and his passion for the elegance of classic cars. "I come from Detroit originally and my father was in the automotive industry. The design of a 1967 Ford Thunderbird, or the jewel-like handle on a 1959 Chrysler Imperial—these things also inspire me."

Cactus table from Michael Berman
The Cactus console table base is cast bronze, and is poured at the Theodore Alexander foundry in Vietnam.

Theodore Alexander has a long tradition was something the company was missing, and the fact that the company is vertical contributed to the success of the line. "We don't outsource anything, the manufacturing plant in Vietnam is part of the company, so we were really able to bring Michael's vision to life," says Robinson.

Michael Berman
Left and right: The midcentury-inspired Floyd pendant lamp casts diffused light; Rich green leather and tailored upholstery add panache
to the Incline chair.

The pieces have an artisanal quality, with open-grain, hand-rubbed finishes, antiqued bronze accents, and sexy curvilinear shapes. The Incline chair, upholstered in rich, emerald green leather, recalls the beauty and tailored craftsmanship of luxury car upholstery. The Washi console is a handsome walnut sideboard with striking inlaid brass details across the length of the streamlined cabinet, in the style of Japanese calligraphy. "I could see this piece in an entry hall, or a pair of them on either side of a fireplace," says Berman. He continues, "I'm really inspired by American modernism and ingenuity, and with all my designs, I look to the past to interpret the present and the future." of guest designer programs, but they had a very East Coast focus. President Neill Robinson says, "We wanted to add a West Coast, California cool vibe and Michael's aesthetic was a perfect fit." Robinson says that the casual luxury of Berman's work

Berman at theodore alexander
Left and right: Stackable Wyatt end tables are finished in warm, beachy tones and antiqued brass; The amorphic shape
of the Shift étagère is highlighted by the French pear-colored lacquer of the shelves, and the antique bronze details.

*Interested in more articles like this? Sign up for our Newsletter!

Join New York Spaces' Weekly Newsletter.