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The Boutique 18 on Connecting Dots and Elevator Exchanges

(March 2017) posted on Wed Mar 29, 2017

Stellar stories from this year’s class of up-and-coming designers.

By Matthew Hall

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One of the joys of preparing the mini-profiles of the Boutique 18 honorees for these pages is the truly inspiring anecdotes that pop up within their responses to our set of biographical questions. While most answers from our annual crop of up-and-coming designers are engaging and illuminating, some are just flat-out a gas.

Here are two noteworthy examples of that from the class of 2017, starting with this “Favorite career moment?” response from Carlita Alexander, director of interiors at Josh Held Design:

“At the start of my career I worked at a retail design firm in Ohio with some of the most talented people in the industry. The experience was great and I learned a lot. But I longed for something else, not knowing exactly what that ‘something’ was. Then one evening I was dining at a swanky restaurant in Chicago, and found myself thinking, ‘Wow, this is exactly what I want to do: Design spaces that are fully realized concepts, committed to telling a story, and submersed in style with the power to transform and inspire.’ Years later I started working for Josh Held and coincidentally discovered he was the designer of that restaurant. It feels great to know I'm exactly where I want to be and that dreams can come true.”

Then there was this gem from Chi-Thien Nguyen, an interior designer at Elkus Manfredi Architects, who offered up an interesting twist to our “What’s your favorite tech tool?” question:

“Our offices are in the Innovation and Design Building in Boston, where industry and entrepreneurship meet to produce unique products and ideas. One of our neighbors is Autodesk, a pioneer in automated graphics and design. It’s wonderful to be able to exchange ideas with their employees in the elevator and at Autodesk’s recently launched BUILD innovation laboratory, which is a startup incubator that’s unprecedented in the design industry. I have access to a space where I can envision a project’s details in 3D throughout the design process. It’s quite amazing.”

Wow, right? For more insights from this year’s honorees, click here.

In addition, honoring the latest B18 was an integral part of our BDwest trade fair, held April 5-6 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Those festivities kicked off with the “Meet the Boutique 18” session in the RH Contract display on the trade fair floor, followed later that same day by the Boutique 18 & Up-and-Coming Hoteliers Celebration took place at the opulent Theatre at Ace Hotel.

For more details on those events and everything else that was on offer during BDwest's fifth annual iteration, see this event preview by conference chair/BD executive editor Mary Scoviak.


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