Inside the Newly Redesigned De Sousa Hughes Showroom
Renowned for an urbane aesthetic that tempers contemporary with a touch of classic, and for consistently championing artisanal makers, design showroom De Sousa Hughes has amassed a portfolio of sought-after collections from around the world that has made it a standard-setter in the industry. “People tell us all the time that they see some of the lines we carry in other showrooms around the country, but nobody showcases them the way we do,” says Erik Hughes, one-half of the creative force behind De Sousa Hughes, co-founded with business partner Geoffrey De Sousa in 1999.
The brand’s latest venture is a sophisticated build-out of its 26,000-square-foot showroom that adds 1,800 square feet and completely revamps another 3,500 square feet of existing space. The impetus was to provide a stage to launch its representation of esteemed furnishings company Dessin Fournir, as well as to make way for an expanded, open-plan installation of pieces by French designer Christian Liaigre.
When it comes to showroom design, the brand is a proponent of negative space and a limited color palette, both of which enable clients to focus on form. “I’ve always been highly inspired by fashion retailers like Comme des Garçons, who understand that less is more,” Hughes explains. “I try to edit down to archetypal pieces by designers that open a window into their catalogues and reveal what else they could do.”
De Sousa Hughes’ new entrance maximizes the space’s natural westerly light—all the better to see the true colors of fabrics and catch the sheen on cast-metal pieces—and chic European hardwood flooring adds warmth while providing a neutral slate. “The floor had to work seamlessly with both traditional and contemporary lines,” Hughes says, “and we found a gorgeous solution in salvaged oak from Belgium. We bought it in its raw state and had it refinished here in San Francisco to the rich dark color we wanted.”
They also leveraged the renovation to add a range of pieces from Therien, Caste Design, Palmer Hargreaves, Kerry Joyce, Stephen Antonson, and new work from Bay Area lighting designers Jonathan Browning, Michael McEwan and Cliff Hersh.
“My favorite part of the business is being able to work with the makers and connect them with patrons who are single-handedly keeping the craft alive,” Hughes says. With a beautifully curated showroom that epitomizes the cachet of its brand, De Sousa Hughes is doing more than its share to extend the legacy of elegant, artful design.
A version of this article appeared in the June/July 2016 issue of SFC&G (San Francisco Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: The Art of Display.