After spending time in both Los Angeles and New York in the past months while also pondering the Interior Design trends, resources and mood in Chicago, I've looked more and more at this perception:
"In the world of Interior Design, the Midwest--even Chicago--is "'flyover" country."
A couple of elections ago, media pundits and political strategists coined the phrase to describe the parts of the US where no one REALLY spends time, just flies over it to get to more Vital and Important destinations.
Without a doubt, Design has a "look" on the coasts. Florida Design appears to have seriously considered style (see below) that warrants its own magazine: a REAL magazine. Another fave of mine, Coastal Design, makes me nostalgic for the Hamptons. (More on that another time - but that means that it's researched, written and published about good design....not "backed' with ads paid by the subjects of the articles).
In LA there is a serious leaning to clean lines, spare interiors, large-scale pieces and art. Also bare windows & natural materials. New York is also spare, minimal, modern and also European in style, but not often large scale, since so many city dwellings are (comparatively) small, sometimes dark and efficient.
Florida has its tropical vibe, and is somewhat less austere, but also allows for the tropical breezes to flow through spaces.
No doubt the Midwest is less innovative than the Coast. Go to the Merchandise Mart, and there are few furniture showrooms with factories based in Chicago. We DO have extraordinary fabricators of wonderful furnishings and I collaborate with them daily. They work with me to be ahead of trends, even if the style is traditional. But unlike the NYC and LA scene, we don't export our experts nearly as much. We absolutely (IN GENERAL) follow trends, don't set them. Personally, I work like crazy to use my instincts and use my most creative side whenever I can: with use of color, new products, and emphasis on the more personal selections of art and accessories - and purposely NOT avoiding what absolutely everyone is selling.
Chicago has extraordinary resources and opportunities. NeoCon was a treasure trove of the newest. The Mart has something for everyone from pretty much everywhere. I'll share some of the Non-Mart resources soon!
Seen at an LA Fro-Yo shop: high style Italian furniture sold at the Mart and at one of my favorite River North retailers--- and recently seen in one of my clients' kitchen!
There ARE many areas in the country where there are few choices for shopping, exploring and (truthfully) seeing, touching and sitting on furniture. But not Chicago --- if you can locate all the wonderful resources here, there is no reason your home or home-away-from-home (office) should look like no one cared when it was created. Can't find the sources yourself? Keep reading these posts and/or get a professional for the right advice!