In life, we come across people who change us. Some in small bits, some larger but they, in some way shape our journey and inform who we become. Two of those individuals in my life left us last week. What I find so interesting about it is that these two individuals and i interacted for about one hour each yet they had an immense impact on my life. That led me to think about you, those who listen to the show, this podcast and it reminded me that is the reason that I do this, in the hopes that what I do could impact others, that it could have a lasting impact on your life and shape your journey.
You might be wondering about who these people were. One was actor Tom SIzemore who you might recognize from Heat, Saving Private Ryan and countless others. The second was Wayne Shorter, legendary jazz musician. I interviewed both of these icons and each had a sizable impact on me and inform the way I think about things.
Wayne Shorter told me a story about how he envisioned his music as a journey, bigger than an instrument playing notes with a band for fans. An actual journey of life, this became a philosophy for him and his story made me think about the journey we all take, the work we create and how that composition changes us.
Tom Sizemore left an indelible mark on me. He told a story about being saved by a friend. That reminded me that none of us get to impact points along that journey without others along the way.
So, a journey is nothing without the people along the way. Just wanted to share that and remember 2 people who made a tremendous impact on me in a very short amount of time.
I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design with a colorful conversation for this year’s International Builders Show in Las Vegas. Nothing changes the nature and language of design more than color,right? While I can’t see you, many are nodding, others are shaking their heads because we in the industry can rarely agree on anything like this and that is just a small part of what makes the current state of design so amazing and wonderful.
We shouldn’t be agreeing about anything related to design or color. The moment we all begin to love something and think it permanent, we lose finding what’s next and I hope that never happens. I also think that very cycle is what transitions design thought leadership and trending ideas to the trendy, which I believe is when creative ideas die. The following is a conversation I had with Sue Wadden, director of color marketing for Sherwin Williams. We were talking about color and the opportunities designers and specifiers have with Sherwin Williams family of products. We’ll get to that, right after this.
Thank you, Sue. Loved our chat and I’m looking forward to doing this again soon.Thank you Convo By Design sponsors, ThermaSol, Moya Living and Design Hardware for your partnership. I appreciate you and I love the way you support the design industry. For those listening who want to learn more, please check the show notes for links. Thank you for listening to the show. I know now more than ever, there are a lot of shows out there and you chose CXD. I appreciate you and I hope you found this episode to be a great use of your time because that is my goal. Let’s do this again shall we? Say, next week? Until then, be well and take today first. -CXD
I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design. Suzanne Rheinstein, a giant in the industry has left us but not without changing both the nature of interior design but the way in which interior design is experienced by those for whom she crafted.
Suzanne was one of those rare talents who had a signature through-line in her work that has been described as “elegant civility” which was a pulled-focus on fewer, but better. A level of quality that was exceptional but not overpowering which allowed those for whom she worked to experience the different levels of her work, not necessarily all at once but over time. It is the same way other pleasure past-times like wine, art and music are experienced and enjoyed. Rheinstein was a major talent with all of the awards and accolades that you would expect. Her work, like Suzanne, was elegant and timeless.
I wanted to share some of her wit, charm and stories, in her own voice and words from an interview n 2019 at the LaCienega Design Quarter’s Legends event where she was presented with her Living Legend Award.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will always long to return. Learning never exhausts the mind. – Leonardo da Vinci.
The pandemic is over. With that broad statement comes some finer nuanced observations. Yes, people are still getting COVID, yes, you still see some masked holdouts but I would equate those to a lingering cough after being sick. I base this on the traffic I saw at Las Vegas Market, KBIS and IBS. It was jammed, the parties were full of unmasked, imbibing revelers all in Las Vegas to see what happening, and much was happening.
You have already heard some of what was happening at Las Vegas Market. If you missed it, check the show notes or podcast feed for links to episodes about the panels and the people. This is a montage from KBIS and IBS featuring brands and design talent from around the country who decended upon sin city to celebrate design and find inspiration from products and innovation. It is important to call an end to the pandemic but to remember all that we have learned. I will say this again, once something unprecedented happens, it is no longer unprecedented and the odds are that something like it can and will happen again. If and when it does, will we be prepared? That is a conversation for another day. Today, you are going to hear from some amazing individuals including; Hacker Kitchens, Breegan Jane, John Cialone, Top Knobs, Sara Malek Barney and more. So, let’s get after it.
Wow. Jam packed, right?Thank you Sara, Matt, Roz, Andeas, Breegan, Christine & John. Thank you Convo By Design sponsors, ThermaSol, Moya Living and Design Hardware for your partnership. I appreciate you and I love the way you support the design industry. For those listening who want to learn more, please check the show notes for links. Thank you for listening to the show. I know now more than ever, there are a lot of shows out there and you chose CXD. I appreciate you and I hope you found this episode to be a great use of your time because that is my goal. Let’s do this again shall we? Say, next week? Until then, be well and take today first. -CXD
I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design and today on the show, we have Cate Brown, and her firm’s creative director, NY fashion designer Dean Sidaway. Cate and her namesake brand produce some beautiful garments for the home. Yes, this is a conversation about design, but it’s also a chart about fashion, clothing for the home, if you will and sustainability. Up-cycling, and reimagining gently worn Chanel, Valentino and Louis Vuitton into pillows and fashion for the home.
