There are many design resources in the professional designer’s handbook. These resources may seem clandestine or out of reach to the regular, non-design-professional person but actually there are many that are accessible to anyone, if you know where to look. One such resource is the design buildings located in many major cities across the world. In Manhattan, there are three major design centers or buildings: the Decoration & Design Building, the New York Design Center and the Architects and Designers Building. All three of these buildings are open to the public as well as provide shopping and in-house design services to anyone who would like to use them.
Now, designers are not too keen on you knowing this and to be honest some of the showrooms in these buildings aren’t either. Why? Well, perhaps it is because they feel the value of their service is compromised if there isn’t some exclusivity about the business. Or perhaps they don’t feel regular, non-design-professionals aren’t qualified to know what to buy or how much to buy and need some guidance in the process in order to make it easier. Whatever the reason some designers have, there is a sentiment shared among the design centers in NYC that welcomes anyone who wishes to walk through the doors and browse and/or shop in the showrooms.
Today we are profiling the Decoration & Design Building located in midtown Manhattan (diagonally across from the Bloomingdales flagship store). It has 18 floors filled with 120 showrooms like Kravet, Holland & Sherry, Fortuny , Ralph Lauren, Jerry Pair, Noblis, Dakota Jackson, the Silver Peacock, Niedermaier, Pierre Frey, Schumacher, Gracie, Andrew Martin, Christopher Hyland and Artistic Frame (many of whom we have featured before on this blog). The quality and selection are outstanding and it is a challenge to leave the building without tons of inspiration and a wish list a mile long!
Welcome to the Decoration & Design Building!
Two of the services the DDB offers anyone is the Designer Referral Program and the Consulting & Buying Program. Both are complimentary programs and can be utilized to hunt for a single product or to assist you with your entire home.
The Designer Referral Program is when you want some assistance with the look or planning out a redecoration project and would like to have a designer assist you. There are currently nine designers whose lookbooks you can view at the DDB’s office or you can call and talk to the director, Jason, who will match you with a designer based on your style and project. Many of the designers in the program are award winning and their styles range from traditional to contemporary. Designers pay to be a part of the program and renew their membership on an annual basis. The designers are not required to buy products from the DDB exclusively; they can source from other places too.
Once you have selected a designer (we recommend meeting with a few before deciding on a final person), they will walk you through the process and disclose all fees in advance. Some designers will work on a project fee and buy the product for you at designer’s cost and others will prefer to work with you and mark up the product you end up choosing by an additional fee. It is wise to talk both arrangements through with your designer before signing a contract and moving forward.
The entrance decked out for the holidays and showcasing some of the buildings' terrific showrooms.
The second program the DDB offers anyone is the Consulting & Buying Program. This is for someone who isn’t working with an interior designer but knows exactly the product they want and just needs someone to buy it for them. The program allows the public to buy any of the items sold in the 120+ showrooms (there are two who do not participate). You meet or call a consultant and they will purchase the product for you at the to-the-trade prices plus an administrative fee. This is quite a popular program getting about 10-20 inquiries a week. Most people request fabric, wallcoverings, furniture pieces, accessories & lamps.
A carefully curated assortment of home accessories are available at one of the buidling's
newest additions, Silver Peacock.
Another great resource for anyone interested in learning more about design is the DDB’s Design Seminars. Held the second Tuesday of every month, The DDB Design Files sponsored by Architectural Digest, are complimentary lectures on a variety of design topics like luxury v. affordable furnishings, designer-client relationships and creative movements and trends in the luxury and high design markets. Many of the area’s top designers and industry experts present and after their presentations are available to speak one-on-one at a showroom reception.
There's much to covet on display at Jenny Pair.
While the DDB website does say the building is open to the trade only, you now know that is not the case. Anyone is welcome to walk in and browse as well as utilize any of the design professionals programs listed above. There is also a building directory available for purchase that lists all of the showrooms as well as has categories of each type of product and the showroom you can find them in. They are quite a wonderful resource.
If you would like to learn more and/or talk to someone about any of the programs above, please contact the DDB at 212.759.6894 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
An example of the inspired collaboration between Holland & Sherry and The New Traditionalists.
Be sure to see all of our coverage of the DDB Fall & Spring Markets, which are held every year and are open to the public as well. We have been part of the bloggers group covering all the happenings and product launches for the past two years and below are our posts featuring a variety of showrooms that caught our eye on our visits.
- Fall Market at D&D Building
- Decoration & Design Building Spring Market 2012
- DDB Spring Market 2012- Design: International
- DDB 2012 Fall Market Finds & Inspiration
- DDB Fall Market Keynote: ELLE Decor - What is luxury?