Dwell on Design 2013

After a weekend full of exhibition booths, parties and presentations from the 2013 Dwell on Design event at the Los Angeles Convention Center, it's clear that we're entering a golden era for design. Recent advances in consumer technology, couple with materials and production innovation of the last century, have transformed design from a consumptive to an active process. In fact, anyone who has ever opened a computer and manipulated a font has engaged in an act of design. And in that respect, as people look increasingly to solve more problems than they make through innovative and creative thinking, there's one thing that's clear: design matters.

With that in mind, here are a few takeaways from the 2013 Dwell on Design event:

1. Design is Democratic

2013 Dwell on Design

During his Friday presentation of product design, Donald Strum, principal of product design for Michael Graves Design Group, said it best: "Design is democratic." He went on to illustrate that principles of good design--functionality, sustainability, durability, beauty--are being applied at the retail level across the country. Exhibitors and presenters throughout the event seemed to embody these fundamental principles.

2. Design is Interactive 

Homeless Shelter Kits

Artist Tanya Aguiniga, in conjunction with the United Way, PATH and Dwell, offered show-goers the chance to help assemble homeless shelter move-in kits (containing tables, chairs, textiles and art) on the spot (pictured above). Meanwhile, the fair's first-ever Pinterest showcase featured ten winning mood board creations. We're at an unprecedented moment in history in which more people than ever have both the tools and the time to create.

3. Design is Colorful

Colorful Chairs and Murals

Bold color is the name of the game. A live mural painting project and handfuls of colored chairs seemingly everywhere were among the many dramatic pops of color throughout the event.

4. Design is Reclaimed

Living Home Showhouse 2013

From the reclaimed wood siding on the Living Home showhouse to the recycled plastic modern chairs from Emeco, design has clearly moved from "sustainable" as an abstraction to sustainable as action. At Dwell on Design, there was a stronger focus than ever on how design could have a net zero impact on resources, from waste to energy consumption. 

What's most exciting about the 2013 Dwell on Design event is that this overarching concept of design morality--using design to increase social well being while reducing environmental impact--is clearly being embraced across the board by the design community.

Lastly, on our way out, we caught up with Koncept Lighting to get a sneak peek of their next innovation in LED lighting, a yet-to-be-named wood and metal task light that's beautifully elegant in and should be available in late 2013. We snapped a few photos, but we're keeping those to ourselves until they hit the store shelves.

Images: Euro Style Lighting, Los Angeles Times