We just spent a week down in sunny California at the Dwell on Design.
This event is geared to showcase North American (and several overseas) design suppliers, vendors, manufacturers, and experts in the field of interior design and architecture.
If you’ve never been to an exhibition like this, let me tell you that it’s a whirlwind of trade booths, displays, live on-stage seminars, and educational presentations—all focused on the latest and greatest materials and product while promoting leading edge design practices and principles.
As a design professional, it’s incredibly important to stay on top of what’s out there, how it’s being done, and how we can incorporate it into our own practices in regards to innovative and design-savvy products and concepts.
And travel is a fantastic way to experience what’s being done outside of the local and Canadian markets. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve referenced back to photos I’ve taken while out of the country of architecture and commercial detailing for inspiration while working on the initial programming of an Urban Theory design project.
While we were in Los Angeles, as an added bonus, several homes featured recently in Dwell Magazine were opened up for exclusive tours to the public.
We signed up for the South Bay area tour, and hit five gorgeous houses nestled in Rancho Palos Verdes, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach.
All five were designed by two independent Californian architects, and shared many commonalities in design aesthetic and feature materials and finishes throughout.
With each architect on sight during the open houses, guests were able to explore each property in an exclusively intimate way—a highlight of the trip for us.
On a free day, we drove up to Griffith Observatory and caught the infamous Hollywood sign in the far off distance, a hazy view of downtown L.A., and then drove Mulholland Drive behind a Starline tour bus and spotted a few celebrity homes along the way.
Another afternoon we drove out to Malibu and caught lunch at the illustrious restaurant Nobu. Tucked right on the ocean’s edge, the food—and the view—was scintillating and surreal.
And of course we had to hit Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills. That’s almost par for the course when you visit L.A.
We ended up staying in Santa Monica in a tiny apartment close to the pier, perfect for walking to restaurants and shops along the celebrated 3rd Street strip, and even rented bicycles to ride the beach paths from the Santa Monica Pier to Venice Beach.
If you’re planning a trip to the Los Angeles area, I would highly recommend adding The Grove, the shops of Abbott Kinney Street, and Huntington Beach to your itinerary if you’re looking for less of the touristy Hollywood experience and are wanting something a bit more edgy and authentic.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the year as we continue to travel and vacation, coming back with design highlights and ideas I can share with Capital News readers in this column.
Crispin Butterfield owns Urban Theory
Interior Design, and has been designing residential and commercial spaces across Western Canada for the past 12 years.