Grace Bonney

BARBARA VITERI


Why is it important to have diversity in interior design based on your experience? 

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From music to movies, from art to our 44th President, if we didn't embrace diversity, we would miss an opportunity to experience pure genius.  This falls true for the design industry too.  The failure to celebrate and promote (for a lack of better term) 'colorful" and talented interior designers would limit the same experience.  I can not express the value of what different cultures bring to designing our lifestyles.  Great interior design can transform us to live in wellness as much as to live in beauty.  Yes our industry can be very 'beige' but I take comfort in knowing the bright and bold vibrant designers out there that show off their pops of 'color'.  That level of genius simply can't be ignored. 

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What is one thing someone can do differently to create more diversity in their industry?

The best place to start is with yourself. When you recognize a void, I truly believe you can start a movement to make any change you feel passionate about. I've worked in the interior design industry for over 20 years. When I was given the opportunity to create my own talk show, I didn't hesitate to spotlight interior designers that were black, white, french or in a gay marriage. All this was shown on one episode of a five episode season! The point is, I wanted my platform to showcase amazing interior designers that would give informative yet an entertaining perspective on their world of interior design. That was my movement in creating the show, Designerlebrity Talk. Embracing diversity is what gave this show life. 

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Even now when I'm asked to produce and moderate speaking events, it is already known in the industry that ALL my panels will have a diverse group of wonderful people or I kindly decline the offer. I see the results from my actions, but the value is priceless when you see the collective movement from others. It's why I adore platforms like this one with inspirational series like  28 Black Tastemakers and interior design TV shows like Open House NYC. I suggest the first place to start in creating more diversity in the industry is to begin with you. Decide how you will implement a simple movement? 

 

How does Designerlebrity continue to make sure everyone has a place at the table?

I coined the phrase 'designerlebrity' to simplify the term celebrity-interior-designer. We have so many incredible designerlebrities that don't really get the same attention like the celebrities we are familiar with. So I created Designerlebrity.com that delivers a Hollywood Reporter style spotlight on celebrity interior designer news. There are a plethora of platforms that will feature a designer's work, but merely a few that will make the designer a headline. Interior designers from all backgrounds have stories to tell, and I am passionate to feature those stories. Basically I built the table where everyone can feel welcomed and enjoy their seat.

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The Sunday essay series asks experts in the design industry their perspective on diversity & inclusion