It’s an interesting concept if you really think about it. Tile, pulls and hardware have long been called jewelry for the home. We talk about our homes as living, breathing entities so why shouldn’t they be dressed? Why shouldn’t textiles serve as fashion for the home? Partly rhetorical, partly not and that is the part Cate, Dean and I discuss.
This is the 10th year of Convo By Design. For the past 10 years, I have been working with the biggest and brightest names in design and architecture. I have also spent a significant amount of time consulting brands and producing branded content for them. Beginning this year, we are offering this service to design and architecture firms of all sizes from the single creative to multi-national design firms and brands alike. If you are in need of a production company to produce social media content, develop your company podcast, write your blog posts, produce trade-focused CEUs, create in-showroom programming or you need help leveling-up your firm, email me, Convo By Design @ Outlook dot com or message me on Instagram @ConvoXDesign with an “x”.
Thank you Cate and Dean for taking the time to share your story. Thank you CXD partners and sponsors; ThermaSol, Moya Living and Design Hardware for your continued support. And thank you for taking the time every week to share some time together and hear the stories behind sublime design. Check the show notes for links to Cate Brown, our social media links and please keep emailing me with your suggestions and guest submissions. Convo By Design @ Outlook dot com. Until next week, remember why you do what you do and for whom you do it, be well and take today first.
I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo by Design with a conversation about building an absolutely exceptional design brand. Christopher Peacock is a truly exceptional creative with a rich history in creating some of the most extraordinary wood cabinetry in the industry today. There is a difference between crafting a product and building a brand. Peacock molded his eponymous brand in the US from humble beginnings and a keen understanding for what he wanted. And he’s going to share that story and insight here.
Christopher launched his firm in 1992. Christopher Peacock Cabinetry was built on the premise that wooden cabinetry should be beautiful and enduring. But when Peacock put his name on it, there was a greater sense of purpose. That is what I find so interesting here. This is the piece that is missing from much of what we. See and hear these days in the trades and in the media surrounding design and architecture. For many years now, the idea of luxury design has been inextricable tied to big, expensive and for lack of a better word, “extra”. I don’t think good design has to be big, expensive or “extra”. I think good, no, great design is about the nature of the work and manner in which the work is tied to the individual for whom it’s created. Look at art. A painting can sell for millions of dollars but at the end of the day, what is it…really. A few dollars worth of canvas and paint. But the work speaks. Fashion, same thing. A few dollars of fabric crafted into something extraordinary. It’s the art that goes into the craftsmanship. That is what makes design so special. And that is why Christopher’s sorry is so special. And why I am so pleased to share it with you.
Thank you Christopher for taking the time to share your story. Thank you CXD partners and sponsors; ThermaSol, Moya Living and Design Hardware for your continued support. And thank you for taking the time every week to share some time together and hear the stories behind sublime design. Until next week, remember why you do what you do and for whom you do it, be well and take today first.
I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design. Today, I’m just having a chat with a friend. One that I want to share with you because my friend Charles is one of the best brand-ambassadors I know. He is a marketer and promoter in the very best sense of the words. This is Charles Miller.
You already know my background if you have been listening to the show for any length of time. I want to share a story that I don’t think I have shared on CXD before. Growing up in LA, I was a huge fan of radio since I can remember. That is how I would up in broadcast for the first 20+ years of my career. When I was in college, I was interning at KLOS-FM, a legendary radio station. My internship was with the mark & Brian Show, one of the biggest radio shows in LA history. One day, my job was to escort and assist a very young and newly-minted boxing champ, Mike Tyson. He came in with Don King to plant a tree on Arbor Day. I handed he and King a shovel, they looked at each other and laughed. I would up planting that tree. I got to follow King and Tyson around that day and watched, in awe as Don King did his Don King thing. One of the best promoters I have ever witnessed. Singular in focus at the moment. He had nothing else in life but Mike Tyson at that moment. He espoused the virtues, sidestepped the unimportant and made sure to drive every campaign with purpose and passion.
This is how I think about my friend Charles Miller. He is as creative as any designer or artist but his creativity takes the form of ideas that drive brand awareness and engagement for his branded clients. It’s an art form. One for which I have a strong admiration. And Charles is one of the best. If you know him, you know I’m right. If you don’t, allow me to introduce you.
