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Six Design Takeaways from BDwest

(March 2014) posted on Tue Mar 25, 2014

Move over TED. Here’s some future vision from the experts who made our West Coast trade fair and conference a success.

By Mary Scoviak

Think about what happens when you bring together a lot of smart, passionate people who thrive in a “what if” environment. Give them a wide-open forum for showing off their ideas as products and designed spaces, sharing their ideas formally on panels and informally over drinks or dinner, and indulging their curiosity about new technology and inspiration. Throw in great weather, a quirky fashion show and a sunlit exhibit space, and you get an idea of what it was like to be part of BDwest last week in San Diego.

If you were there, you’re probably still telling friends and colleagues about the possibilities of “walls” made of fog, having Champagne seated in the middle of a re-imagined geode and NEWH’s rockin’ Fashion Challenge—complete with Gensler’s winning entry that transformed manufacturers’ remnants, scraps and samples into a wow gown for a modern Marie Antoinette. If you missed it, here are some of the reasons you’ll want to put both Boutique Design New York 2014 and BDwest 2015 on your calendar.

In the mean time, enjoy these takeaways to inspire both your creativity and your business plan:

1. There’s going to be work for hospitality designers, and that includes right here at home. Jeff Higley of Hotel News Now/STR Global shared a lot of good news as he opened the kick-off session, “What’s Hot: Everything You Need to Know to Succeed in 2014.” STR reports nearly 98,000 rooms ( a 32 year-over-year increase from February, 2013 to February, 2014) and more than 133,000 rooms in final a planning (a 40 percent hike over the same period).A big heads-up for firms that want to capitalized on that growth: Focus your skill set on creating luxe for less. Nearly two-thirds of that pipeline is in the middle market.

2. Forget the box altogether. For the “Take It Outside: Visionary Ideas for Outdoor Spaces,” Carl Ross, president Design, shared a Japanese tea house whose “walls” are made of fog (privacy but with no structural barriers). But he also showed that the outside can come inside, not just with plants but with weather—like Berndnaut Smilde’s ephemeral interior clouds. Imagine specifying one of those for a lobby.


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