The Pacific Design Center was abuzz last week as the industry gathered for the annual WESTWEEK market in Los Angeles, which was chock-full of events and product introductions. Speakers came from near and far to be a part of the show—New York-based designers Alexa Hampton and Mario Buatta joined West Coast designers Suzanne Tucker, Timothy Corrigan and Thomas Beeton for keynote panels.
In the first keynote, T Magazine Contributing Editor David Netto asked Beeton, Hampton and Tucker to describe American Classicism in design.
David Netto, Alexa Hampton, Suzanne Tucker and Thomas Beeton
“I don't think of it in a static sense, as of 20 years ago,” said Hampton. “Classic American design is something that is eternally beautiful that has been generated by Americans. We can do anything—build old villas or modern buildings.”
"Americans are somewhat fearless in their designs,” added Tucker. “It's about opening up spaces. There's something uniquely American about what we do here and how we embrace design. You don't have to abide by the traditional rules anymore. The key thing is to develop your eye for editing, always edit.”
“Classic is bespoke detailing, having very high standards with simple materials, linens, bronze, and pushing it to new heights,” said Beeton.
Suzanne Tucker and Alexa Hampton
Netto added that it’s all about a client’s personal style and their needs in current times.
“Things are different,” said Hampton. “You can go down the street and buy a sofa, and not have to custom order one. People can have more fun with their designs because things don’t have to last in homes forever.”
Buatta was next to take the WESTWEEK stage, as he took designers through his book Mario Buatta: Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration and shared stories and moments from his career.
Attendees also heard from Sarah Richardson who presented at Kravet; Laura Kirar who spoke about her furniture collection with McGuire at Baker, Knapp & Tubbs; and Kit Kemp who spoke about commercial design and the hotels she has created.
While working on a hotel in London, Kemp decided to plant a full-grown oak tree in the lobby, and used bright pops of color—oranges and pinks—to create a quirky scene.
“Texture, tone and color are the keys to hotel design,” said Kemp. “I can’t stand beige.”
Kemp also shared that designers should use natural light and elements, be curious and fun, and always infuse the local culture.
The first day of WESTWEEK concluded with the Stars of Design and Stars on the Rise dinner and cocktail party, where Corrigan was honored for interior design and budding design stars Tyler Dawson, Joseph Dangaran, Tamara Kaye-Honey and Brett Woods were also honored.
Timothy Corrigan and Tamara Kaye-Honey
On Thursday, Corrigan took the stage with with Andrew Skurman, Andrea Rubelli and Roger Thomas to discuss global design inspiration.
Corrigan described his style as “European elegance with California sophisticated comfort casual, a synthesis of different cultures.” He is deeply inspired by travel and other cultures such as Greek and Roman, Chinese and even true Californian aesthetics.
He explained that the Internet and technology have sped up creative development in other countries. “In China and much of Southeast Asia, they are crazy about California design. They want nothing to do with their own culture.”
Timothy Corrigan, Andrea Rubelli, Andrew Skurman
The panelists explained that Western brands are a big deal within the Asian emerging countries and that many Chinese clients are willing to hire American designers to get the extra Western flare they are looking for.
“The Chinese prowl California designers and architects,” said Skurman. “Decrease your fees to get your feet wet in the international market.”
Later that day, Corrigan debuted his new line of textiles for Schumacher and his new rug collection for Patterson, Flynn & Martin. Other new collection debuts included the Tilton Fenwick fabric collection at the Duralee showroom, Donghia’s Mame collection and new textiles from Rubelli and Sacho, among others.