Thank you Charles. You are one of the best at what you do. Thank you to CXD partners and sponsors including ThermaSol, Moya Living, Design Hardware and the WestEdge Design Fair. Thank YOU for taking the time out of your day to download, subscribe and listen to the show. I appreciate you and I hope this show helps you do that thing you do better. For more information about the show, about what we do here at Convo By Design, check the show notes for links and ways to connect. Until next week, be well and take today first. -CXD
I’m Josh Cooperman and this is another edition of Business By Design, a special feature of the show. As previously mentioned, I am producing these ad hoc and I have something special for you today. But first…So you know, the following opinions are mine and do not represent or warranty any economic or future performance. We are not responsible for any gross factual errors voiced by guests, real or fake. There are no guarantees here, just ideas that have been constructed based on research so I suggest that you do your own research as well before acting on any of the ideas shared here. This is what those in the business call a disclaimer and it is meant to make sure you know that I am not giving you any financial advice, I am presenting ideas in the hopes that it gives you a way to perhaps think a bit differently about this business of ours.
Most of you have heard and might be curious about whats happening next in the business from a technological standpoint. There has been a lot of chatter recently about NFT’s, the metaverse and AI. At KBIS and Vegas Market recently, some creatives have expressed doubts, others concern and it makes sense. Years ago, I started tracking the amount of time designers and architectural firms spent of social media, marketing and other activities not directly related to the core business of the design practice and it has been astounding to see the time spent on these activities skyrocket. For me, as the host and publisher of Convo By design, it has been interesting to watch some designers really embrace media, writing blogs and some even recording their own podcasts. I love that because they got to see first hand just how difficult and time consuming it can be to do it right. That being said, we are entering a new era, one of artificial intelligence and that will have some very interesting effects on the business of design. and we are going to explore that very idea. Before I get to deep into this, I want to introduce me guest today. Meet AIDAAN (Artificial Intelligence Design And Architectural Narrarator).
As you might have guessed, AIDAAN is not human, he is as AI as it gets. I made a choice here, I gave AIDAAN an artificial sounding voice. There are some options out there that sound as real as any human. You have most likely already heard from or actually spoken with AI support and you might not even be aware. So, today on the show, we are going to hear from AIDAAN and they are going to tell you about various aspects and topics of the industry. I’m messing around with different voices and over time, I will begin to add more refined voices and we are going to learn together what that will sound like.
Something else you should know. The content you will be hearing about was not written by me, or any other human being for that matter. I have been using a few different AI sources like ChatGPT which is responsible for the actual content that AIDAAN is voicing. As a journalist, editorial integrity is of paramount importance to me so I am going to tell you when AI is responsible for producing the content you hear on the show.
So the first thing I wanted to know was the current state of the design and architecture industry. AIDAAN, take it away.
STATE OF DESIGN
The interior design industry is a vital part of the United States economy, providing jobs for thousands of designers, salespeople, and manufacturers across the country. From high-end residential projects to commercial spaces, the interior design industry has a wide range of applications and can be found in virtually every sector of the economy. In this article, we will explore the interior design industry as a business in the United States, examining the industry’s history, key players, and future prospects.
The history of interior design in the United States can be traced back to the early 20th century, when the emergence of the middle class led to a growing demand for comfortable, stylish homes. In the years that followed, the interior design industry grew rapidly, with designers like Elsie de Wolfe and Dorothy Draper pioneering new styles and techniques that helped to shape the look and feel of modern American homes.
In the post-World War II era, the interior design industry continued to expand, with designers like Raymond Loewy and Charles and Ray Eames revolutionizing the way we think about design. The emergence of the mid-century modern style, with its emphasis on clean lines, minimalism, and functionality, had a profound impact on the industry and helped to establish the United States as a leader in the world of design.
In the decades that followed, the interior design industry continued to grow and evolve, with designers and manufacturers constantly pushing the boundaries of what was possible. Today, the industry is a diverse and dynamic landscape, with a wide range of players and applications.
The interior design industry is made up of a wide range of players, from independent designers and boutique firms to large manufacturers and retailers. Some of the key players in the industry include:
Designers: Interior designers are the heart of the industry, providing creative solutions for residential and commercial spaces. Many designers work independently or as part of small firms, while others are employed by large companies or design studios.
Manufacturers: Furniture manufacturers and other companies that produce interior design products are an essential part of the industry. These companies may work with designers to create custom pieces or may sell their products directly to consumers through retail outlets.
Retailers: Retailers are an important part of the interior design industry, providing consumers with access to a wide range of products and services. Some retailers specialize in high-end luxury goods, while others cater to more budget-conscious shoppers.
Contractors: Contractors and construction companies play a key role in the interior design industry, providing the skills and expertise needed to transform spaces into beautiful, functional environments. Many interior designers work closely with contractors to ensure that their designs are executed to perfection.
Suppliers: Suppliers of materials and other products, such as fabric, wallpaper, and lighting, are an important part of the interior design industry. These companies provide the raw materials that designers need to create their designs and bring them to life.
The interior design industry is expected to continue to grow in the coming years, driven by a number of factors. One of the key drivers of growth is the increasing demand for personalized and unique interior design solutions. As consumers become more design-savvy and sophisticated, they are increasingly looking for interior design solutions that reflect their individual tastes and styles.
