If there ever was an event that elevated L.A. decorators to celebrity status, Westweek is it. The five-day design-a-thon, which converges on West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center from March 22-26, is part show-and-tell, part schmooze-and-booze. Thousands of people, including designers, manufacturers, editors and the simply curious (many events are open to the public) turn architect Cesar Pelli’s “Blue Whale” building — soon to be joined by an under-construction red tower — into a bustling center of book signings, panels, store openings and even an invite-only gala awards dinner. (Architect Marc Appleton, husband of actress Joanna Kerns and one of the city’s foremost experts on Spanish Colonial architecture, is receiving this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award.) But the focus is on the high-design product launches. “It’s a great week to take clients to the PDC,” says Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, who has designed for the likes of Elton John and Aaron Sorkin. “People get excited about what’s new and inventive.” Here’s a sampling of the most covetable items from star designers who are elevating furniture to art-piece status.
► Christian Liaigre
The Design The influential French designer shows his latest pieces, including the Giacometti-inspired Saint Germain solid-bronze armchair ($15,750, leather sold separately) and the silver-plated bronze Bocca lamp ($5,700).
Fans Rupert Murdoch and Karl Lagerfeld buy Liaigre.
The Location Thomas Lavin showroom, where Gwyneth Paltrow, Keanu Reeves and Barbra Streisand have been spotted. (PDC, Suite B310, thomaslavin.com).
► Gary Gibson
The Design Gibson’s 1930s- and ’40s-inspired collection focuses on pieces in bronze, stainless steel and glass including the walnut-and-stainless Chandler coffee table ($8,458). “My goal was to highlight the sleek, classic beauty of these materials,” says Gibson, owner of the store Gibson ID (7350 Beverly Blvd., garygibson.com).
Fans Mandy Moore, Eva Mendes and Diane Keaton all have Gibson pieces.
The Location Paul Ferrante showroom (PDC, Suite B362, paulferrante.com).
► Carlos Motta
The Design Motta’s playful coat hanger (price upon request) in ebonized cedar and peroba rosa wood is emblematic of the Brazilian designer’s sustainably sourced, highly sculptural furniture.
Fans Director Walter Salles (On the Road) wrote a tribute essay for Motta’s book Life As I See It.
The Location Motta’s invite-only book signing is 6-8 p.m. March 24 at Espasso (PDC, Suite B205, espasso.com). Obama White House designer Michael Smith shops here.
► Patrick Naggar
The Design The architect-artist-designer’s latest collection includes the dramatic Gold Borealis table, made of gold-leaf over honeycomb panel and white resin ($16,500). “His clean-lined architectural furniture is incredible and highly collectible,” interior designer Lawrence-Bullard says.
Fans Naggar’s works are in the collections of Paris’ Musee des Arts Decoratifs and the Brooklyn Museum.
The Location The opening party is 6:30-8:30 p.m. March 24 at the cutting-edge Ralph Pucci showroom (PDC, Suite B203, ralphpucci.net).
The Design The Holly Hunt showroom is known for turning below-the-radar furniture-makers into design-scene stars — which might be the case for Chicago-based company Caste. Hunt is debuting its ruggedly sculptural collection, which includes the patinated steel Bridger Bench ($11,690).
The Location Holly Hunt (PDC, Suite B377, hollyhunt.com).
THE HOT LIST: Westweek’s launches, stores and Oscars’ green room redo
Million Dollar Decorator
Bravo unveils the cast of its upcoming reality show
In the most high-end design talent roster yet on TV, Million Dollar Decorator, due in early summer, will spotlight five of L.A.’s most innovative names. From left: Mary McDonald (Glee creator Ryan Murphy is a client); Jeffrey Alan Marks (Lost director Jack Bender); Nathan Turner (Ione Skye); Kathryn Ireland (Steve Martin, Julia Louis-Dreyfus); and Martyn Lawrence-Bullard lead a panel at 3 p.m. March 24 (PDC, Suite B259).
The long-established glass company is dusting off its image with new venture Studio Baccarat. Its temporary spot highlights recent collaborations with such hotshot designers as Marcel Wanders (at left, his crystal vase with marble stand, $3,950) and Arik Levy (PDC, Suite B540, baccarat.com).
The red-hot design team’s new rug line
Known for its out-of-the-box interiors for such clients as HBO Films and Dreamworks, collective design firm Commune unveils its Nepal-made rugs ($3,500-$4,560) with twists on Bauhaus patterns and typography (Decorative Carpets, 8900 Melrose Ave., decorativecarpets.com).
The PDC lures Perse and Armani
James Perse, the king of laid-back sophistication, opens his home-collection store, including new limited-edition pingpong tables (PDC, Suite B130, jamesperse.com). At minimal-meets-glam Armani Casa, look for pieces like its new gold-leaf tables (Suite G170, armanicasa.com).
The Oscar Green Room
Westweek recreates interior design for the 2011 Academy Awards
The Baker showroom will put together decorator Michael Smith’s Architectural Digest Green Room from this year’s show. Smith (Barack Obama, Steven Spielberg, Dustin Hoffman, Michelle Pfeiffer) created a living-room-like, 1940s-Hollywood space that’s designed in muted colors and luxurious finishes. “I have always been thrilled by the movies and the design and architecture that surround them,” Smith says (PDC, Suite B525, kohlerinteriors.com).
The Most Luxurious textiles and rugs
At the Kravet showroom, blue-chip designer Barry (Michael Ovitz, Darren Star) introduces her delicately embroidered Indochine collection (which also includes wallcoverings and trimmings) inspired by her travels throughout the East (PDC, Suite B624, kravet.com).