Contemporary Edge

The West Coast’s premier design fair is coming to the Westside with the best in modern design

Written by Jenn Thornton | Photography Courtesy of WestEdge Design Fair

Now in its fifth year, the WestEdge Design Fair in Santa Monica is, much like the design scene in Los Angeles itself, expansive and exciting—a bastion of what’s new and what’s next. For the Oct. 19-22 design extravaganza, this means more than 150 exhibitors, visited by throngs of design enthusiasts, during a weekend of inspired events.


One predicts a sweeping scene—particularly as WestEdge co-founders, Megan Reilly and Troy Hanson, have commandeered the vast Barker Hangar to hold the event, which will require all 35,000 square feet of the venue to accommodate its ongoing swell in event participation (some 95 percent, in exhibitors, and more than 100 percent, in turnout, since its inception). Though an atypical setting for a “tradeshow,” no ordinary convention center will do for a design fair that is anything but. As Reilly and Hanson see it, the combination of sunny California weather and historic shelter “blends together a perfect casual, cool vibe with great design and creative people who do amazing work”—designers, influencers and makers staging their wares and sharing their insight.

While some WestEdge happenings are returning for another run, including the Opening Night Party benefitting Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House, where attendees of the Oct. 19 bash can preview and shop one-of-a-kind pieces of artist-created luggage at the Samsonite-sponsored Street Art Auction, there also will be the DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS and the Thrive Tribe Foundation auction featuring bespoke wine buckets by two dozen artists and designers.

Also fresh for WestEdge this year is DIEM: TALKS DESIGN. Presented in partnership with Architectural Digest, LALA, and the West Hollywood Design District, the daylong symposium featuring KCRW’s Frances Anderton and writer and designer Mallery Roberts Morgan will explore the theme “EVERYTHING IS DISRUPTED” to foster conversation about the shifts in our social and physical landscape. New too is the Milk Stand, a Design Milk pop-up with modern design merch, from home décor to architectural-inspired jewelry. The buzzy design blog host is also presenting one of WestEdge’s featured areas, MADE:MODERN, which will highlight the work of independent designers while fostering a coveted meet-and-greet between makers and attendees, allowing the former to share the stories behind their products that one can also purchase.

Design lovers will find no shortage of spaces for socializing, including the Indoor Lounge, sponsored by Foscarini, Bolon and the Botanicals Wallpaper Collection by Resource Furniture; Outdoor Lounge backed by Juniper House in collaboration with the Venus Williams’ helmed V Starr Interiors and offering cocktails, gaming tables and outdoor grilling; and the Culinary Pavilion, serving up culinary demos and tastings.

“Southern California, and L.A. in particular, has such an unexpected and extraordinary amount of design talent right now,” say Reilly and Hanson. “There is no doubt that L.A. is now a major focus of attention within these categories for the trade, press and design-savvy consumers, and we’re extremely fortunate to drive the conversation forward through all that WestEdge offers.”

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