September is typically the design industry’s most social season with events flooding the calendar in major cities around the globe. So how we stay connected, when the usual roster of product launches, trade shows, even client meetings have moved online, has become top priority in recent months.
Industry veterans Emilio Pimentel-Reid, Sabine Rothman, Victoria Murray and Nick Boatright-Wiltshire have met that need with the creation of Interiors Academy. The goal is simple: to bring together members of the design community, exchange knowledge, and foster collaboration. It began in May with editors Pimentel-Reid and Rothman interviewing established and budding talent on Instagram Live. The conversations, many of which now live permanently on their website, are brimming with insights and a-ha moments (like Suzanne Imre discussing how to leverage your experience into new domains). The medium has proven so successful that panel discussions and podcasts featuring a global array of talent and disciplines will be added this fall. They have also launched IA Creative—a consultancy service that brings creatives together for specific projects, be it a brand initiative, design direction, even curating an exhibition. In yet another medium, Pimentel-Reid highlights a network of talent in his first book, Bold British Design. Released this June, he collaborated with photographer Sarah Hogan to delve into the home and work spaces of creatives who are shaping the evolution of British design. Shown here are the studios of furniture designer Bethan Gray and Fromental’s Lizzie Deshayes.
Interiors Academy is not alone in harnessing technology to stay connected. House & Gardens’ Calico Club, which fosters conversations between members and some of the industries most celebrated designers, has temporarily moved from intimate in-person events to a digital format. Which means you can now download talks on topics like sustainable design with Maria Speake and colour in decorating with Rachel Chudley, for just £10. And in her IGTV series, Conversations on African Design, textile designer Eva Sonaike interviews Black creatives like author and consultant Tapiwa Matsinde, as well as delving into personal lessons Sonaike has learned in starting her eponymous company. Topics include insightful tips on researching your market, understanding your pricing structure, and more.
It’s these types of behind-the-scenes learnings that also make us fans of the American podcast, Business of Home. Hosted by veteran publishing exec, Dennis Scully, interviews take a deep dive into all aspects of the business side of the design. Later this month, Scully will also host the second edition of BOH’s Future of Home conference. The event, which offers insights on what’s ahead for the design community at large, debuted in New York last year to a crowd so vast it left standing room only—a problem you won’t have to worry about with this year’s virtual format. Speakers include entrepreneurs, digital strategists and yes designers (think Roman & Williams’ Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch). Since travel is no longer a factor, platforms like these mean anyone, anywhere, can tap into the collective know-how of industry experts. So long on, listen in, and keep creating.
Photographs © Sarah Hogan / Bold British Design