KBB - June/July 2009 - (Page 12)

Editorial On the Bright Side “Look to design to solve a lot of our problems.” That’s a quote from award-winning designer Mick De Giulio, one he shared with me during an interview at this year’s Kitchen/Bath Industry Show (for this interview and others, go to kbbonline.com and click on K+BBTV). His inspirational approach to addressing the current economic conditions, coupled with his experienced insight (after all, he has been deeply involved in this industry for 25 years), captured my attention— and admiration—and left me wanting more. More of that positive energy. More of that optimism. Sometimes it really is the way we look at things. And his vision looks good. In this same interview, Mick referenced an article he read on NYTimes.com titled “Design Loves a Depression.” Could that be the silver lining for us? I needed to know more. Alice Liao, our executive editor, was kind enough to look it up and forward it to me. After all, I wanted to know just what those words were, the ones he read, that made him smile, as he told me. I must confess, the article inspired me as it had inspired him—and as he hopes it will inspire other design professionals. It starts out with the statement that “Few of the arts benefited from the late economic boom more than design.” As author Michael Cannell explains, “When the wealth is flowing, people don’t covet the concerts you see or the books you read…but the couch you bought—and then they buy a cooler one.” You know, not keeping up with the Joneses, but totally eclipsing them. Those days, for now, are a memory. But all is not lost. In fact, design is more relevant as frugality, for lack of a better term, now replaces frivolity, needs replace wants and affordable choices are the smart choices. Sure enough, the article states, “Design tends to thrive in hard times.” And better yet, Mick, in his interview, echoes the same sentiment: “Design thrives in hard times.” They must be onto something here. Both point to the Great Depression as proof positive. Products had to be beautiful and obtainable. Innovation was born from necessity, as companies needed to readjust their thinking not just to thrive—but to survive. “Just look at Montgomery Ward and Sears & Roebuck,” Mick said. “They started their in-house design services during the Depression. This was the time when industrial products emerged as companies saw that design was a way to move out of where they were and to get people buying again by inspiring them. And that’s inspiring to me.” Just a shift in thinking and focus can drive us to create new products, to give us new design direction. We all know the old adage: “You can’t keep doing the same things and expect things to change.” We know it, but do we implement it? Mick shared with me, and I with you, a call to action. We all talk about trends. Certainly we report about them in the magazine. But, he urges, “Think about trends in an opposite way. Rather than what is here, what’s not here. Create something that doesn’t exist yet. That’s when, as designers, we come up with the best ideas. It’s really what creativity is all about.” There’s been positive movement in the industry over the past 30 years, he thinks, as we’ve moved toward design, toward better design, pulling away from a product/dealer-driven industry and migrating slowly to a creative mentality. “Hang in there,” he encourages his peers and those just entering the field. “Times are tough, but they will turn around. Make a consistent commitment to the craft.” Focusing on your artistry and oneof-a-kind approach to design and clients is a promising opportunity for professionals. Seriously, over and over again we hear that homeowners are looking for experience more than objects to enrich their lives. And that’s where you can rise to the occasion. OK, we could all use a dose of Mick’s “dealing with the economy by dealing with it through design” mantra. But, he’s not alone. Heading into this year’s K/BIS, so much of the buzz, sadly, was the much-anticipated lack of quantity (in terms of attendees, booths and products), that a simple fact was often overlooked, yet, I happily report, realized. The quality (in terms of attendees, booths and products) did not suffer. I’ll do you one better. It shone. The drive to showcase innovation, develop solutions and strengthen our industry through commitment, communication, information sharing and networking was strong and solid. While realism was present, optimism prevailed, all knowing that if we can just get through it, we’ll come out stronger and that much more prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. Since I started with a quote, I’ll end with one. This comes from Edie Raether, who also spoke at K/BIS. I didn’t catch her session, but I did come across a gem she shared. It’s worth repeating and remembering: “Kites rise higher against the wind.” s Christina Trauthwein, Editor-in-Chief ctrauthwein@kbbonline.com 12 + K BB June/July July 2004 2009 / www.kbbonline.com / The Official Sponsor of K/BIS www.kbis.com http://www.kbbonline.com http://www.NYTimes.com http://www.kbbonline.com http://www.kbis.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - June/July 2009

KBB - June/July 2009
Contents
Online Contents
Online News
Editorial
Focus
Trends
Products
Profile
Options
Design
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Grand Master
Green
Access
Practice
Education
Opinion
Editorial Index
Ad Index
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KBB - June/July 2009

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