Still feeling the glow from my first design trip to L.A. last week. Roaming a new landscape is so invigorating, even if you see the same store you know from home, but in a completely different and unexpected setting (See: Restoration Hardware in my previous post).
Well, I used to be the marketing director at the Washington Design Center, and got to know its showrooms by heart. During that time, I also visited the Boston Design Center and the Design Center at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago (where I still work with their team). Each building is essentially a huge square or rectangle, with rows of showrooms down fairly narrow corridors.
These buildings are NOT red, green and blue.
Nor do their hallways look like this:
Nor do showrooms, like Kneedler Fauchere in this case, have atria or trees in the middle of them:
The Pacific Design Center certainly was a different experience.
It started with Jobi Blachy, who owns the Quintus showroom there. I got to know him at the DC Design Center, when he helmed Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman and visited its DC showroom from time to time. We stayed in touch, and agreed to meet while I was out there.
After an incredible breakfast at The Ivy (no celebrity sitings, alas, but what a gorgeous dining room),
Jobi showed me the furniture, lighting, art and fabric collections in his boutique showroom, which are exquisite. We will get a taste of them this fall at the DC Design House, where designers Josh Hildreth and Victor Sanz will incorporate Quintus pieces into their library design. (Quintus is locally represented through Evans & Sheldon in Georgetown.)
Take a look:
Jobi tells me that he goes to the workrooms and factories to inspect custom pieces that are headed to his design clients, to make sure they are in perfect order. Before our 8:30 am breakfast, he had already been round to do some inspections. That’s what you get with a small, ultra-custom design firm.
After I left Jobi’s showroom, I wandered through Kneedler Fauchere, which was a sumptuous walk:
Nice view! Here’s another:
The fabrics were full of incredible, saturated color and patterns:
Samuel & Sons is on the same floor. Its flagship trim showroom is like a candy store.
Downstairs, I wanted to stay in Ralph Pucci all day long.
They had a separate area for the sleek Jens Risom collection.
I had not heard of Reagan Hayes before, but boy is her showroom chic (and the architecture in the background doesn’t hurt):
My last stop was at Dedon, one of my favorite outdoor-furniture companies.
The best news there, which I had to hear all the way out in LA, was that they have a new showroom at the DC Design Center, so I hope to see more of them locally.
As any designer will tell you, travel always peaks the senses and brings you home with a refreshed creative drive. Between this trip and a tour of Dutch design in The Netherlands this May, I’m feeling incredibly inspired!