Another key factor driving growth in the industry is the increasing importance of sustainability and environmental responsibility. As consumers become more aware of the impact of their actions on the environment, they are looking for interior design solutions that are environmentally friendly and sustainable.
In addition to these factors, the growing importance of technology is also expected to have a significant impact on the interior design industry. From virtual reality to 3D printing, technology is enabling designers and manufacturers to create new and innovative products and services that were previously unimaginable.
Okay, so from the state of the industry to some of the players AIDAAN mentioned, let’s start with a classic,
Billy Baldwin was a man ahead of his time. Born in 1903, he was one of the most influential interior designers of the mid-20th century, renowned for his ability to create elegant, livable spaces that were both stylish and comfortable.
Growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, Billy had a keen eye for design from an early age. After attending the Parsons School of Design in New York City, he began his career as a window dresser for the prestigious department store, Bonwit Teller.
It wasn’t long before Billy was noticed by the city’s elite, who quickly began asking him to design their homes. His signature style was a blend of classic and modern elements, with an emphasis on comfort and practicality.
One of Billy’s most famous clients was Jackie Kennedy Onassis, who asked him to decorate her family’s home in Virginia. Billy’s design for the house was a masterful blend of traditional and modern styles, with clean lines, simple shapes, and a neutral color palette that emphasized the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.
Billy’s success continued throughout the 1950s and 60s, as he designed homes and offices for some of the most prominent names in entertainment, politics, and business. His work was characterized by a simplicity and elegance that set it apart from the more ornate and opulent styles of the time.
Despite his success, Billy was always humble and focused on his work. He believed that good design should be accessible to everyone, and he wrote several books on the subject to share his ideas and inspire others.
Today, Billy Baldwin’s legacy lives on, with his designs and ideas continuing to influence generations of interior designers. He was a true pioneer in the field, and his contributions to the world of design will always be remembered and celebrated.
Next, I wanted to see if AIDAAN could explain something a bit more esoteric, nuanced and industry specific. I wanted to know more about the
Parsons School of Design
Architecture, also known as Parsons or Parsons The New School for Design, is a private art and design college located in New York City, New York. It is widely regarded as one of the best design schools in the world, with a long history of producing innovative and influential designers, artists, and thinkers. In this article, we will explore the history, philosophy, and legacy of Parsons School of Design.
Parsons School of Design was founded in 1896 by American impressionist painter William Merritt Chase. Originally known as the Chase School, the institution was established to provide young artists with the opportunity to learn from working professionals in a supportive and collaborative environment.
In the early years, the school focused primarily on painting and drawing, with a curriculum that emphasized the importance of classical techniques and the study of nature. As the school grew, however, it began to expand its offerings to include other disciplines, such as graphic design, industrial design, and fashion design.
In 1904, the school was purchased by Frank Alvah Parsons, who served as the director of the school until his death in 1930. Parsons was a visionary educator who recognized the potential of design to transform society, and he was instrumental in expanding the school’s offerings and establishing its reputation as a leader in the field of design.
Under Parsons’ leadership, the school was renamed the New York School of Fine and Applied Art, and later the Parsons School of Design. During this time, the school attracted a wide range of talented artists and designers, including the likes of Norman Rockwell, Alexander Calder, and Donald Deskey.
In the years that followed, Parsons continued to evolve and adapt to changing trends in art and design. Today, it is recognized as one of the most innovative and forward-thinking design schools in the world, with a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and a commitment to social and environmental responsibility.
At its core, Parsons School of Design is guided by a philosophy that emphasizes creativity, experimentation, and innovation. The school’s curriculum is designed to encourage students to take risks, push boundaries, and explore new ideas and ways of thinking.
One of the key tenets of the Parsons philosophy is the idea that design can be a powerful force for positive change. Parsons students are encouraged to think critically about the social and environmental impact of their work, and to use their skills and creativity to address real-world problems and challenges.
Another important aspect of the Parsons philosophy is the school’s emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration. Parsons students are encouraged to work across disciplines and explore new ways of combining different forms of design, from fashion and architecture to graphic design and product design.
Throughout its history, Parsons has also been committed to providing its students with real-world experience and practical skills. The school has strong connections to industry leaders and professionals, and students have the opportunity to work on real-world projects and collaborate with established designers and firms.
Over the years, Parsons School of Design has produced a long list of influential and innovative designers and artists. From fashion icons like Donna Karan and Tom Ford to architects like David Rockwell and Steven Holl, Parsons graduates have had a significant impact on the world of design.
One of the most notable aspects of Parsons’ legacy is its focus on social and environmental responsibility. Many Parsons graduates have used their skills and creativity to address pressing global issues, from climate change and sustainability to social justice and equity.
Parsons has also been instrumental in shaping the cultural landscape of New York City and beyond. The school’s alumni have played a key role in shaping the fashion, art, and design scenes of the city, and its influence can be seen in everything from the public spaces and buildings of the city to the fashion runways and galleries of the world.
