On the West Coast, California may be the hub of the interior design world, but the Seattle Design Center (SDC), celebrating its 40th anniversary next year, is definitely making its mark.
Open since 1973, the SDC is the only design center in the region (Pacific Northwest), and is home to 24 showrooms which have welcomed retail customers inside for over 20 years.
“We remain primarily a trade resource—but consumers are invited to browse,” said Craig Cross, Spokesperson for the SDC. “If their browsing becomes more serious, we encourage consumers to review portfolios from our Studio Program of on-call designers and schedule an initial meeting with the designer(s) of their choice.”
Although Seattle was hit hard by the recession, designers have made their way back to the center and said that projects that were placed on hold during the recession have been kick started, as have new smaller scale projects.
“SDC showrooms have been busier,” said Cross. “Growth in the Pacific Northwest housing market and a potential spike in hospitality design, with the 15 hospitality projects currently permitting in Seattle, hold good promise for future design business.”
The SDC communicates regularly with 17,000 designers in the region—Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Western Canada. Some more active than others, but about 8,500 designers visit the center over the course of a year.
“The core benefit of the design center has always been about organizing so many resources under one roof,” said Cross. “Our current roster includes more than 2,000 manufacturers represented in SDC showrooms. Beyond the concentration of resources, design center programs provide outreach and educational opportunities.”
Designers can benefit from the monthly lecture series which brings subject matter experts from around the country in support of continuing education; and the annual design competition recognizes and celebrates top design in the region, while also providing a recurring media relations opportunity for designers and SDC.
For consumers, the SDC’s outreach programs and website help to educate homeowners about design while also introducing them to some of the top designers in the region.
Sylvia Bolton and Laura Ward's Chair Project Design
“We’ve spent the last three years developing and participating in a number of community service projects that are helping put a new face on the design center—that of good citizen and neighbor,” said Cross. “Our inaugural program, The Chair Project, started by hoping to create a partnership between the worlds of art and design—utilizing an iconic furniture item, a chair, as the foundation for a shared project.”
The result was 10 works of art that traveled the city, appearing in four installations before returning to the design center to be auctioned in support of Pratt Fine Arts Center.
Barkitecture doghouse design
The next project, Barkitecture, enlisted 10 teams of architects, designers and builders to design and create unique doghouses. The amazing houses were then auctioned to support Seattle Children’s PlayGarden and Seattle Humane Society.
While on the design center campus, visitors have access to a lounge, business center, meeting room, free Wi-Fi and a café.
“We are excited about the returning programs in 2013,” said Cross, “including a market event, and we’re looking forward to new programs like a year-long celebration of our anniversary.”
Photos courtesy of SDC & City Arts Magazine