The Las Vegas Market (LVMKT) is an event showcasing over 5 million square feet of design and decor. It fills 3 buildings, huge tents and over 40 floors of space and happens two times a year. My trip there was both a reunion with my long lost co-star of the FYI channel mega-hit "We're Moving In" - the gorgeous BRITANY SIMON - and also a journey into a different universe: the wholesale furniture space. On a newfound quest to absorb this world for the purpose of enriching my own creative process, the trip really allowed me to lift up the retail rock I had been living on. What I witnessed was the reality of a vast and high-quality wholesale space - the manufacturers, craftsman, boutique designers and collections that hold retail furniture up.
Okay. Let's start with the furniture. We saw a huge amount of forward-thinking furniture designs all weekend. It was literally non-stop. The freshest, most current trends (in Las Vegas) were there serving everything from windows, visual displays, restaurants, residential and more. Sofas, chairs, cases, sideboards, carpets, collections arranged… YOU NAME IT!! Just being able to take in somebody’s new point of view on a specific taste level was AMAZING. It was crazy inspiring. (I quickly forgot about the 50,000 or so overstuffed lazy boy recliners I had to wade through to get to the good stuff).
Ya know, I've been pushing myself to pro-actively seek out inspiration; to go out and experience and see more. My intention with this trip was to expose myself to and soak in a new design world. I want to learn and absorb as much as possible using the many resources around me. Interior design and interior decorating have been around forever, yet they exist mostly for the general public and not as much for production design. So as a designer I have to ask myself, how can I absorb all of this and enrich my own work? What can I bring to the table that will enhance the quality of our productions? How can I constantly challenge what I'm comfortable with? How do I set a taste level that’s higher?
Raising the bar and setting a taste level that feels distinct and elevated is priority #1 for me this year. This is my goal for both current shows and all projects down the line. It's SO IMPORTANT to provide a better quality product with a more interesting point of view. I come away from my experience at LVMKT knowing, without a doubt, buying wholesale is a huge step towards accomplishing this.
Here’s the thing. I’d be lying to you if I said I’d never furnished The Voice with a table from Ikea or decorated The Biggest Loser complex with lamps from West Elm. I love and will always love these outlets as second homes. But it’s time to NOT rely on the usual suspects and really look at more of the places that the general public doesn’t usually get access to - and figure out a way to bring it all to our production design work. There’s a giant underground world of boutique wholesale collections to tap into (and beneath that a whole world of manufacturing as well). It was such a joy to explore these worlds at Las Vegas Market.
More than ever, I’m emboldened to go beyond what’s immediately accessible, look at other options, and share it with the public. If a designer really wants to set a taste level, why not challenge yourself to go beyond what is available at a retail store that anybody can go to? Opting for something mass-produced, pre-packaged and two times the cost also seems pretty silly. Thanks to Britany Simon who’s been whispering this in my ear for years. My paint palette and brush collection has been expanded for the better. Which feels good.
Ultimately, all of this just underscores our obligation as designers to never stop pushing the envelope. The different sales reps, outlets, owners and designers I met and traded ideas with at LVMKT were just as inspiring as the furniture. I'm beyond excited to see how this all filters into my work this season and future seasons. Now, it's time to go to WERK!