Founder, JANUS et Cie
Visionary, entrepreneur, designer, artist, mentor, adventurer, business leader, philanthropist: Janice Feldman, maverick founder of JANUS et Cie, an award-winning comprehensive global lifestyle brand, wears her many signature hats with panache. She named her company JANUS after the two-headed Roman god, whose dual profiles capture her zest for innovation, respect for tradition, and passions for creativity and commerce.
From 1978, when she launched JANUS et Cie, until the company’s acquisition by Haworth in 2016, Feldman built her firm from a single representative showroom into the world’s leading full-service design resource for contemporary lifestyle furnishings, textiles, and accessories. With a laser-like focus on elegance, design, quality, and exceptional service while strategically identifying and conquering new and emerging markets, she expanded the company’s reach from its original Pacific Design Center footprint into an international network of twenty showrooms and flagships in Los Angeles, Sydney, Singapore, and Milan.
Early on, Feldman began developing her own designs, which prompted JANUS et Cie’s transition into manufacturing. To further broaden the company’s contemporary offerings, she undertook collaborations with the world’s leading designers and innovators, including Piero Lissoni, Paola Navone, Orlando Diaz-Azcuy, Mark Rios, Michael Vanderbyl. To honor design’s legacy, she not only forged an exclusive relationship for select signed reproductions of pieces in Chatsworth’s gardens, she also engineered the next generation of Loom to celebrate America’s heritage of woven furniture.
From the start, Feldman worked to extend the average product lifecycle, becoming the furniture industry’s first user of recycled post-consumer plastics. She subsequently developed her company’s proprietary engineered “lumber”, JANUSwood. That process, the prelude to her much more nuanced understanding of engineered plastics, led her to transform JANUSwood into her now-famous JANUSfiber—and, ultimately, products woven from the same. These designs in turn inspired pieces only possible with a production process that involved hand-weaving a skin or surface on unique armatures, which she considers the ultimate marriage of art, craft, and industry. To date, millions of these pieces have been sold in multiple market sectors globally.
Feldman, a native Californian, began painting as a child, explored the mechanics and machinery of design and production in high school shop class, and started honing her business acumen as a teen selling siding. To fund her studies at ArtCenter College of Design, she traded in antiques and monetized her gift for portraiture. Without completing her degree, she dove into the school of life on a continental Grand Tour in her Volkswagen Beetle, supporting herself by painting street portraits and earning enough to stay in good hotels, collect art, and indulge her love of fashion. She then launched her career in Los Angeles as a freelance graphic artist and interior designer while continuing to paint and consult on American folk art.
“Design,” says Feldman, “is both a blessing and a curse…because to do great work, we must be obsessed. It is our calling.” Her obsession has yielded countless award-winning designs that have transformed the look and livability of public and private landscapes worldwide as well as major international brands in diverse industries.
Feldman’s adventurous spirit has driven her to track chimps in Tanzania and trek the Nepali Himalayan peaks, the fear-conquering experience she credits as the catalyst for JANUS et Cie’s global expansion. She has extensively explored Europe, parts of the Middle East and Africa, and of course Southeast Asia and the Pacific Rim for extended periods. An aficionado of motor sports, she continues to race along the world’s byways, these days in vintage rally cars.
Feldman, who believes success breeds the privilege of giving back, co-founded Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility and the Network of Executive Women in Hospitality. She has championed institutions as varied as the Israel Philharmonic and the School of American Ballet; funded professional merit-based scholarships; and donated hearing aids to Holocaust survivors. A former board member of the Costume Council of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Hollywood Bowl Museum, Feldman is a longtime major supporter of the Music Academy of the West, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Jewish National Fund. She contributed to a first-of-its-kind joint postage stamp issued by Singapore, her home base during JANUS et Cie’s Asian expansion, and Israel, to which she has close ties. She currently serves as guardian to a teenager from India who aspires to become an architect.
Feldman’s numerous honors include being named a Woman of Action by the Israel Cancer Research Fund in 2001; receiving a Doctorate in Fine Arts honoris causa in 2017 from ArtCenter College of Design; accepting the Network of Executive Women in Hospitality’s ICON Award in 2017 and the IIDA’s Titan Award in 2018.
A gourmet cook and wine connoisseur, Feldman loves and gives exquisite parties. She belongs to the Ordres des Coteaux de Champagne, the official guild for promoting the wines of France’s Champagne region. She continues to paint, works happily in her garden, and celebrates the life well-lived with her husband, Mitchell Grossman, and her beloved blue Belton English Setter, Jami Moon. In her recently completed art and design studio, she plans to discover the next chapter of her life.