It was back-to-school for the design industry at the New York Design Center (NYDC) last Thursday. Designers and editors from across the country gathered for the sixth annual What’s New, What’s Next event, an insider gathering that seems to have mastered its format, granting the industry a smart, one-day affair with a consistent slate of new programming. This year’s showroom openings and panel presentations favored variety, led by shelter publication editors including Newell Turner of House Beautiful and the Hearst Design Group, Cindy Allen of Interior Design, Wendy Goodman of New York Magazine, Irene Edwards of Lonny, Jason Kontos of NY Spaces, Tori Mellott of Traditional Home, among others.
And of course, Editor at Large was reporting on the ground around the building as well. Read on for some of the highlights from the jam-packed event, and stay tuned next week for EditorTV video coverage.
Windsor Smith and Newell Turner
The day kicked off with an intimate discussion between Turner and interior designer Windsor Smith at the Century Furniture showroom, where Smith was debuting new pieces in her collection. Turner asked Smith about her inspiration, how she manages several product lines and a successful interior design business in this fast paced world. Smith explained that she has had to change the way she does things over the years: “With the Internet, there’s a larger group of people who want design and you have to reinvent the way you are speaking to them,” she said.
As far as getting “your big break,” Smith’s best advice is for designers to always be prepared. “Be ready for meetings about collections in case you get approached, and be ready to sell yourself in three minutes to an editor at a cocktail party,” she said. “Always be ready.”
Chairs designed by Sam Allen and Jenny Wolf
In the Palecek showroom, interior designers Sam Allen, Anna Burke, Andrew Maier and Jenny Wolf each reimagined a classic Palecek chair that highlighted their own personal flair, For the presentation, Luxe Interior + Design’s Editor-in-Chief Pamela Jaccarino spoke with the designers about their inspirations and vision for the chairs, which were then raffled off to attendees at the end of the discussion.
Meanwhile, in the Lexington Home Brands showroom, interior designers Eddie Lee and Lindsey Lane had created two vignettes—an office and a living room—which guests could vote on for the chance to win a $500 gift card to Bergdorf Goodman.
The pair also spoke about their charging strategies on a panel moderated by Stylebeat’s Marisa Marcantonio about what inspires their work and how they incorporate art into projects for their clients.
Vignette by Lindsey Lane
“My young clients are interested in art but don’t have the budget for it,” said Lane. “In that case, I will work with dealers who may have younger artists looking to get their work out there, and I find other things that they are interested in such as photography.”
Baker Furniture hosted a discussion with interior designers Laura Kirar, David Scott and Kerry Delrose about mixing periods and cultures in design, moderated by Kontos and introduced by Jim Druckman, President of the NYDC.
Kirar, who also debuted new pieces for Baker at the event, spoke about her extensive travels and how that has influenced her work. “I always say that as designers the best we can be is as good as our clients will let us be,” she said. “I’ve had some amazing clients who wanted unique things in their homes and it really allowed me to get to know them very well.”
Kirar explained that when she is creating a collection for her partners like Baker and Arteriors, she never wants them to match. “I want each piece to stand alone,” she explained. “Each piece I design has its own style and may be from totally different cultures and centuries. That’s the way design is moving—it speaks to a much larger group of people.”
Aerin Lauder in new showroom
AERIN founder Aerin Lauder was also present for the debut of her first permanent showroom for her home collection. On display was the entire AERIN collection of furniture and accessories as well as a new bed and a sneak peek of her linens collection, which will be unveiled in spring 2015.
Project Design Phase II designers
At Currey & Company, designers were celebrating the almost-finished Phase II of the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island’s Project Design. Mood boards were on display and many designers working on the project were there to celebrate including Libby Langdon, Suzanne Costa, Michael Tavano and Young Huh.
Dallas-based interior designer Denise McGaha was holding court in her new role of brand ambassador for Currey & Company, having flown in for the occasion.
Attendees had the chance to meet and chat with the Domino magazine team including Chief Revenue Officer Beth Brenner and Editor-in-Chief Robert Leleux at Thom Filicia’s Sedgwick & Brattle showroom. The group was also celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the “Rooms with a View Showhouse.”
Dana Wolter, Tori Mellott, Chad Graci, Katie Lydon
Interior designers Chad Graci, Katie Lydon and Dana Wolter were in the Grange Furniture showroom with Mellott, who flipped through slides showing the collection’s classic furnishings and asked the designers how they would jazz up each piece for the modern day. According to the group, mixing old with new and repurposing older pieces to incorporate them into newer homes is “the new traditional,” and what clients are wanting more and more.
Closing out the evening, McGuire Furniture presented its second annual “Design Drink Up” event in partnership with Editor-in-Chief of Veranda magazine, Clinton Smith. Guests celebrated with friends and enjoyed local talents and tastes after a full day at the NYDC.