Chicago—The Design Center at The Merchandise Mart welcomed more than 700 of the Midwest’s leading interior design professionals and affluent consumers to Design Chicago, the interior design industry’s most comprehensive and educational trade event Oct. 8 and Oct. 9. The event was both educational and inspirational bringing together renowned keynote speakers, showroom owners, industry experts, and designers for two days of seminars, open houses, product debuts and more.
This year’s keynote presentations by Ralph Rucci and Michael Smith drew record attendance and glowing reviews throughout the day. In addition, designers attended four CEU accredited seminars and more than 14 open houses. Tuesday’s events culminated with the Ones to Watch reception in Lounge 1447 on the 14th floor, which honored rising design stars, Elizabeth Krueger of ekd, Gemma Parker-McKeon of Lichten Craig and Rita Lashmet of RL Designs. The fabulous cocktail reception featured an award ceremony and networking among industry leaders and design professionals.
“It was an honor to deliver the keynote speech at Design Chicago on Oct. 8 and to share ideas and thoughts with some wonderfully creative people,” said Rucci. “I thank the Merchandise Mart for having been invited and Holly Hunt for her support and that of her team.”
“Michael Smith is a great business partner, designer, and friend,” said Rachel Kohler, Baker, Knapp & Tubbs. “Design Chicago allowed Baker, Knapp and Tubbs to showcase his vast talents. The Chicago design community was thrilled with his presentation and the showroom reaped the awards from the exposure.”
“Design Chicago 2013 was a great success!” said Frank Rinker, showroom manager for Nancy Corzine. “The sales team at Nancy Corzine felt the traffic and the energy was consistently up from past years through out the market days. I especially feel the new Designer Lounge and the merging of all showrooms into the 14th and sixth floors has made a huge improvement to all our companies.”
“Design Chicago 2013 pushed us to reset most of our showroom to highlight new offerings, and it certainly produced a larger number of qualified designers through our doors than we have seen in awhile,” said Barbara Pearlman, president of Design Atelier. As a sponsor of Ones To Watch, we were impressed by the camaraderie and number of design professionals, along with showroom people attending the annual celebratory event.”
“We had an outstanding experience during Design Chicago this year, with a standing room only presentation in the morning and more than 200 attendees at the breakfast with our owner, Steve Mittman,” said Christine Lewis, sales representative for Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman.
“Everything fell together and worked out really well,” Roger Evans, showroom manager for Fabricut. “Our showroom calls for more events and fun. We had a drawing and when we looked at the business cards and it was many designers/decorators that we had never heard before and I’ve been doing this for more than 18 years. It’s a good sign.”
“It has been a delight for me to leap from the commercial side of the interiors world into the residential side,” said Patricia Mace for Legrand and CEU presenter. “I loved meeting everyone, seeing all the extraordinary products and being a part of this side of the design industry. The CEU venue was an amazing opportunity to connect and launch Legrand/C.A.I. Designs into the forefront of lighting controls with Chicago Designers.”
The second day of Design Chicago featured Inside Design, a signature event series by the Hearst Design Group – Elle Decor, House Beautiful and Veranda. Newell Turner, editorial director of the Hearst Design Group, and Amy Preiser, Editor of Elledecor.com, gave compelling keynote presentations, followed by engaging events and discussions in showrooms throughout the day.
“I had a wonderful experience in Chicago for Inside Design during Design Chicago,” said Turner. “I thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many Chicago-based designers and seeing the enormous resources available at the Design Center’s newly-renovated facility.”
“We had a fantastic time at Chicago’s Inside Design,” added Kate Kelly Smith, senior vice president, publishing director, Hearst Design Group. “It was a great day. We were thrilled with the huge attendance and the panelists and showroom events were so engaging. The newly-designed spaces in the Center are beautiful.”
“During Design Chicago, the Bradley showroom had standing room only, filled with interior designers fascinated with Melanie Turner’s presentation on ‘Classic Taste, Modern Lifestyle,’” said Michelle Bradley, President of Bradley. “We’re grateful that Melanie could share her many talents as an interiors marketing visionary, stylist, and designer. We also would like to thank the team at Hearst Magazines, MMPI and the many designers in attendance for making this such a successful event. What a wonderful day of mimosas and design.”
For more about Design Chicago, visit merchandisemartdesigncenter.com.