Inside Interior Design's Debut Best of Year Exhibitor Gallery



Editor in Chief Cindy Allen and Bill Calhoun of Arte at the Arte gallery during Interior Design's Best of Year Awards.

Attendees at this year's Interior Design's Best of Year Awards, held December 6, had even more opportunities to take artful photographs (and selfies)with an unexpected twist. Many did so while perusing innovative products at the event's inaugural exhibitor gallery, which lined the River Pavilion's Great Hall at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. 

The eye-catching gallery, featuring eight custom-designed, interactive exhibitor niches, allowed guests to playfully engage with manufacturers and their peers throughout the evening. Each exhibitor, ranging from those that specialize in lighting to wall coverings and everything in between, worked closely with Interior Design Editor in Chief Cindy Allen, as well as the magazine's design and marketing teams, in the months leading up to the event to envision and build curated spaces reflective of their brand. Participating were Arte, Baldwin Hardware, Clarus, Estiluz, Green Mood, Hunter Douglas, Mannington Commercial, and Material Bank

Earlier in the day, VIP guests received a sneak peek of the gallery during a private tour led by Interior Design Executive Editor Annie Block. Here is a closer look at the carefully curated alcoves, which stimulated the senses and set a high bar for what's sure to be an ongoing tradition. 

Baldwin Hardware's Pin-to-Win Game 

Baldwin Hardware's Pin-to-Win game generated excitement among those competing for grand prizes. Photography by Matthew Carasella.

 At Baldwin Hardware's interactive gallery space, guests had a chance to take part in a game featuring the company's innovative Touchscreen smart-lock, which melds the latest technology with a chic aesthetic. More than 30 lucky winners took home prizes ranging from gift cards of varying amounts to actual Touchscreen deadbolts. “There's a lot of this kind of product in the smart home space, but I feel like where we’re unique is that we’ve really dressed this up, so it doesn’t just look like it's another electronic product," said Aaron Brueck national sales manager at Baldwin Hardware. Brueck also noted that the Best of Year gallery provided "a nice opportunity" to promote company messaging to top architects and designers.  

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Arte's Menagerie Museum, designed by Moooi in collaboration with Arte 

Arte's Menagerie Museum served as a feast for the eyes. Photography by Matthew Carasella. 

Inspired by Moooi’s Museum of Extinct Animals, Arte's gallery space highlighted the Menagerie of Extinct Animals style from The Extinct Animals Collection—a collaboration between Arte and Moooi Wallcoverings. Guests snapped photos, using an empty picture frame as a prop, against a whimsical backdrop of animals such as the Calligraphy Bird, Blushing Sloth, and Flying Coral Fish hidden among a lush mix of flora and fauna. "The popularity of this pattern has been beyond anyone's imagination," said Bill Calhoun, president of Arte US. "We entered this design in the Best of Year competition, so obviously it was a natural for us to be here." 

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Hunter Douglas's Paint a Picture, designed by Rebecca Atwood 

Guests of all ages took Hunter Douglas' signage to heart as they painted their own pictures. Photography by Matthew Carasella.

Hunter Douglas created an inviting space full of texture and pattern, reimagining the Rebecca Atwood Design Studio where watercolors and hand-drawn patterns are born. The space offered guests an introduction to Rebecca Atwood's collection for the new Hunter Douglas Design Studio™ program, which provides a complete solution for fully dressed windows. Here drapery, side panels, roller shades, and Roman shades work together to create a picture-perfect setting. "In this space, we took it up a notch and really showed our love of pattern by covering everything," said Stephanie Tichenor, senior manager of content development at Hunter Douglas. "We're hoping people are immersed in the color, pattern, and the artistry, and the beauty... whatever the space inspires." 

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Green Mood's Succulent Sanctuary 

Green Mood's preserved garden acoustical panels drew guests into the space. Photography by Matthew Carasella.

Green Mood showcased its signature green walls and acoustical installations made with natural, preserved plants at Best of Year, creating a pleasantly fragrant green space. "This gallery space is so sensual and fragrant; it stimulates the senses and really drew us in," said awards attendee Liz Sommer, visual merchandising program manager at Marvin, as she explored the green walls with a colleague. "This idea of bringing the outdoors in is so big right now, given its impact on our well being, and this is a great example of that," she added. 

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Estiluz's Welcoming Respite, designed by Nahtrang Studio

Estiluz's Revolta fixture adds a sculptural element to any space. Photography by Matthew Carasella.

Estiluz, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, invited guests to bask in the warm glow of the Revolta light fixture in its custom niche. The Revolta fixture, crafted to maximize the dimensional limits of space with ethereal illumination, creates a striking focal point with its slim circular frame and suspended lights. The open frames also can be filled with acoustic material, transforming any area into a three-dimensional feast for the eyes and ears."What we're seeing here is a suspension fixture that has been very, very successful," said Liz Panos, national sales manager at Estiluz USA. "This is typical of what we offer to the end-user and the designer—the ability to be able to create your own configurations in a space." 

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Clarus's Over the Rainbow booth, designed by Sierra Eichler  

Brittany Ricks of Clarus in front of Clarus' custom glass installation. Photography by Keith Claytor/TimeFrozen Photography.

Clarus displayed a custom glass installation in its gallery, designed to elevate space and emotion with a rainbow spectrum of color. The installation, which takes on slightly different hues from different vantage points, accentuates the capabilities of what a premium glass manufacturer can create. "The great thing about Hall of Fame and Best of Year is that we all get together and talk about what kind of feeling we have [about design]," said Brittney Ricks, VP of Brand and Marketing at Clarus. "This experience that we're able to give people, where they can experience glass in a whole different way with color, is why we wanted to be part of this opportunity." 

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Mannington Commercial's "A Magical Interplay," designed by Larry Bell (The Hocus) & Mannington Commercial

Mannington Commercial reimagined Larry Bell's work on translucent fabric in their niche. Photography by Keith Claytor/TimeFrozen Photography.

At Best of Year, Mannington Commercial invited guests to experience its latest modular carpet collection, made in collaboration with artist Larry Bell, in a new way—by walking through sheer fabric panels. The Hocus collection, inspired by Bell's Standing Walls glass installations, explores the interaction of light and glass using proprietary, high-luster yarn in subdued colorways. The result is a captivating display of juxtapositions of surface and dimension, clarity and ambiguity. "Since we couldn't bring [Bell's] glass here, we transposed some of his pattern work onto these sheers, which gave us an opportunity to walk through and experience his work in a small way," said Amanda Swindall, commercial marketing director at Mannington Commercial. "The Hocus [collection] just launched in November and this was a great opportunity to introduce it to all of the designers here at the BoY Awards." 

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Material Bank: Search and Sample in Seconds 

SANDOW's Material Bank had its latest innovation on display at Best of Year—Material Desk. Photography by Matthew Carasella.

At Best of Year, Material Bank, the fastest and most powerful way to search and sample materials, offered guests an opportunity to experience the brand's latest innovation: Material Desk. A revolutionary tool for designers, Material Desk utilizes proprietary digital palette-building software to enable users to build their own design palettes, bridging the gap between the physical and digital world while linking directly to Material Bank. "Best of Year is here honoring the most significant work of 2019, and with that significant work we know there's a need for innovative technology tools to really drive our industry forward," said Kelly Weertz, executive director of library services and happiness director at Material Bank. "And Material Bank has shown—we're just a little bit less than a year old—already the significant impact that a thoughtful digital tool can have not only for our design industry, but also for individual design process." 

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Read more: Full Best of Year Coverage

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