Is this as interesting to you as it is to me? I find this fascinating. So the final question I had for AIDAAN today, how will those in the design trade use AI to make life better, businessmore profitable and design more refined?
Artificial intelligence (AI) has become an essential tool in many industries, including design and architecture. The use of AI in these fields is changing the way designers and architects work, creating new opportunities for creativity and innovation. In this article, we will explore how designers and architects are using AI to make their work better for clients, how this is improving interior design and architecture, and how it is making life better.
How designers and architects will use artificial intelligence to make the work better for their clients:
a) Streamlining the design process:
AI is already being used to streamline the design process, reducing the time and effort required to complete projects. For example, some companies are using AI to automate the creation of 3D models, allowing designers to focus on other aspects of the project. This saves time and increases efficiency, which can ultimately result in cost savings for clients.
One of the most significant benefits of AI in design and architecture is the ability to customize designs to meet the specific needs of each client. AI can analyze data on client preferences, needs, and behaviors to create personalized designs that meet their unique requirements. This leads to more satisfied clients who feel that their needs have been heard and addressed.
c) Improved accuracy:
AI can also improve the accuracy of design work, reducing the risk of errors or mistakes. This is particularly important in fields like architecture, where errors can have serious consequences. By using AI to analyze data and create precise models, designers and architects can reduce the risk of errors and improve the overall quality of their work.
How this will improve interior design and architecture:
a) Better space planning:
AI can be used to analyze data on space usage and traffic flow to create more efficient and effective interior design plans. This can lead to better use of space, improved traffic flow, and ultimately, a better experience for users of the space.
b) Improved sustainability:
AI can also be used to improve the sustainability of interior design and architecture projects. For example, AI can analyze data on energy usage and building materials to create more sustainable designs that reduce energy consumption and waste.
c) Improved safety:
AI can also be used to improve the safety of interior design and architecture projects. For example, AI can analyze data on traffic flow and building usage to create designs that minimize the risk of accidents and injuries.
How this will make life better:
a) Increased accessibility:
AI can be used to create designs that are more accessible to people with disabilities. For example, AI can analyze data on the needs of people with disabilities to create designs that are easier to navigate and use.
b) Improved quality of life:
AI can also be used to improve the quality of life for people in interior design and architecture projects. For example, AI can be used to create designs that maximize natural light and reduce noise pollution, creating a more pleasant and comfortable environment for users.
c) Improved efficiency:
Finally, AI can be used to improve the efficiency of interior design and architecture projects, ultimately saving time and money for clients. By streamlining the design process and improving accuracy, designers and architects can complete projects more quickly and with fewer errors, resulting in cost savings for clients.
In conclusion, the use of AI in design and architecture is changing the way designers and architects work, creating new opportunities for creativity and innovation. By using AI to streamline the design process, improve accuracy, and customize designs, designers and architects can create better work for their clients. Additionally, the use of AI in interior design and architecture can improve space planning, sustainability, safety, accessibility, quality of life, and efficiency, ultimately making life better for all of us. As AI continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more exciting innovations in these fields in the years to come.
So, there you go. If you believe the machines, the state of design is strong. AI is real and this means there are new ways to use these new tools to make life better, work easier, advance innovation at a much faster pace and learn whats available sooner all while saving time and energy so you can both be more efficient and get more done. Now, can you use that additional time in a productive way or will that mean more time spent on social media? That is a personal question, but one that all of us need to ask ourselves. And, we will explore this further in the weeks and months to come.
AIDAAN, did you enjoy your first appearance on the show?
Thank you, to the amazing Convo By Design partners and sponsors, ThermaSol, Moya Living and Design Hardware. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to listen to the show. Please make sure you are subscribing to the show so you don’t miss a single episode. You can also follow along on Instagram for more fun and informative content. 2023 is shaping up to be another interesting year in design. As I have for the past 10, I will be bringing you the stories from across the globe here o n Convo By Design as well as design business insights on CXD’s The Business X Design.
Until the next episode, be well and take today first.
I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design with a journey south, Mexico City to be exact, to speak with Sten Studio founder Jose Miguel Schnaider. We are talking about stone, sculpture, lighting, art and so much more.
From a family quarry to original works of art suing beautiful gifts painstakingly unwrapped from their multi-million year formation process, that is both a big responsibility and an unparalleled opportunity to create something truly unique.Using the minerals and materials unearthed using select manufacturing techniques, Juan Miguel crafts some incredible works. But not alone. This is also a conversation about collaboration and teamwork.
