At last month's Design Leadership Network Summit in Miami, artisan-designer Brad Ford, founder of design event Field + Supply and the FAIR showroom at 200 Lex, was honored with a Design Leadership Award, the third of its kind. Ford sat down to chat with EAL about what both the award and the organization mean to him.
How long have you been a DLN member? Tell us about your involvement.
I've been a member for six years now, and have enjoyed attending various summits, from Copenhagen to Marrakech. This year's was held in Miami and coincided with Art Basel and Design Miami, which allowed for an even more productive trip.
What does the organization mean to you? What does the award signify?
The summits always have really informative programming that relate to our industry, but what I find equally valuable are the connections made with other designers and architects. It's a network that extends far beyond the summit itself. I've made such good friends over the years who I'm able to lean on whenever I'm faced with an unfamiliar or difficult situation and need some guidance.
Who are the prior DLN award winners (or fellow members) you admire?
This is the third year they've handed out the Design Leadership Award, and past winners include architect Marc Appleton and interior designer Suzanne Tucker, both of whom I respect tremendously. Which is why I was truly honored to be recognized for the efforts I've made the last few years in shifting and diversifying my business as the industry changes.
I think it's imperative that we support artisans, whether it's a woodworker, an upholsterer or a textile designer, and we must educate our clients on the value of their work. This is one of the main reasons I organized the modern makers craft fair Field + Supply and opened our showroom, FAIR, focused on elevated craftsmanship.
It's been a bit overwhelming at times running design projects along with F+S and FAIR, and I often say to people that I have no idea whether I'm onto something or on something...so it's rewarding to know I've caught someone's attention. These new ventures were born out of my love and appreciation for craftsmanship, artisanship and community, which is another reason it meant so much to be recognized for something I care so deeply about.