George M. Beylerian


Born in Alexandria, Egypt to Armenian merchant parents, George M. Beylerian emigrated to the U.S. where he graduated from New York University with a degree in marketing and business administration. In 1964, Beylerian opened Scarabaeus, an innovative retail gallery in Manhattan offering new ideas in home furnishings and decorative accessories. His next enterprise, Beylerian Collection, was a wholesale line of colorful, luxurious, and exotic accessories designed by architects, industrial designers, craftsmen, and artists. He is now widely recognized as having awakened the American market to Italian design with these selections. Beylerian’s follow-up venture, Casa Idea shop, the first sophisticated lifestyle shop in the country, opened in 1970 at Bloomingdale’s and pioneered the first “shop-in-shop” concept, which altered the landscape of retail.

Beylerian then turned his attention to contract furniture, specifically focusing on high-end imports from Italy. Steelcase bought his company in 1987, beginning a long and fruitful collaboration between the two. When Steelcase established the Steelcase Design Partnership, Beylerian was named Creative Director and became responsible for creating the image of its boutique furniture, textile, and accessory companies.

Next, in 1994, Beylerian founded Culture & Commerce, a design consultancy that connects its designers (including Yves Behar, Dror Benshetrit, Milton Glaser, Sami Hayek, Piero Lissoni, MIO, Paola Navone, Philippe Starck, and Marcel Wanders) to a diverse array of projects. Among the first to partner “high design” with the mass market, some of the more notable design partnerships have resulted in limited collections for TARGET by Starck, MIO, and Hayek; Rosenthal's best-selling Vase of Phases; and the first designer mouse for Microsoft.

Then in 1997, inspired by an experimental exhibition he co-curated, Beylerian founded Material ConneXion. It quickly grew to become the world’s leading global material consultancy and materials library with locations in New York, Cologne, Milan, Daegu, Istanbul, Seoul, Bangkok, Beijing, and Shanghai. Used by architects, designers, engineers, artists, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs, the library features more than 6,500 materials. and advises clients in every area of design—from BMW and Target to Procter & Gamble—on materials strategy, sustainability, performance, and aesthetics.

Widely sought out for his insights on design trends and product development strategy, Beylerian is a frequent speaker and media contributor on both domestic and international design issues. He has produced several exhibitions, including Edible Architecture, Women of Design, Chairmania, Mondo Materialis, and among them.

He is also the co-author of Mondo MaterialisChairmania (both Harry N. Abrams), Work, Life, Tools (Monacelli), Material Connexion: The Global Resource of New and Innovative Materials for Architects, Artists, and Designers (Wiley), and Ultra Materials: How Materials Innovation is Changing the World (Thames and Hudson).