Design Chicago Welcomed 2,000 Attendees to the Merchandise Mart Including Designers, Industry Icons & More

CHICAGO, IL (October 23, 2015) – The Design Center at the Merchandise MartTM and LuxeHome® hosted Design Chicago, the Midwest’s largest residential design conference and inspirational trade fair, on October 6 and 7, 2015 in its over 100 showrooms spanning over 550,000 square feet of space at the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago drawing more than 2,000 attendees from across the Midwest. Design Chicago featured a variety of educational and innovative programming including:

  • More than 35 educational presentations and CEU seminars
  • More than three dozen showroom open houses
  • A bevy of new products debuting from more than 65 showrooms throughout the Merchandise Mart’s 1st, 6th and 14th floors
  • Two major industry evening events

“We’re thrilled with the overwhelming response from our Design Center and LuxeHome showrooms, presenters and attendees at this year’s expanded Design Chicago conference,” said Katherine Flaherty, Vice President, Vornado I Merchandise Mart. “The high caliber of CEU’s, presenters and industry leaders really raised the bar and drew top trade professionals looking for the latest products and insider knowledge.”

The conference drew notable members of the design industry including kitchen and design icons, Christopher Peacock, Mick De Giulio, Holly Hunt, Gary Lee and Phillip Jeffries, design experts and TV personalities, Robert and Cortney Novogratz, interior and furniture designer, Alexa Hampton, and the creative genius behind the world famous Wynn hotels in Las Vegas and Macau, Roger Thomas, among others. CEU’s and presentations were jam packed and buzzing with energy throughout the two days of Design Chicago.


Home Furnishings Highlights:

  • A live and virtual panel discussion led by Krista Nye Schwartz and Tami Ramsay of CLOTH & KIND, with Amy Mills of Paper Mills and several other notable textile and wallpaper designers in BRADLEY
  • Presentation by Bunny Williams, founder and creator of Bunny Williams Home, on her new collection for Lee Jofa
  • CEU-accredited seminar by Lori Weitzner on the artist’s never-ending quest for new sources of inspiration hosted in Donghia
  • A visual tour by Trim Queen, Jana Plantina Phipps & Robert Allen on the evolution of passamenterie to trimmings


Building Products Highlights

  • A lively discussion between Pamela Jaccarino, Editor-in-Chief of Luxe Interiors + Design and celebrated interior designer, Anthony Baratta
  • A presentation by The Shade Store co-founder and creative director, Ian Gibbs and Cortney Novogratz on the brand’s latest designer collaborations
  • A talk by Christopher Peacock on the benefits and challenges of participating in prestigious showhouses,
  • A book signing by interior designer Barbara Westbrook in Paris Ceramics
  • CEU seminar on tile installation featuring Romana Pejic, Porcelanosa USA Architecture and Design Product Specialist and Steve Lindgren, Porcelanosa USA Architecture and Design Product Specialist
  • A presentation by Franck Nataf, Owner of Exquisite Surfaces alongside Hugo Matheson, CoFounder, The Kitchen, Michael Wollaeger, Noted Design Editor & Publisher, and Stephanie Smith, Author, 300 Sandwiches and Editor of Yahoo Food on the parallels between interior design and the food industry
  • A discussion on the history of Art Deco featuring designers and architects from the Chicago Art Deco Society in the ROHL showroom.


In addition, the Chicago VIP Luxury Gala completely sold out and welcomed the who’s who in the design industry to celebrate the inaugural inductees into the Merchandise Mart Hall of Fame. 2015 Inductees included:

  • Holly Hunt, CEO, HOLLY HUNT – Lifetime Achievement
  • Margaret McCurry, Principal, Tigerman McCurry Architects – Architect
  • Tom Stringer, Tom Stringer Design Partners – Interior Designer
  • Rodger Owen, President, BGD&C – Custom Home Builder

The two day conference culminated with the Ones to Watch reception, which celebrated three rising stars in the design industry, Brynn Olson, Jillian Richey, and Stephen Young.

“Design Chicago has become the must attend residential design conference in the Midwest and brings together the best of the best in the industry for education and inspiration,” added Julia Chappell, Managing Director of Marketing, Vornado I Merchandise Mart. “We look forward to growing Design Chicago and attracting attendees from the east and west coasts.” For more information about Design Chicago, please visit


About LuxeHome
LuxeHome is the world’s largest collection of premier boutiques for home building and renovation located on the first floor of the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. With more than 125,000 square feet of showroom space featured in over 35 boutiques, LuxeHome is host to the finest products for home building and renovation from the most recognized and respected manufacturers worldwide.

LuxeHome offers discerning homeowners and trade professionals one-stop shopping convenience with access to the finest kitchen, bath, tile, lighting, cabinetry, appliances, countertops and much more. LuxeHome displays the widest selection of products to suit all upscale design styles, from modern European to classic American to traditional English. In addition to the extensive lineup of premier brands, each boutique offers knowledgeable designers who are available to assist with all phases of each design project. LuxeHome’s boutiques are open for shopping Monday through Saturday. For more information, visit Follow LuxeHome on Facebook, Houzz, Instagram and Twitter.

Vornado Realty Trust, owner of the Merchandise Mart, based in New York City, is a fully integrated equity real estate investment trust. Vornado’s common shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange and are traded under the symbol VNO.


About the Design Center™ at the Merchandise Mart
The Design Center at The Merchandise Mart, located in Chicago’s historic Merchandise Mart, is home to four floors constituting the world’s largest and finest design center. As a leader in the $65 billion residential home furnishings market, The Design Center offers the largest presentation of high-end, couture, home furnishings worldwide, all under one roof. Encompassing 650,000 square feet, boasting 115 showrooms and featuring more than 2,500 product lines, it is the design professional’s ultimate resource for luxury furniture, fabrics, floor coverings, wall coverings, lighting, antiques and much more. For more information visit,

Luxehome VendorDesign Chicago Welcomed 2,000 Attendees to the Merchandise Mart Including Designers, Industry Icons & More