Oregon Home spoke with Blu Dot founders Maurice Blanks and John Christakos, who were in town to celebrate the grand opening of the modern furniture company’s Portland store.
Oregon Home: Why Portland?
John Christakos: Portland is our seventh store. There are bigger cities that we were looking at, but our people are in Portland. We know we have a strong following here. Portland is really a kindred city to our hometown of Minneapolis. I found this spot on my first trip, and it was ideal: the perfect corner, the right neighborhood. It happened super fast.
OH: What would you say to people who aren’t yet into modern furniture?
JC: Design can certainly improve your life — the way a piece solves a problem in your home while also being beautiful, or the way it brings joy into your day.
OH: What do you mean when you talk about the democratization of modern furniture?
JC: In 1997, if you were interested in good design, you had IKEA or you had to have an architect to walk you around a European showroom. West Elm, CB2, Design Within Reach — they didn’t exist. When we were first trying to furnish our homes, there was nothing for us. We wanted to create something of lasting quality that was affordable, a kind of middle ground in terms of price.
OH: Tell us how Blu Dot thinks about comfort.
Maurice Blanks: Comfort is non-negotiable. If it’s not comfortable, it’s not a chair — it’s a device to keep you off the ground.