Design Build Cincy 2018 is in the books! It was our second year doing the show, and our booth this year was FOUR TIMES the size it was last year! Why would you do that, you ask? Honestly, we don’t have a great answer for that. So, we viewed the glass half full, got creative, and kept the possibilities of this size booth at the forefront. We wanted to create a space in our 10’ x 20’ booth that would allow various users to be in the space at the same time, allow them to learn more about our collaborative design process, connect with us, and engage in meaningful dialogue with us about design.
We get a lot of questions as interior designers: Do you work with contractors/builders? How are you different than an architect? Do you work with architects? What value can you add to our project? We also get some less than flattering questions, like “well, what do you actually do?” and “Do you just pick out furniture?” So taking all that in, we thought we should show people what we do. People can find a pretty picture anywhere; hello Instagram, Pinterest, and Houzz. So it didn’t make a ton of sense for us to just show final pictures of our work because people would still be asking us what we do. We needed to show them, step by step, from an initial consultation meeting to the (sometimes messy) in-between steps before the final pretty picture. Graphically, we included a timeline of the design process, from pre-design to construction administration/ project management, showing our work in each phase of the project. We also included a materials palette in each of the two projects we showcased, which we have for each project we design, but this allowed for visitors of our space to experience the tactile side of our process.
So that brings us to the next part of this title, coffee. In our tenure as business owners, we’ve had countless networking and introduction meetings at various coffee shops around the city, and we’ve met some phenomenal people, some even by happenstance. Example: discussing our women owned business certification with someone in a Starbucks while serendipitously sitting next to someone who works on the regional level of women owned business certifications. The coffee shop has become so engrained in our network and our networking, that it has become a part of us, part of our brand, and part of our growth. It only seemed fitting to include this aspect of us in our booth, and it would also provide us another platform in which to engage with end users and industry professionals.
Lucky for us, our friends at Tisdel and Custom Distributors represent and distribute Subzero-Wolf appliances, and they had the built-in coffee system on their showroom floor. After getting a few okays, we got the green light to install it in our booth for the weekend. To round out the collaborative experience, we designed co-branded mugs with ours and Custom Distributors logos, and to highlight additional local Cincy businesses, we talked to our friends at Redtree Art Gallery & Coffee Shop in Oakley about providing coffee beans.
The last component of our booth was an activation like the experiential portion of our booth last year. Using carpet yarn (which is used to weave carpet and carpet tiles) from Interface, users answered a few questions about themselves first—what word most described them (homeowner, builder/developer, educator, designer, architect) and their generation (matures, baby boomers, gen x-ers, millennials, gen z), and then moved into more design oriented questions. The first design question was “What do you prioritize in a design project?” and the answers were budget, function, quality, experience, and innovation. We asked a similar question last year, with more possible answers, and these were our top 5. The second design question was “What value does a designer add to your project?” Broken into three categories, creativity, collaboration, and connection, users were prompted to select one answer from each category.
We met some amazing industry professionals at the show as well as end-users. Now it’s time to get back to client projects as we head into the holidays. Can’t wait to start brainstorming our booth for next year!