The PDC Fall Market 2017 featured many ‘L.A. Stories,’ but the true tale of the event’s success comes from its participants’ perspectives.

The So-Cal creative renaissance budding in L.A. was examined from all angles of design, through timeless architecture, millennial misconceptions and celebrating vibrant diversity. Keynotes and in-showroom programs twirled around our heads during the day, but perhaps some of the key takeaways danced out of our brains the next.

Here’s what the panelists want to make sure stuck:

Know Your Worth


How to Get Your Clients to Understand the Value in Original Design

Eric Chang, Co-Founder of Hellman-Chang, Panelist:

“I think what I wanted the audience to understand that, as an industry, we all need to hold ourselves to a higher standard in order for our businesses to thrive, grow and stay relevant. Furniture designers, textile designers and even interior designers – we all get our intellectual property copied well beyond a derivative point of inspiration.

As showrooms and 3rd party lines, we have to elevate the client experience and touch points to tell our stories that explain both the technical values of our products, and the emotional values of our brands. It’s on all of us, so that we can all strive to create beautifully crafted and innovatively designed pieces, memorable showroom experiences and the most exquisite and original living environments.”

Karen Marx, Director of Special Projects of Hearst Design Group, Moderator:

“At Thomas Lavin we got down to serious business– the importance of original design.  Our esteemed panel included Thais Roda, CEO of Liaigre, Inc. U.S. and Eric Chang, Co-Founder, Hellman-Chang. Both had so much knowledge of companies, workrooms and even designers that literally knocked off their prestigious companies original designs. 

Eric recalled to an intrigued audience the story of a NYC designer that asked him to lower the price of an original Hellman-Chang table for a client and, if he wasn’t willing to agree to the price, the designer told him she had a workroom that was willing to make it at XXX price, expecting Eric to match the much lower price. He truly believed that the designer was clueless of what she was requesting him to do. He took us through the process of how he explained to the designer that what she was asking was wrong. And also took her though the ramifications of what would happen if she proceeded with her “plan B”. In the end, it was all worked out and the designer did buy the table from Hellman-Chang.”

Make The Boring Feel Interesting


Color & Texture in Los Angeles: Our Diverse and Vibrant City Obsessed with Neutrals

Lisa Bingham Dewart, Features Editor of Luxe Interiors + Design, Moderator:

“We talked a lot about how [designers] get their clients comfortable with color. Of course, sometimes neutrals are the right choice, so we also discussed how to keep them from being boring—for that, it’s all about texture.”

‘What Was Said in the Showroom, Stays in the Showroom’ Kind Of


Great Architecture = The Sum of ALL Great Design

Karen Marx, Director of Special Projects of Hearst Design Group, Moderator:

“Since the theme was LA Stories, M. Brian Tichenor and Raun Thorp, founders of Tichenor & Thorp, had some of the best!  While ‘what was said in the showroom had to stay in the showroom, my lips are sealed on specifics.’ But what was amazing to hear were the stories of historic homes that had hidden bars as they were originally built during the Prohibition period. Some of their clients didn’t understand why they had these concealed spaces and had to be convinced by Raun and Brian on why they needed to be preserved.

In one of these homes, a famous musician not only had a hidden bar but also a hidden staircase, which ended up working in the owner’s favor as it was used for a secret lover to come and go without being seen. I guess someone discovered the affair, as we know how the staircase was used post-Prohibition. The good news is that the bar and staircase are still there all due to Raun and Brian’s dedication to historic preservation! 

That was just one story.  They told another great tale that wasn’t just about the interior architecture, but instead having to buy lots of really tall trees for a celebrity couples privacy, which wasn’t enough. They then had to build a fancy wall because the tall trees weren’t enough. In the end, the celebrity couple eventually moved and also divorced, maybe because they didn’t see eye to eye on the priority of privacy.  But what’s great, they got to work on the same home again once it was sold so they knew all of the structural details on the inside, and all the details on the outside including tall trees and a tall wall.”

Keep Calm and So-Cal On


Classic California: Elegant Living, Timeless Architecture

Erika Heet, Editor in Chief of Interiors Magazine, Moderator:

“At Michael Taylor, before a standing-room-only crowd, we heard from a diverse group of revered design minds who shared their secrets on capturing the essence of California in their work. What I found most appealing as a journalist and California native was learning more about what each panelist is doing to save or continue the legacy of California architecture, from Marc Appleton’s modern takes on the Spanish-style villa to Ron Woodson and Jaime Rummerfield’s efforts to retain our unparalleled architectural heritage. That it took place in the Michael Taylor showroom was an added delight, given Taylor’s pioneering interpretations of the California look.“

Millennial Brand Management


Designing for Millennials: Color, Pattern, Statement Pieces and More

Lauren Urband, Founder of Consultancy PR, lead member of the team who developed this program:

“There are countless articles written about ‘Millennials’ and not just within the design industry. Everyone from fashion and design to food and technology is still trying to figure out the best way to catch this audience’s attention. They seem to have different priorities and spending strategies than previous generations so we can’t speak to them in the same way. We realized we had a great roster of clients that fall in the “Millennial” category and thought who better to speak to this topic than other Millennials.   

My biggest takeaway was the fact that the design industry is still figuring out how to market to this demographic. The best we’ve come up with so far is to appeal to their mutual love of the color Millennial Pink!  This group of panelists shed light on the many other ways to appeal to this audience, focusing on how this group thinks, shops and covets design because it’s notably different from generations past.”

Passion, Performance and Power, Make Obstacles Obsolete

L.A. NOW: Legends, Mavericks and New Blood

Nancy Corzine, Iconic Interior Designer, Keynote Panelist:

“If you have passion you live in Technicolor, which is not a word we live too often these days or you live in black & white and I must tell you that living in color is a heck of a lot better than living in black & white, even though black & white is kind of chic.

The key to success, I call them the three P’s: passion, performance, power. Passion comes from within you, it isn’t something anyone can teach you. I didn’t listen in high school, I got married at 17, had a baby at 18, that didn’t work out so well and my parents said, ‘Well darling, you did it, now complete it,’ so I had to go to work. My mother told me ‘if you can think of it you can do it.’ You can do anything that you could think of all you need to do is just perform.

I didn’t know how to start a company, I learned every day, but that’s where passion and performance come into play. You can do it, you just have to do it every solitary day, every moment and although how discouraging it sometimes becomes, you have to do it every single day.”

It’s your vision, not your home

L.A. NOW: Legends, Mavericks and New Blood

Michael Boyd, Interior Designer, Keynote Panelist:  

“I always tell people I never, ever am sold on an idea because it originated with me, it’s a huge weakness. If you find yourself arguing with yourself and you’re like why do I love this? Why do I like the double doors? Remember: It’s not your house, you want the double doors, but your client may not. Remain flexible about it.

These are just a few of the top takeaways from this impactful Market. Did we miss a tip? Tell GDG on Twitter your top ‘L.A. Stories’ from PDC Market.