Catching up with WestEdge co-founder Megan Reilly & the design fair’s much-anticipated return to Santa Monica.
Snyder Diamond is providing complimentary passes to the WestEdge Design Fair.
Get your free tickets here >
By Renée Soucy
Inspiration, the saying goes, is something that takes flight. It doesn’t dive, slide, or roll: it soars. It flies. With this in mind, we can’t imagine a more fitting venue for the return of the WestEdge Design Fair: Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar. Inside and outside the hangar’s 35,000 square feet, design lovers and professionals alike will find acres of inspiration and the opportunity to discover and source from over 175 renowned and up-and-coming brands spanning furniture, lighting, art, kitchen, and bath.
Meet WestEdge Co-Founder Megan Reilly
We caught up via Zoom with WestEdge co-founder Megan Reilly to learn more about her vision for the fair, how it all started, what it means to produce a California-centric design show, and what visitors can expect in November 2023 when the fair returns to its signature, larger-than-life venue.
In the beginning, Megan was living in New York and co-producing (with one of WestEdge’s ‘two Troys’ Troy Hanson) the 2012 edition of The Architectural Digest Home Design Show. From the show’s floor on the Manhattan waterfront at Pier 94, an unexpected trend emerged. “Many of our clients were asking: ‘When are you going to do something like this on the West Coast? We're doing a lot of business in Southern California both residential and commercial… we'd like to get a little bit more entrenched in the California market and the L.A. design communities.’ So we decided to launch WestEdge on our own. We had actually pitched it to our parent company (to expand with another show on the West Coast). They were not in an expansion mode. They were kind of doing just the opposite, so it was a good time for us to leave and become entrepreneurs. We did that at the end of 2012 and launched the first edition of WestEdge in fall of 2013 and before we’d even put up our website and our logo and all that stuff, we already had a dozen New York-based companies who had said, ‘We’ll do this. If you do it, we'll do it. We're already on board.’ So when you have that kind of interest, it's clear that you're filling a gap in the market. It was all that much easier to kind of make the leap.”
That leap meant joining forces with the other Troy (veteran event producer Troy Durst) to start laying the groundwork. Megan relocated from New York to Southern California and started building relationships with the local design industry. “Russ Diamond was one of the first meetings we scheduled when we visited Los Angeles back in 2012 and began plotting/planning the launch of WestEdge. His insight and relationships within the design community helped us to understand the West Coast landscape better back then, and have continued to be a great resource as the event has grown. His support of our efforts and advocacy for not only WestEdge, but the design community in general, has been invaluable. Snyder Diamond is all about the designer relationships and one of the best at developing and fostering such connections. We are grateful to have Snyder Diamond’s partnership.”
“His [Russ Diamond] support of our efforts and advocacy for not only WestEdge, but the design community in general, has been invaluable.”
From 2013-2019 the show kept growing and growing, becoming the premier destination for Southern Californian design professionals and enthusiasts until the pandemic. Fast forward to 2023 and the design community is ready to gather, share, and celebrate once more. In addition to a multitude of exhibits, a full series of educational programs helmed by leading names in the design and lifestyle industries will bring culinary and mixology demonstrations, panel discussions, and other activities to the three-day event.
The festivities kick off with an Opening Night Party on November 16th, 2023 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. benefiting the Hollywood Food Coalition. Guests will have the opportunity to explore and mingle ahead of the weekend crowds with elevated food and cocktails, entertainment, a one-of-a-kind charitable auction and early access to shop hundreds of design products.
WESTEDGE DESIGN FAIR 2023 HIGHLIGHTS
- MADE:MODERN, a curated section of the fair showcasing independent designers, makers and artists with one-of-a-kind furniture, lighting and accent offerings with exhibitors including Art’s Tree House, Buzzell Studios, CarbonShack, Ever Atelier, Thomas Cooper Studio, whyrHymer and dozens more.
- WestEdge XTERIORS offers an outdoor portion of the fair and showcases the latest in outdoor design from outdoor furnishings and kitchens/grills, to outdoor saunas and more.
- WestEdge Theater presented by Banana Republic Home offers attendees two days of panel talks, industry forums, and engaging conversations, produced in partnership with Convo by Design. The stage is designed in partnership with BR Home and Marbé Designs.
- The IIDA/WestEdge Design Fair Booth Awards where the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) is teaming up with WestEdge to launch two new design competitions.
- We’re a proud sponsor of the VIP Lounge where renowned Los Angeles-based interior designer Julia Wong brings her sophisticated style to this hospitality hub at WestEdge. Guests are invited to check-in to enjoy an elevated experience while discovering the latest designs from Kallista, Monogram, and Robina Benson Design House, among other collaborators.
- GRAFF (booth #113) will be welcoming visitors to explore the new Futurismo and Segovia Kitchen Collections, a sneak peek of the upcoming Cameo Collection, and a first look at their interactive tools designed to create custom MOD+ finish combinations. Don’t miss their special signature cocktail on Friday 11/17 from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m., and the book signing event of award-winning designer Ryan Saghian's best-selling hardcover, Apologetically Chic! on Saturday 11/18 from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
- Offering the world’s very first luxury walk-in cold pantry for the home, swing by the QOLDFUSION booth (#130) to learn what all the buzz is about.
Like previous shows, a veritable who’s who of the local design community will be at the 2023 edition of the WestEdge Design Fair. However this year Megan expects another type of attendee will also be exploring the acres of inspiration on display. “We recognize that the homeowner is becoming more and more involved in the process of design and more educated about what they want. They want to know the story behind the products and what they're sourcing, what the materials are, how it impacts the environment and about the artists behind the products. So we are open to the consumer. Anyone interested in design can buy a ticket. Even if you're not in the market for a brand-new kitchen renovation, or you don't own four homes around the world, we'd like to think that there's still something that you can walk away with: an idea, an inspiration, something that you might be able to take home with you.”
Design lovers, prepare for takeoff.
REGISTER FOR YOUR COMPLIMENTARY TICKETS
Register below before November 10th to receive your complimentary pass*. Free tickets are also available at our three showrooms.
WESTEDGE DESIGN FAIR 2023
WHEN: November 16-18, 2023
WHERE: The Barker Hangar, 3021 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90405
We can’t wait to see you there.
*Doesn’t include access to the 11/16 opening night party.