Showcasing the Brightest in Utah Furniture and Interior Design: The 2022 Utah Design Exhibit
Every year, Utah’s design community rallies around Salt Lake Design Week, a collection of events and exhibitions and centered around showcasing and celebrating the talented artists in our state working under the broad umbrella of “design.” One longstanding annual event is the Utah Design Exhibit, a collection of works focusing on Utah-based interior and furniture design artists. Read an interview with Utah Design Exhibit Director Chris Proctor about this year’s event (taking place at Clubhouse SLC on Oct. 21 from 12 to 10 p.m.), the exhibit’s future and more. Find more information at UtahDesignExhibit.com.
SLUG: Can you please talk about the history of the Utah Design Exhibit? How did it come to be associated with Salt Lake Design Week? How has the project grown/changed since its early days?
Chris Proctor: When beginning my own career as a furniture builder, I realized Utah has a wealth of talent in the furniture design industry yet no physical location for these designers to show their work. I started the Utah Design Exhibit in 2017 as an annual gala event for local furniture designers to show their most recent work to the public and design industry professionals in a nice setting accompanied by music and drinks. In 2019, we saw designers from California, Colorado and Ohio travel to Utah to be included in the exhibit. The exhibit has since grown in scope to include all interior design-related designers and artists such as ceramicists and textile artists. The Utah Design Exhibit has been associated with Salt Lake Design Week since its inception in 2017. The opportunity to be included among the design week events is exciting and very helpful for the exhibit itself.
SLUG: What does the Utah Design Exhibit look like for 2022?
CP: This year’s exhibit will feature roughly 30 furniture designers, ceramicists, textile artists, 3D artists and more. We will also be holding a desk lamp design competition called “I Love Lamp” in which designers will present their designs to a panel of judges made up of local product design specialists. There will be a cash prize for first place and runner up of $500 and $250, respectively.
SLUG: In your description of the event, you discuss wanting to showcase the breadth of talent in Utah surrounding interior design. Can you please talk more about where you see these areas excelling and how the Utah Design Exhibit plays into the support and promotion of these artists?
CP: All around Utah are talented furniture designers making some of the best high-end furniture pieces money can buy. These pieces are nicer and last longer than anything you could ever buy in a store. The artistry in design and execution accomplished by these designers goes largely unseen by the public eye, as these designers cater to a relatively small margin of clients they’ve built up by word of mouth over years of work. Some well-connected interior designers commission work from these artists, but for the most part, people end up furnishing their homes with lesser-quality goods meant to be discarded after several years.
SLUG: What do you hope for regarding the future of the Utah Design Exhibit? How do you hope to see the event change/evolve in the coming years?
CP: In the future, I hope the Utah Design Exhibit will grow to be able to show closer to 100 designers and be a week-long event rather than a single-night gala. Eventually, there will be a permanent showroom available for local designers to show their work year round. I also want the Utah Design Exhibit to be more involved in helping the education of new furniture designers and artists and to continue to further the art of furniture design.
Read more about local exhibits:
Art as Wellness: UMOCA’s See Me Exhibit
Juried Design: Rio Gallery’s Annual Design Arts Exhibit