It dawned on my while writing the preamble for this episode that a consistent and constant theme that is present in every one of the 400+ previous conversations and from each of the 800+ creatives I have spoken with over the past 10 years, there is this state of wonder I feel. I was having a conversation recently with the CEO of a rather large company. We were just chatting about life in general and I realized something. My friend’s creative pilot light had gone out. As we delved deeper, it became evident that there was no joy in what he did, only obligations. The need to keep things going forward. Sales, R & D, stock price, no bad press, no scandals… Burnout will surely follow at some point, and he knows this. The goal, for him, is to hang on as long as possible. Get as close as he can to the day when he can eventually cut the cord and let go.
Think about that for a moment. Just keeping all the balls in the air versus living each breath in a state of awe and wonder. Nobody I know has reached that level of awareness, some are far closer than I but the goal is to eventually get there. Why so philosophical today? Not sure, but I think it has to do with this conversation and the idea of walking through a yard of newly unearthed minerals, geodes, and all different shapes of materials knowing that I would have the opportunity to craft them into something completely unique. Art. Isn’t that what life is all about? Taking the unknown, opportunity, discovery and crafting it into something you can be proud of?
Thank you Juan Miguel. I enjoyed our chat and love what you do. Thank you CXD partners and sponsors; ThermaSol, Moya Living and Design Hardware for your continued support. And thank you for taking the time every week to share some time together and hear the stories behind sublime design. Check the show notes for links to Sten Studio, our social media links and please keep emailing me with your suggestions and guest submissions. Convo By Design @ Outlook dot com. Until next week, remember why you do what you do and for whom you do it, be well and take today first. -CXD
I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design. It’s kind of funny to me that over the years, all of the events and interviews, showcase homes, tours, gatherings… much of what I have found myself talking about with you, my friends in the business, that is the experience in design. That experience is more about the interpersonal relationships than the work itself. I love the work, it’s the glue that binds this amazing industry together. But, without the people, there is no design to begin with so it only makes sense that the people and our experiences come first. With that, I wanted to bring you a feel for what it was like at the Las Vegas Winter Market. I had never been to Las Vegas Market before so I don’t have a frame of reference, nothing to compare it to but I will tell you that I was completely blown way by this show. A massive market center with so much to see that it completely shocked the senses. I have been to KBIS before, but not since it was in Las Vegas back in 2019. I was not prepared for this. For designers who have been, you know, there is way more to see than time permits. More to do than you have the time or energy to expend. I was shocked by the attendance this year. I’m not exactly sure why though.
The airlines can no longer be trusted to get you to the trade shows on time. I cannot tell you how many of my friends did not make it to the show on time. The one thing you can count on is that they will continue to jam-pack every flight they can, they will over-charge whenever possible and there will always be that one dude who isn’t wearing socks on the plane, he is also usually the guy whose watching or making a call on his phone without Air-pods.
Economic predictions are unreliable at best and there is no reliable way for knowing if a real recession is looming unless you actually do the research, which you do not have the time to do. But that brings me to another idea for you.
For the past 5 years, I have been gathering research from a small but very active group of designers and architects. Their combined findings have been extremely reliable predictors for what’s coming. Check the show for detailed findings and upcoming releases.
If you went to the shows this year or not, I wanted to see if I could bring you there with me and share a snapshot of the experience. In an effort to give you a real feel for this, I am going to organize this a bit differently. You have already heard my panel conversation. I published that last week. This episode is all about the people and a few that I think you should know.
First up, you are going to hear from Mike Riley, president of Feizy Rugs. Mike is an industry vet with decades of experience, and with the exuberance ofsomeone new to the business. His passion shows and you’ll hear how Mike is navigating a company celebrating 50 years into this new era of the design business. We’ll be right back with that in just a moment.
You heard from Mike Riley, president of Feizy Rugs. Next, you are going to hear from my friend Michael Bauer, director of trade relations at Feizy. He is one of the most genuine and authentic people you will ever meet. I mean that with complete sincerity. His openness and willingness to help is one of the characteristics that make him an absolute gem. If you don’t know him, you’re about to. I would also encourage you to check the show notes for links to the Feizy Rugs website and introduce yourself to him because if you are a designer, you’re about to meet your next really amazing friend, Michael Bauer.
Finally, you are going to hear from Brad Priest of J & B Home Decor and Gifts. This designer and retailer has a thriving decor business who comes to Market to see what is new, now and next so he can bring it back to his Elkhart, Indiana showroom. Brad lost his husband and business partner Jonathan unexpectedly in 2021 and you are going to hear how his love of design and designers help him continue to heal from the loss. This was my first time meeting Brad and for me, this is what it’s all about. I have a new friend.
This was a snapshot of the Las Vegas Market in January. Now, to be fair, I walked literally miles in and around the 3 building campus and I probably only saw a fraction of what there was to see. That being said, if you check the CXD IG, you will find some additional footage of my experience. If you have never been to Market in Vegas, you need to go and see. Plan accordingly. Thank you Brad, Mike and Michael. Thank you Kim Porter of IMC for making my trip possible and casting me for the amazing panel conversation.
