Tucked away in the Berkshires, a historic inn has morphed into a showhouse of diverse design talent after co-founders of The Kaleidoscope Project—Amy Lynn Schwartzbard, Patti Carpenter, and Liz Nightingale—dreamed up the idea nearly six months ago. “It feels really surreal,” says Carpenter, who also is principal of carpenter + company, about walking through the Cornell Inn in Lenox, Massachusetts, where the works are on display.
The Cornell Inn, open to visitors through June 6, features works by 23 BIPOC designers who transformed 21 rooms in the main building and nearby carriage house into vibrant and inviting spaces working closely with The Shade Store, which supplied all the custom window treatments. The window treatments are inspired by three central design themes and color schemes—restful (neutrals), reflection (cool tones), and rejuvenate (warm hues). “We wanted to bring more diverse voices to the table; to expand the concept of beauty so it’s not so euro-centric,” Carpenter shares, noting that those featured live and work throughout the country, bringing their own unique experiences to the project. In doing so, the showhouse aligns with The Kaleidoscope Project's mission, which aims to foster the careers of underrepresented designers and improve representation in the industry.
And to support the next generation of BIPOC designers, nine interns from New York School of Interior Design, Parsons School of Design, and the Fashion Institute of Technology also participated in the design process—two recent graduates even earned job offers through the project. "The extraordinary talents of so many designers of color are often not seen and their voices are not heard," adds Schwartzbard, principal of The Life Designs Group. "We are a creative industry. It's up to us to bring all of our best talent forward and create an equitable platform for all of our design community." Additionally, all ticket proceeds will go toward creating scholarships for young designers of color interested in pursuing an art or design career at NYSID, Parsons, and through the Black Artists + Designers Guild.
The showhouse, which is supported by more than 30 design brands in addition to The Shade Store, including Kravet, Kohler, Benjamin Moore, and Saatva, which provided all mattresses, will remain in place indefinitely, becoming part of the legacy of the Cornell Inn. "We are delighted to join The Kaleidoscope Project in the transformation of the historic Cornell Inn and celebration of the diverse talent within the creative design industry,” asserts Ian Gibbs, co-founder and chief creative officer of The Shade Store. To learn more, go here.