Seattle Design Center opened its doors in 1973 to serve the region’s growing interest in and appreciation for quality design. Nearly 45 years later, SDC is ground zero for the Pacific Northwest design community. With twenty to-the-trade showrooms showcasing more than 500 manufacturers and a broad range of aesthetic styles, it’s become an inspiring and indispensable resource for local designers. SDC director of operations Brenda Arianpour discusses the 156,000-square-foot marketplace’s evolution, its popular events, and what’s next for the Northwest’s biggest design center.
Seattle Design Center has carved out a reputation as not just a retail destination, but a hub for the PNW design community. Tell us more.
Seattle Design Center’s mission is to be the nucleus of design in the Pacific Northwest—a place where designers and visitors go to cultivate new ideas and draw inspiration. Designers have access to all the trade events we host—32 in the past year alone—to learn about the latest trends, collections, and best business practices from industry thought leaders such as Leatrice Eiseman, Jack Lenor Larsen, and Barclay Butera. SDC is not just a place to shop, but also a space for growth and education.
Why should interior designers choose SDC?
SDC is ideal for those who are passionate about quality—those who care not just about the façade of the piece, but intricate details like how it was crafted and where it was produced. We have fabrics, furniture, and accessories that you cannot find in a retail store, and it’s all at your fingertips. No need to rely on website images or guesswork—the SDC is a place to see and feel the latest furniture, fabrics, accessories, rugs, cabinetry, windows, and kitchens.
Tell us about SDC’s 2016 renovation.
When Greenbridge Investment Partners purchased SDC in 2014, they embarked on a $8 million transformation to make the building more elegant and modern, from creating a brand-new exterior, entrance, and lobby to adding Italian ceramic floors, a floating staircase, and a glazed glass elevator. The goal was to revitalize the space and bring it to the level of luxury contained in its showrooms. We also made a renewed effort to re-engage the community through design events and forums held in our renovated event space, many of them open to the public.
What’s next for SDC?
We’re welcoming two new showrooms this year—the German Kitchen Center, which opened in February, and Sierra Pacific Windows, opening later this spring. Our events calendar is filling rapidly with Trade Talks (Terri Taylor, Creative Director at the Interior Design Business Academy, will speak May 3), CEUs, our Sample Sale, first annual Market Day, a Student Career Day (October 26), and more.
SDC also continues to support interior designers by educating the public about the value of their work. Earlier this year, we helped launch Decorative Furnishing Association’s “Do it For” campaign, which promotes working with expert interior designers and connects homeowners to the industry. We firmly believe that working with an interior designer is the best way to ensure that your vision for your space is brought to life.