Thank you Convo By Design sponsors, ThermaSol, Moya Living and Design Hardware for your partnership. You are incredible. For those listening who want to learn more, please check the show notes for links. Thank you for listening to the show. I know now more than ever, there are a lot of shows out there and you chose CXD. I appreciate you and I hope you found this episode to be a great use of your time because that is my goal. Let’s do this again shall we? Say, next week? Until then, be well and take today first. -CXD
I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design with a new series called The Business X Design. I’m starting this monthly addition to the show for one reason, an important reason. The shelter space, industrial design, hospitality, architecture, home goods …this business of ours is one of the most important industries in the lives of those who inhabit the dwellings you design, those who work in the offices and stores architects create. Over the years and certainly post-pandemic, the business behind design has changed dramatically, but the coverage really hasn’t changed all that much. I love the design publications, I do and I always have, I predict that I always will because they showcase some of the best work being done today. I’m also frustrated by them because they don’t show enough of it, they continue for the most part to feature exclusively the celebrity, super luxury and trendy sides of the business. I get that because that is how it has always been. But I think there is a desire for more. So, in keeping with that idea, every month as long as I feel like it serves a purpose, I am going to showcase a new episode in addition to the stories behind design, that episode will showcase how the business is changing in real time. I’m going to bring you my interpretation of the data that is shaping our economy and external factors molding and shaping the state of the business today. Each of these episodes will be shorter, more concise and cover one single idea that I think you should know. With that, here’s the first episode of Convo By Design’s, The Business X Design.
So you know, the following opinions are mine and do not represent or warranty any economic or future performance. There are no guarantees here, just ideas that have been constructed based on research so I suggest that you do your own research as well before acting on any of the ideas shared here. This is what those in the business call a disclaimer and it is meant to make sure you know that I am not giving you any financial advice, I am presenting ideas in the hopes that it gives you a way to perhaps think a bit differently about this business of ours.
When I record interviews, speak with clients and check in with people around the country, I have been asked one question with greater frequency lately, “Do you think we are going to see a recession?” I believe the answer to that question is “yes” but it also comes with a few caveats because that is not an easy question to answer. Why?
What is a recession? A recession is considered by many to be 2 consecutive quarters of negative GDP.I read a Forbes Advisor article recently that sourced the origin of this idea back to economist, Julius Siskin in 1974. Since so many subscribe to this idea, it has become a part of everyday conversation as it relates to the health of the US economy just like the goal of 2% inflation by the Federal Reserve. If this is true, then according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA.GOV), with negative GDP growth in Q1 and Q2 of 2022, we have already seen a recession this year. It gets complicated because Q3 saw a GDP pop of 2.9% and this is purely a guess but I think Q4 will see positive growth as well. I’ll tell you why in a moment. I also have a few thoughts on what we’ll see after that in the first 2 quarters of 2023 and why.
Before I get further into the nuts and bolts of this, Convo By Design is more than just a podcast. I have spent the past 10 years building a production company and consulting firm that develops brand ambassador programming, CEU’s, live event programming as well as branded content for companies in the design and architecture industry including; designers, architects, furnishing companies, showrooms and others in the trade. We have content producer talent in every region of the country and can help you grow your design business through brand development campaigns, social media and CEU content development and production as well as content consulting and live event programming and production to help you build strong and meaningful partnerships that will help you grow and strengthen your design business. For more information, message me @ConvoXDesign with an “X” on Instagram or email email@example.com.
I have been following a basket of stocks that are inextricably tied to home improvement, development and design. I am going to continue tracking these stocks to see what connections materialize. Keep in mind that stock performance is a rear facing indicator but, the best way to predict future performance is to look at what it has been in the past. Here are the stocks I’m following;
Bassett Furniture BSET
Ethan Allen ETD
William Sanoma WSM
Home Depot HD
Restoration Hardware RH
Mohawk Industries MHK
Sherwin Williams SHW
American Woodmark AMWD
Year to date in 2022, this the overall performance of a few of them with some thoughts (mid-December),
Bassett Furniture BSET
Ethan Allen ETD
LazyBoy LZB 23.32, down from 36.10 – 22 saw significantly higher earnings and revenue from the 3 previous years.
William Sanoma WSM
Home Depot HD
Restoration Hardware RH
Mohawk Industries MHK 97.50, down from 100.24 at the start of the year. Revenue and earnings were up in 22 versus the past 3 years.
What I see from this is that this sampling shows 4 mainstream companies with higher revenue and 3 of the 4 with higher earnings as well. This tells me that consumers are still buying, improving and designing. At the same time, according to the BEA again, the US savings rate was 3.2 % in July of 22, 2.8% in August, 2.4% in September and 2.3% in October. That makes sense because of inflation.
The PCE, defined as “A measure of the prices that people living in the United States, or those buying on their behalf, pay for goods and services. The PCE price index is known for capturing inflation (or deflation) across a wide range of consumer expenses and reflecting changes in consumer behavior.”
Year over year PCE rose 6.2 in August, 6.3 in September and 6.0 in October. Monthly saw a 0.3 rise in each of those 3 months.
