Such platinum hits as “Hello,” “Stuck on You,” and “All Night Long” made Lionel Richie one of the most popular recording artists of the 1980s. Now the multiple Grammy winner has embarked on another creative endeavor: designing and producing luxe tableware, which stems from his love of entertaining, a passion he attributes to his Southern roots.
Richie says designing home accessories is not unlike songwriting. He worked with a graphic artist, who sketched out his ideas. “I saw the object in my head,” he says, “but trying to convey my thoughts without having the design vocabulary was a learning process. The graphic artist looked at me like I was talking sideways at first. Then we grew to understand one another. It’s the same with music. You hear the song in your head, but then you have to get the other musicians to hear it the way you do.”
From the collaboration was born the Lionel Richie Home Collection, which includes vases, votives, faceted crystal barware, bowls with metallic borders, and bone china plates—all inspired by his travels. The styles span several periods, with art deco geometric touches, rococo flourishes, and clean midcentury modern lines.
The scariest part of the experience, Richie says, was when he was preparing to unveil the collection late last year: “The pressure was a little intense in the beginning. I had hoped it would be accepted. I felt the same as I did when I put out ‘Three Times a Lady’ in the middle of the disco era.”
Richie is still going strong in his music career, touring Europe and the Middle East and bringing his stage show to Las Vegas. He’s tapped into his discography with a series of scented candles named after his ballads (“Endless Love” reflects the fragrance notes of an English garden he liked; “Forever,” of a stroll through the grounds of his Beverly Hills estate). He plans to continue to mine the connection with casual tableware embellished with cheeky takes on his lyrics. We imagine fans chuckling as they sip from cups that read “Hello, is it tea you’re looking for?”