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IFDA's Educational Foundation Assembles a Panel of Pros for DesignEDGE

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The IFDA's Educational Foundation recently announced that it has assembled a pannel of Pros for it's panel at DesignEdge. "We plan to probe how brands collaborate with designers to create new lines—and what values the designer brings to each brand," says Nick May, an internationally recognized expert on the ins and outs of product design. He will moderate the afternoon panel at DesignEDGE, presented by the Educational foundation of the International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA) in Las Vegas July 29. That's opening day of the Las Vegas Summer Market, which, along with the global furniture-design company Sunpan, is one of the event's principal sponsors.

Mr. May describes the designer-brand collaboration as a "win-win situation" and promises that his panelists will probe the designers' role in such partnerships and, he says, focus on "what they get out of working with the brand." Long steeped in the business aspect of design, he created The Chaise Lounge Interior Design Podcast (www.thechaseloungepodcast.com), becoming the first podcaster to devote his entire platform to the business of interior design. By now, this trailblazing site is regularly downloaded in 100 countries.

DesignEDGE panelists will include designers and brand reps, he says, "plus an expert from the licensing and branding side who'll talk, in general, about how she works with designers and brands to make those connections happen." Here are the panelists Mr. May has selected:

  • Julia Buckingham, who recently opened her high-end Modernique boutique in Phoenix, Arizona, is the author of the book Modernique: Inspiring Interiors, Mixing Modern and Vintage Style. Her collection for Global Views includes lighting, rugs, pillows, furniture accents and decorative accessories.

  • Kelli Ellis, an internationally recognized designer, artist, licensee and speaker, is a founding partner of Design Campus, The Design MasterMind, and the author of Do I Look Skinny in This House?, which is described as a design-psychology coaching book. Her design work includes collections of furniture, fabrics, lighting, rugs, tile and art plus a new collection, for Sunpan, introduced at the recent High Point Spring Market.

  • Katherine Kalen, known for managing various brands in the home fashions and furnishings industry, is currently marketing director for Sunpan, a global firm specializing in the design and manufacture of transitional and contemporary furnishings. Tapping into her knowledge of analytics and consumer behavior, she is recognized for her ability to drive brand exposure through the development of integrated marketing campaigns and consistent brand messaging.

  • Angela Pickens, who, as a brand manager, was key to building the Tommy Bahama Home Retail power brand. Her instincts in buying and developing product for the home helped establish a highly profitable division for this lifestyle brand. She and her partner, Mike Ragan, recently started their own company. Called "develop Innovative Brand Partnerships," it's an innovative brand-management company specializing in building successful partnerships between designers, retailers, manufacturers, influencers, and market centers in the home-design industry.

  • Joshua Rose & Rafael Kalichstein, a unique partnership of two creative pros whose early career emphasis was in creating movie visual effects (Joshua) and practicing Eastern healing and Chinese medicine (Rafael). Their Sherman Oaks, California, firm, FORM Design Studio, is currently developing commercial, hospitality and residential projects worldwide and also creating its own product lines. In describing the secret of their success as partners, they say, "When neither suffers the role of leader or follower, the relationship becomes harmonious, cyclical and seamless."


The morning program will feature keynoter Nolen Niu, an award-winning and internationally recognized American industrial designer whose design firm is among the few with the ability to manufacture as well as design all of its made-in-America products. And as a DesignEDGE bonus, Julie Smith Vincenti, the Las Vegas Market's "First Look" spokesperson, will narrate an a/v tour of the five-day Las Vegas Summer Market, a presentation designed to highlight the best new-to-market products on display and also provide a "Top 10" trends forecast for 2018.

Note that DesignEDGE has been approved for 3.5 CEU's by the Interior Design Continuing Education Council (IDCEC). For more information, visit www.ifdaef.org/designedge.

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