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Architectural Digest shines spotlight on Black interior designers in digital showhouse

September 10, 2020

AD is launching The Iconic Home in November. Image courtesy of Architectural Digest


Condé Nast shelter publication Architectural Digest is producing a digital designer showhouse exclusively featuring Black interior designers, encapsulating a year that has seen brands embrace online platforms and commit to diversity like never before.

Launching in November 2020, The Iconic Home showhouse is the result of a partnership between AD and the Black Interior Designers Network (BIDN). It is the latest initiative from the publication as it looks to better promote and drive conversations that foster diversity in design and architecture.

AD’s partnership with the Black Interior Designers Network is a proud moment in the brand’s 100 year history and The Iconic Home will truly bring the best of design to life in new and innovative ways,” said Amy Astley, editor in chief at Architectural Digest, in a statement. “Aligning with BIDN on this virtual showhouse and amplifying the incredible work the organization does to advocate for Black designers is a necessary enterprise and one we hope to continue for many years to come.”

Iconic Home
The Iconic Home will spotlight more than 10 Black design professionals from the United States, marking a milestone in the home design industry.

The virtual design space features more than 15 rooms, including home offices and wellness rooms that have grown in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns. Samantha Josaphat, founder of the design firm Studio 397 Architecture, is spearheading the design plans.

Brooklyn-based Samantha Josaphat is designing the showhouse plans. Image credit: Jarrod Anderson/ Studio 397 Architecture

This will be the first time a national shelter publication will launch an all-Black designer showhouse to this extent. AD will announce the participating Black designers in October, and include industry heavyweights as well as emerging talent.

The immersive experience will include 360°photorealistic renderings, which will integrate ecommerce-enabled products for shoppers. Gaggenau, Caesarstone and Crate and Barrel are among the showhouse sponsors.

This effort is one of several ways AD is elevating Black interior designers to a national audience, which has become more imperative after months of anti-racism protests and demonstrations in the U.S.

Instagram post from BIDN

AD Pro, the publication’s members-only platform, has published a guide to allyship for non-Black members of the design community. The platform also participated in the #ShareTheMic campaign, highlighting Black and other non-white design professionals.

In October, AD will partner with BIDN on the organization’s virtual masterclass, offering business advice and opportunities to participants. Katy Olson, editor at AD Pro, will teach a session on how interior designers can be pitch industry publications.

Elevating voices
In June, luxury brands took to social media to support Black Lives Matter demonstrations after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

Business analysts called on brands to take things one step forward and engage in these conversations about racism to make progress in social justice within their companies, because staying silent will not help. Experts also recommended brands support anti-racist actions and listen to ways they can improve their workplaces and customers' experiences to be more inclusive to people of color (see story).

Similar to AD, Scottish fashion label Christopher Kane gave a platform to Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students from the eponymous designer’s alma mater.

BAME students from the Fashion Journalism and Fashion Communication and Promotion program at Central Saint Martins have launched a monthly digital zine on Christopher Kane’s official Instagram account. Called Platform, the project amplifies the voices of those students who often face barriers to entry in the fashion industry (see story).