industry insider | Sep 28, 2017 |
Boston Design Center market to spotlight tech-savvy design leaders

Technology meets design in Boston next month as the Boston Design Market arrives at the Boston Design Center over October 11 and 12. The market will host some 2,500 designers, architects, luxury consumers, decorators and students, and the key theme this year is innovation in design.

To that end, Kyle Hoepner, editor in chief of New England Home will take the stage to moderate the “Innovators in Design” panel discussion and reception, with panelists from digital disruptors like Dering Hall and IvyMark, along with respected stalwarts of the design world, including F. Schumacher & Co. Hoepner shares with EAL what’s to come.

Kyle Hoepner
Kyle Hoepner

What are some of the tech companies or tech innovations you’ll be discussing on the panel?

Panelists for October 11 will include Peter Sallick, who is the CEO and creative director for Waterworks, as well as the CEO of Dering Hall and founder of the Design Leadership Network; Lee Rotenberg, co-founder of IvyMark, a company that markets systems to help designers manage their projects and firms; and Timur Yumusaklar, the CEO of F. Schumacher & Co. The panel may also include a speaker from Viyet, an online marketplace that does curated sales of previously owned furniture, lighting, and accessories—but that is still uncertain.

There are a number of points where businesses in the design industry may be ripe for innovation: manufacturing and production; inventory and tracking; marketing and PR; and interactions with designers and other customers. Given that our audience in Boston will be heavily weighted toward designers and design showroom staff, I imagine that we will spend the bulk of our time considering how new tech can help them work more quickly and efficiently to please their own clients. Most design businesses are quite small, and the creative people who run them would typically prefer to be working on something, well, creative—so anything that automates or streamlines the process is a boon. I think all of our panelists will address different facets of this idea.

What can the design industry learn from the tech industry?

Frankly, one of the things the design industry can learn from our friends in the technology field is not to be frightened of software and the online world. As Peter Sallick mentioned this afternoon on our conference call to prepare for the October 11 session, “The reason innovation is relevant is because it creates tools and products for designers to grow their business.” Absolutely we need to focus on things that are easy to use, intuitive and add value, but the sooner design businesses embrace this kind of modernization—and it may be something as simple as web-based project management and invoicing—the sooner they will be able to use it to their advantage.

Tell us a bit about the design scene and the tech scene in Boston. How do they interact?

There are certainly technology companies operating in the Boston area that I think will be increasingly influential in the lives of designers—one such is Autodesk, with their 3-D modeling, animation and rendering software—but this discussion at the Boston Design Center will really be more national in scope. The companies taking part are active across the U.S. or worldwide, and the issues designers face, that innovative new technology can help them with, are common to everyone in the field, regardless of where they’re located.


Boston Design Market will feature keynote presentations, pop-up vendors, panel discussions, special guests, product launches, demonstrations, workshops and other activities, and is open to pros and the public alike. Among the must-sees? A keynote with award-winning architect Gil Schafer, author of the new book A Place to Call Home; a trend forecast panel with Jesse Lazarus, EVP of Business & Innovation at Kravet; Suzi Hlavacek, art consultant, Boston Art; and Christine Liu, executive editor of website content at America’s Test Kitchen; and more.


Want to stay informed? Sign up for our newsletter, which recaps the week’s stories, and get in-depth industry news and analysis each quarter by subscribing to our print magazine. Join BOH Insider for discounts, workshops and access to special events such as the Future of Home conference.