Chihuly Studio’s “art for all” approach helps them grow with their audience

Chihuly Studio melds fine art with commercial brand collaborations

When it comes to brand collaborations, Chihuly Studio ensures Dale Chihuly’s iconic artistic vision remains the driving force, even when the goal is reaching an increasingly wider, and younger, audience. 

This week on Disruptive Design, DNN Editor in Chief Courtney Porter sats down with Chihuly Studio’s design and brand manager, Goretti Kaomora, to discuss how they remain uncompromisingly true to Chihuly’s singular vision. 

Together they discussed the values that make a successful brand partnership, taking risks in art and business, and appealing to a younger luxury market.

Art for all

Balancing a singular artist vision with commercial viability is something Chihuly Studio has long excelled at. On selecting the right brands to partner with, Kaomora had this to say: “We want to find brands that are synonymous with the industries they’re in and appeal to a large group of people,” Kaomora said. “This ties [in]to Chihuly’s artwork being accessible to all.” For example, The Rug Company partnered with Chihuly Studio on their rug collaboration.

Dale Chihuly is renowned globally as a glass artist, but that is just one facet of his creativity. He is lesser known for his work in various other mediums like painting, drawing, neon, ice and plastic, but the more the brand explores collaborations, the more that changes. 

Student drawing by Dale Chihuly while studying interior design at the University of Washington, 1965 © Dale Chihuly. All rights reserved.


While home decor is a natural fit given Chihuly’s background, the studio is open to fresh avenues like the recent Echo New York silk scarf collaboration celebrating the brand’s 100th anniversary, in which $100 from each sale going to a non-profit of the artist’s choosing – Chihuly Studio chose Path with Art

Having more accessible products in addition to collectible fine art and public art installations is strategic for turning consumers into aspiring collectors. Without compromising vision or quality, Chihuly Studio gives themselves permission to experiment, trust their instincts and grow with their audience.

Dale Chihuly, the collector

Dale Chihuly is an avid collector and The Boathouse (his studio which has his hot shop, and where he designed all the interior spaces) features many of his favorite collections, including his collection of trade blankets that he’s been collecting since the late 60s. The textile patterns inspired Chihuly’s Blanket Cylinders in 1975.

Dale Chihuly with trade blankets and Northwest Native American baskets, The Boathouse, Seattle, 1992 © Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

His collection of blankets has been featured in his exhibitions at the de Young Museum in 2008 and Crystal Bridges Museum of Fine Arts in 2017. They’re currently on view at Oklahoma City Museum of Art and Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle. 

The future is in luxury goods for younger audiences

Looking ahead, Chihuly Studio has their sights set on luxury goods and at fostering new, younger fans. When I asked if that would be done through tech (generative AI, NFTs and the like) Kaomora was apprehensive. They haven’t discounted it entirely, but it has to be true to Chihuly. “His vision is what matters most,” Kaomora said. 

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Chihuly Studios is playing the long-game here: Holding onto their artistic integrity, rather than trying to force something that doesn’t fit, which will ultimately score them points with younger audiences who value authenticity

Even if the path getting there is not the obvious one, it will be hard-earned. Gen Z has $360 billion in disposable income that they are looking to spend on luxury goods rather than experiences, compared to previous generations. Many sources attribute this to the seemingly unattainable high costs of real estate and influencer lifestyle envy, a type of rebellion spending. 

Dale Chihuly Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, 1975
© Dale Chihuly. All rights reserved.

But beyond the price points, they are also redefining what luxury is. They are demanding more of their brands, so winning Gen Z over is tough. 

As values shoppers (not to be confused with price-conscious value shoppers), this cohort buys into brands with histories of activism and transparent sustainability practices. And they like brands who help them signal those values. 

(To see this in practice, one need only to read up on the popularity of the Stanley Cup. It is just a reusable water bottle, but it is all the rage with the kids. So much so, in fact, they are launching an accessories line. Owning a Stanley Cup is a signaling of health, wellness and environmental consciousness, characteristic of the younger generation.)  


Authenticity is Chihuly Studio’s lodestar. The advantage that Chihuly Studio has in winning over the younger demographic is that they have always walked the walk. Dale Chihuly’s creative drive is matched by his community impact through arts education initiatives serving youth, seniors, veterans and the unhoused. The Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation provides grants to innovative artists and arts programs in underserved areas. To buy a piece by Chihuly is to buy into this ethos.

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