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The 2014 Design Leadership Summit started off with requisite cocktails and raconteur Fran Lebowitz in a conversation with Deborah Needleman – Editor-in-Chief of   ‘T’, the New York Times Style Magazine.  Lebowitz, as anticipated, was in full ‘Fran Lebowitz mode’ opining about the state of New York City “post–Bloomberg” and reminiscing, or rather bemoaning, the things about ‘old New York’ that have disappeared…


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Me and a couple of my New York pals – Tim Button and Clodagh


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Stacey Bewkes from the style blog Quintessence and me.


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Co-hosts Peter Sallick  – Waterworks, Kate Kelly Smith – Hearst Publications and John Edelman – Design Within Reach welcomed the attendees to the DLS and describing the next day’s event at the United Nations building.


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I started my day seeing the inimitable Jamie Drake in front of the United Nations.


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The overall theme and graphics for this year’s Design Leadership Summit


Here’s a brief recap of the first day of the Summit;


Images of America: Design Excellence Program at the State Department

Paul Goldberger had a conversation with two key players in the “Excellence Program” at the State Department; Lydia Muniz – Director, and Casey Jones – Deputy Director of the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO).

An ambitious goal was established for this program to use the opportunity of building embassies and other buildings overseas as positive and innovative symbols of American values, echoing the standards that prevailed after World War II when embassies were designed by Eero Saarinen, Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, and Edward Durell Stone.

11 different architecture firms were selected to design new embassies, consulates, and diplomatic buildings including SOMEnnead Architects; SHoP Architects; Steven Holl Architects; the Miller Hull Partnership; Moore Ruble Yudell Architects and Planners; Richärd+Bauer; and Studio Gang ArchitectsTod Williams Billie Tsien ArchitectsKieranTimberlake

The other firms selected to compete for rehabilitation and renovation projects are Architecture Research Office; Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners; CO Architects; Clive Wilkinson Architects; Goody Clancy; Krueck+Sexton Architects; and Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects.


Forum on International Design

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Michael Boodro – Editor-in-Chief of ELLE DECOR led a panel of interior designers working in many places around the globe. The panel participants all showed extraordinary work, as shared about the background of their design practices before engaging in conversation with Boodro and the others.  The group included;

Thomas Hamel – an American who moved to Australia to establish his business spoke about the opportunities and challenges of working on the most remote continent – including the challenges of sourcing products and getting them shipped to Australia.

Isay Winfield an architect from Brasil building beautiful modern work in a very diverse practice.

Soft-spoken Dorothee Bossier of the Parisian -based studio Gilles & Boissier showed elegant hotel, restaurant, and residential work she creates with her partner Patrick Gilles.

Sonali Rastogi from the Indian firm called Morphogenesis with a large and very diverse practice that includes urban planning, architecture, landscape and interior design.

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In a separate talk,  Artist / Architect and Environmental Activist Maya Lin chose to focus her talk on – her not-for-profit organisation. The What Is Missing mission and website are extraordinary with Lin’s prodding for urgent engagement in the rapidly disappearing plant and wildlife species both compelling and convincing.




Architecture and Image

Spencer BaileySURFACE  posed questions to the humble and soft-spoken Dutch photographer Iwan Baan . Baan is known for images that narrate the life and interactions that occur within architecture. He unexpectedly fell into the subject of architecture in 2005 when he proposed to Rem Koolhaas that he document a project by the architect’s firm OMA, China Central Television (CCTV) building and Herzog & de Meuron‘s completed National Olympic Stadium, both in Beijing.

Iwan has since collaborated with the world’s foremost architects, photographing institutional, public and private projects by Rem Koolhaas, Herzog & de Meuron, SANAA, Morphosis, Frank Gehry, Toyo Ito, Steven Holl, Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Zaha Hadid. His work is characterized by the portrayal of people in the architecture – the context, society and environment around architecture. He describes his approach as seeking to “create the voice” and tell the story of a building.



Tour of the UN

After a $ 2,000,000  renovation of the entire United Nations complex it was a joy to see some of the primary rooms where the leaders of nations join to seek solutions to problems around the globe.


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Photo: Robert Stilin


After the DLS Co-hosts gave an award to California-based architect Marc Appleton we were dispersed into smaller groups for dinner in numerous restaurants around the West Village. My group went to Claudette on lower  Fifth Avenue where we enjoyed a lovely dinner in a private dining room entered through the Kitchen.

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Sam Moradzadeh, Michael Boodro, Lulu Lytle, Thomas Jayne, Bob Truskowski, Andrew Fay, Linda Choong and many others.



On Wednesday I’ll be reporting back on what I experiences on day 2 of the Summit which took place in Industry City, Brooklyn.

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Photographs from the DLS 2014 Summit – courtesy Editor-at-Large