Keeping up with trends and innovation at Modern Event Furniture
By Steve Elliott
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Keeping up with trends and innovation at Modern Event Furniture

Adapting to change, demand for fresh inventory

For nearly two decades, Modern Event Furniture (MEF), Miami Beach, Fla., has been designing and manufacturing innovative event rental furniture.

Charles Kay, founder and president, says he saw a gap in the industry for functional furniture that catered to the rigors of the event industry. Product offerings range from lounge furniture, cocktail tables, dining tables and chairs, barstools, dance floors, boxwood, decorative lighting and chandeliers.

“Our dedicated team is spread across North America and Asia,” Kay says.

The company is in the preliminary stages of building a state-of-the-art automated production facility. Kay says the facility in Montreal, a 45-minute drive from the New York border, will allow MEF to provide its western markets faster with its latest products.

“Since our inception, we’ve grown to have partners worldwide who trust our vision and execution for their own businesses and thoroughly enjoy all of the benefits that MEF collections have to offer,” Kay says. “Not only are they able to boast high Return on Investment (ROI) with their equipment, but they also thoroughly appreciate the use and overall sustainability of our products.”

Kay says MEF’s mantra as a team is to take the time to learn about their clients, their business and the events they specialize in to provide the right solutions. Rental Management recently talked to Kay about the latest trends for the event rental industry.

Rental Management: How has MEF adapted to the challenges faced since the coronavirus (COVID-19)? What are some of the trends you’re seeing related to event furniture and equipment?

Photo courtesy of Modern Event Furniture (MEF)

Charles Kay: Demand in the early days was mostly for spare parts to existing inventory, and for our MEGA hand sanitizing stations, which we developed to meet high-traffic hand sanitation needs for our industry. We saw a lot of clients take that time to reassess their inventory and optimistically prep for live events to become a reality again.

In 2021, the situation reversed and high demand for fresh inventory coupled with the challenges of international freight and soaring labor and material costs continue to be challenges we face. This has been the fire we need to push forward with the build of our domestic production facility.

As markets open and the hunger to celebrate once again increases, our clients are further recognizing the need to give themselves a competitive edge, offering their clientele collections beyond the expected. Taking our own experiences and the feedback from our clients into mind, we really set out to design pieces that put the importance of multifunctionality at the forefront. Products that our customers can purchase and extend their investment on is the trend we’re hearing about and already seeing with custom orders.

Rental Management: Can you give a few examples of the furniture you make?

Kay: We design a full suite of products that keep design, functionality, durability and modularity in mind. A perfect illustration of our design would be the Hayworth chairs and stools, our best seller for 2020, even despite the pandemic. Our patent-pending design allows for both the chairs and stools to be folded on their axis. In addition, we also offer interchangeable seating and backrest options, allowing the chairs and stools to adapt to any setting design.

Rental Management: What makes your furniture unique? What are some of the new pieces lined up for 2022?

Kay: Our furniture is unique because we road test our designs and make it our mission to constantly improve our innovations every year. We understand what it’s like to have to store inventory, to move multiple trucks worth of products at a time, to set up efficiently and to break down even more so. It’s inherently in our DNA here at MEF.

Our new collection that we launched at The ARA Show™ 2021 in Las Vegas incorporates pieces that are multifunctional, ensuring clients get even more out of their MEF investments than ever before. Some examples of multifunctional additions in 2022 include our Filmore divider table and a brandable illuminated partition with a built-in cocktail table. Additional designs include our Wallace and Devon collections. With a twist, these designs can be quickly and easily reformatted to act as a coffee, cocktail or cruiser table. 

Steve Elliott

Steve ElliottSteve Elliott

Stephen Elliott is the news and products editor for Rental Management. He coordinates and produces product sections for Rental Management as well as The Hot List: New Products at the Show supplement. In addition, he researches, writes and edits management and other feature articles for Rental Management and Rental Pulse, and maintains regular contact with manufacturers and suppliers. He enjoys spending time with his family and working in his garden.

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