Summer marks one of the most exciting times for the interior design industry! Trade shows across the country celebrate the built industry with the latest products, trends and education for anyone who has made design their career. With thousands of attendees at each conference, it can be overwhelming to identify where you belong and what events are best for your concentration or career stage. Although there has been an increase in student programming at national shows, there is too often a gap in providing support for the next step after graduation from design school: the emerging professional (EP).
ASID has been in front of the EP movement for several years now, providing progressive programming specific to connecting these rising designers with their industry. One of the most successful models for EP programming, which has built nationwide equity, is GO PRO: Empowering Emerging Professionals. Built with five pillars discussing PROfessional Advancement, PROduct, PROcess, PRO Bono and Project, this program has been held over two days in New York in Fall 2011 and 2012, selling out both times.
At the same time, the team behind Dwell on Design wanted to create an event within their tradeshow that welcomed all who were connected to design — including the emerging professionals, who were too often marketed to as students even though they had graduated and actually do have purchasing power and brand loyalty. From these similar paths, GO PRO/LA — the inaugural west coast event for EPs — was formed!
Held in conjunction with Dwell on Design, June 21 – 22, GO PRO/LA will provide an intimate opportunity for 100 attendees to connect with each other, ASID leaders and high-level speakers. Our host city, Los Angeles, has been incorporated in the program and will be prevalent in each aspect of the experience.
Attendees will participate in a private tour of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) by the museum’s VP of Education (who, coincidentally, is the twin sister of one of GO PRO’s founders); a discussion around understanding the trends of the “new affluents” by Dwell president, Michela Abrams O’Connor; and an interactive panel around the importance of visual research for rising designers. One session that promises to leave a lasting impression on the attendees is the PRO BONO session. “How Design Is Reinventing Los Angeles” will feature the Hollywood Community Housing Corporation’s Step Up on Vine project, which is a Clinton Global Initiative recipient. Identifying the critical importance of design to the human experience is no stranger to those in the industry, but answering to a community of people who may not be able to survive without assistance for everyday tasks may not always be in the forefront of a designer’s mind. After rehabilitating the Galaxy Inn (built in the 1920s) and creating 34 LEED-certified permanent supportive housing units, this project has received worldwide recognition for its work in assisting individuals who have suffered from mental illness and have called the streets home for much of their lives.
Each of the five sessions for GO PRO/LA have been custom-designed by a devoted team of ASID and Dwell staff, designers from all over the country and design industry leaders to make this a unique and exciting experience for emerging professionals. For a group that really didn’t have a home in the national tradeshow spotlight up until now, the EPs who attend are sure to leave the LA Convention Center with knowledge and inspiration well beyond their years in the industry, and almost certain to shape the years yet to come.