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With new construction rebounding, Los Angeles is among the world’s fastest-growing design markets, which makes Pacific Design Center’s Fall Market debut one of the season’s biggest events. This year it falls on Oct. 8, a one-day affair packed full of events and panel discussions with titles like Global Cities of Style and The French Connection — and featuring such speakers as Vicente Wolf and The Hollywood Reporter contributing editor Degen Pener — as well as 75 new line introductions and showroom programs on topics ranging from business tips to product innovations.
“This year the theme is Global Glamour,” PDC’s Jeff Sampson tells THR. “We thought we’d put a definitive spotlight on what’s happening in the world of style, culture and the creative influences that we see happening internationally, how that impacts the practice of architecture, interior and product design.”
The first panel of the day, Global Cities of Style, features international designers like Jane Hallworth, Wolf and Ashley Hicks and will be moderated by Departures magazine editor, Dan Rubinstein. The last panel of the day features author Hutton Wilkinson on his new design-themed novel, The Walk to Elsie’s. And sandwiched in between is a discussion with Pener and designers working both sides of the Paris/L.A. divide — Elliott Barnes, a native Angeleno who has lived in Paris for 30 years, as well as designers Patrick Frey, Martha Kirszenbaum, Nicolas Libert and his partner, Emmanuel Renoird, who moved from Paris in 2014 to open their shop Please Do Not Enter in downtown Los Angeles.
“When we decided to come here we were completely unknown and we decided to start our business from scratch,” says Libert, who describes Please Do Not Enter as a curated store featuring items chosen from the work of various artists to reflect his and Renoird’s particular taste. “We decided to support artists, most of whom are completely unknown here in the United States and in the L.A. scene.”
One such artist is Frenchman Vincent Lamouroux, whose Projection (the whitewashing of the abandoned Bates Motel on Sunset Boulevard earlier this year) was financed by Please Do Not Enter. In the short time Libert and Renoird have been in L.A., they’ve seen a continual influx of art and design professionals, notably in the downtown arts district.
“L.A. is about to explode in a positive way. You could see that especially in the art scene because of the Asian people coming, and also because of the east coast moving strongly from New York to L.A., this mix of populations, Europeans,” Libert says.
As for the market’s theme, “Global Glamour,” to Sampson it means top designers from mostly European and North American cities scouring exotic locales to come up with new ideas for clients who have seen it all.
“When you’re dealing with a particular client who is at a particular level in terms of affluence and social mobility, they’re individuals that are hard to please and they don’t want to be compared to anybody else in terms of how they perceive themselves or how they might design their multiple homes,” Sampson says. “The further out we go, the more unique and interesting things we find. I think that’s what designers are challenging themselves to bring back to their clients.”
Even after adding 20,000 square feet of show space this year, Sampson still struggles to accommodate the increasing number of international brands vying for access. Diane Keaton, Steve Martin, Goldie Hawn and Latifah are just a few of the famous names that have stopped by, and Nancy Meyers, Courtney Thorne-Smith and Kourtney Kardashian participated in 2013’s Hollywood Meets Design panel.
“The movie industry is a strong part of the California dream,” Libert says. “This dream is shared by the whole world, but especially in France. In L.A., what we found were amazingly open-minded people who are really curious. They don’t need tons of explanation or hours of coaxing. If they like it, they like it. It may be dangerous cause they might not like it very long and they will want new things. But that’s part of L.A.”
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