On November 10, the International Furnishings & Design Association (IFDA) and 7 W, New York's wholesale mart building, presented its 3rd-annual Designer Day led by interior designer Jamie Drake. Each year since 2007, IFDA New York has recognized up-and-coming designers through “Rising Stars of Interior Design” events. IFDA’s 2009 Rising Stars: John Willey, Sara Story and Shawn Henderson shared their inspirations, aspirations and discussed the future of interior design. Former honorees, Vanessa De Leon, Brad Ford, and Kristen McGinnis came to support their colleagues and hear from 2009’s stars. Introducing the panel discussion, moderator Jamie Drake rhetorically asked, “What makes a rising star?” His answer was “timelessness and sparkle.” The presentations and discussion offered attendees a look into the Stars’ rich and distinctive design worlds. John Willey’s motto, “Life’s too short for an all-beige room” was evidenced in the projects he showed, which were infused with light and subtle pops of color. Born in Japan and raised in Texas, Sara Story spoke of her love for both cultures, using touches of each in her work. With a penchant for embellished walls, she plans to one day start her own line of wall coverings. Fellow star Shawn Henderson shared his signature aesthetic and vivacious personality in a video of his portfolio synched to music. During the discussion that followed, Henderson noted that his clients often want to recapture special moments they have had in special places, like requesting “Tuscan kitchens” and “Parisian boudoirs.” The trio agreed that a “good” client - one who lets the designer go with their vision - always gets the best results. Summing up the discussion, John Willey said, “We are looking at a big question mark at the moment. We are not sure what’s next, but we must focus on moments like this. Coming together as we are now - as a design community - is encouraging and inspiring.” With 16 chapters nationwide, plus a chapter in Japan and members in Australia, the Middle East, Caribbean and United Kingdom, IFDA provides a professional forum for communication and interaction among its high-profile members. Celebrating its 62nd year, the association is structured to increase public awareness of the furnishings and design industry.
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