So we all get it. Prices continue to rise, savings continue to fall. But many if not most of the companies selling the products continue to record higher earnings over the past 3 years.
I should also mention that my exit interviews with my guests indicate that some projects have been pushed further out in the calendar. A few have cancelled, and many of those cancellations are replaced with other projects looking to expedite. This is where I think the business gets really interesting. I do believe there will be another technical recession again in q1 and q2 of 2023 but after that.… I think it will be bumpy and bouncy with interest rates dropping, inflation rates dropping. I also think as the supply chain continues to free up, that could, in and of itself, create new supply delays as many clients green-light projects when they feel things have stabilized.
Supply Chain & Logistics
In a recent Los Angeles Times article, it notes that the supply chain backup of 2020 is relatively dispersed now. Because the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach represent 40% of U.S. imports, some of that business is looking elsewhere. Traffic in these two ports in down and traffic in New York/ New Jersey ports is up. If you specify goods from abroad, this will affect you, your clients and your projects. The time has come for those in the design trade to understand more about the logistical activities of their partners.
Rise of the Workroom, Provenance & Sustainable Design
The past few years have seen a demonstrable growth in a desire for clients to know the story behind the products they bring into their homes. They want to know who made it, what it’s made of and where it comes from. My guests and friends in the business have explained to me that clients want to know this because it adds meaning to their purchase. It adds a special nature to the design and it creates a narrative for their lives and the lives of their family. I believe this wholeheartedly and I believe this concept is going to remain true for quite some time. Because of this, and the amount of competition, if you don’t already have your roster of specialists, builders, artists, workrooms and trades… The first part of 2023 should be spent solidifying your relationships. The workroom and the supply chain also happen to be inextricably tied because if you can’t get that material to your fabricator, how can you hope to complete the piece? You can’t.
Sustainable design is more complicated these days. Is the material made of virgin or recycled material? How far did it have to travel to get to the project? Who made it and were they paid a reasonable wage? What else is in that material from a chemical composition standpoint? Does it off-gas? Were there chemicals used in growing the material? Is that textile pattern original? What is the origin? Some food for thought here… The idea of cultural appropriation has been a hot topic in the fashion industry lately. I have linked a few articles in the show notes if you care to read them. Some are staring to call use of indigenous patterns in textiles “plagiarism”. Which technically could be true. I mention this because this idea is gaining steam and there are major manufacturers who have been accused of appropriating patters and ideas for use in their own work. It’s a fine line, but certainly one that appears to be gaining steam and one I think every creative needs to be aware of considering how designers are shooting more projects and publishing them to social media. On the other Side of this, there is an amazing opportunity to work with indigenous people to use their products in your projects. Not only do you get to share the story, you also have an opportunity to obtain a new source, directly.
Key Findings- I also believe that 2023 will be that “moment” just about every creative I have spoken with since August 2020 has been looking for to catch their breath. Catch your breath and plan accordingly.
What does that mean? I think based on the sticky inflation numbers, high interest rate environment, low savings numbers and higher cost of both raw materials and high cost of labor: The U.S. will see sporadic drops in GDP with the greatest opportunity for another technical recession in q1 and q2 2023. It could be one quarter or it could be two. I believe that the need and desire for a well designed home has become universal and that budgetary limitations notwithstanding, the strong consumer will continue to spend but it may be at lower price points. Perhaps it’s a shift in the high-low mix to more on the lower end, or that could translate into more “vintage” or locally, artisan made. Something else for the design professional to consider… Office design, hospitality, senior care facilities, school design, restaurant design, civic space… all have undergone major shifts in thought about what these spaces are and how they can be redesigned to better serve those who use them. This disruption to the marketplace will also create new opportunities, and a new client base.
Speaking of competition, there was a time when most designers were extremely concerned about e-design and taking over the business… A recent visit to a few brought special messages of discontinuation. Check the show notes for images from their sites. You can also find a link to an interesting article from TechCrunch about Modsy’s discontinuation of services. A similar story to that of the original Laurel & Wolf, Homepolish and Decorist.
Is e-design a thing of the past? Not a chance. I was in broadcast during the time of Napster. Music is now readily available online and what’s interesting is that according to Zippia, Global paid music had 8MM paid streamers in 2010 compared to 523MM in 2021. I think the e-design industry is in its infancy. I think the growth will be driven higher when the major brands and designers adopt it using their own talents to drive the business, not merely a discount site for creative talent but a true marketplace for creative talent to offer their services using their actual remote and virtual design skills. Keep checking this space because ewe will be following this and developments as they occur.
2023 is shaping up to be another interesting year in design. As I have for the past 10, I will be bringing you the stories from across the globe here o n Convo By Design as well as design business insights on CXD’s The Business X Design. Thank’s for listening. Please make sure you are subscribing to the show so you get every episode the moment it’s published.
Until the next episode, be well and take today first.