Saturday, April 17

Design Leadership Summit 2010

I am still on a high from the last few days in Venice. If the city alone were not intoxicating enough, I had the wonderful privilege of spending time with 200 of the top US architects and designers. The Design Leadership Summit is an invitation-only event hosted each year by Peter Sallick, Keith Granet and Meg Touborg. First held in 2003, it brings together a community of design leaders for the purpose of learning, support and inspiration.

It goes without saying that being a speaker on a panel with Michael Bruno, Jill Cohen, Stephen Drucker and Giulio Capua was amazing. But to hear Nicky Haslam, Axel Vervoordt and Matteo Marzotto speak was simply astounding. Combine the fantastic speakers with a dinner at the historic Palazzo Corner Spinelli that houses the beautiful Rubelli Collection, a cocktail reception at the The Peggy Guggenheim Collection hosted by Director Philip Rylands, a cocktail reception at the breathtaking Fortuny Gardens and a dinner at the Fortuny Museum hosted by The Riad Family and it would not be an understatement to say that it was beyond my wildest dreams.

The panel sessions and talks were inspiring and very informative—ranging from How to Develop Social Media Strategies for your Business to Insights and Outlook for Affluent Consumer Purchase Behavior. I am working to get the notes on some of these to share with all of you.

A huge thank you to Peter Sallick, Meg Touborg and Dana-Christine Colla of Design Investors and Keith Granet of Granet and Associates for inviting me to the Design Leadership Summit in Venice. You all are the best. I have posted more photos on

A special thank you to the Venetian fabric house Rubelli for hosting our Sunday night dinner at their beautiful palazzo.

The lovely Amy Lau, Paul Hooker; President of SFERRA and Aaron Stewart; Creative Director for SFERRA

One of the highlights of the trip was meeting so many interesting and talented people. One of my favorites was Malcolm James Kutner - my new best friend and design crush.

For me, the most magical moment was the cocktail reception at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. The collection is housed in the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, an unfinished 18th century palazzo which was never built past the ground floor level. The courtyards between the main buildings act as sculpture gardens.

The 1948 bronze "The Angel of the City" by Marino Marini is positioned at the front of the palazzo, facing the Grand Canal. It is rumoured that this nude originally possessed a screw-in, erect penis so that it could be removed in order to avoid offending VIPs. This may very well be an urban myth, and I would love to hear from any of you who know more about Marino Marini’s work.

Fortuny hosted a cocktail party in their gardens before dinner at the Fortuny Museum. The weather was absolutely perfect!

The attire for the evening was cocktail chic and for the men scarves were all the rage. Don't they all look sharp!

The newly renovated Fortuny headquarters. The interiors were recently designed by Barry Dixon in collaboration with the Riad Brothers Mickey and Maury.

One of my favorite people in the world, the brilliant Brad Ford.

Two super talents Brooke Giannetti and Darryl Carter

Heading to the Fortuny Museum to hear Axel Vervoordt speak, followed by a private dinner. It felt a bit like being on a pilgrimage. A bittersweet end to a perfect few days.


TSL said...

It is just too wonderful. If you did nothing else for the rest of your life you could bask in these memories and be totally euphoric!

La Petite Gallery said...

Didn't you just hate to leave that
Fantastic city. Hope you sat outside in Saint Marks and listened to the music.
I am so happy you had such a fabulous trip. Do you have blue bonnets in England? LOL


ALL THE BEST said...

Tina that is sooo true. It was a time like no other. I will always relish the memories.

ALL THE BEST said...

Yvonne it is a magical city. I love Saint Marks. I cannot wait to go back with my husband a son!! No bluebonnets (sigh).

qerat said...

seems like you had a brilliant time over there, of course being in Venice helps too.
Would love to hear more about the topics that were discussed.

ALL THE BEST said...

I am working to get the notes or at least put my own together. It was such great information, and I would love to share it with all of you.

Anne said...

Thank you for the introduction to Malcolm James Kutner. Design crush is right. It doesn't hurt that he is gorgeous too.

Glad you had a great time Ronda.

ALL THE BEST said...

Gorgeous, yes. Talented, absolutely. A wonderful person, without a doubt.

Sally@DivineDistractions said...

Certainly a trip of a lifetime, but the education that you received will enrich us all. I can't wait to check out all the links in the post for more inspiration. I loved your post on the Fortuny showroom...what a trip!

Jane Kilpatrick Schott said...

I am green with envy...

Malcolm James Kutner said...

I am so flattered by this. Thank you!! But let me say that I got NOTHING on Ronda's wit, insight, and vision. The pleasure was really all mine, Ronda.

Unknown said...

I cannot wait to see your notes!

Unknown said...

Lucky us--taking us along. Look forward to your other posts.

Gwen Driscoll said...


So glad you were in attendance. I know so many learned a wealth of knowledge from you. Looking forward to hearing more.

Hope you are well.


ALL THE BEST said...

Malcolm you are too kind!!

ALL THE BEST said...

Shannon and Barbara I will work on the notes asap!

ALL THE BEST said...

Gwen you are most kind!

Alison said...

I agree with Anne. Malcolm James Kutner is gorgeous. Wow! And, it helps that he is talented too.

ALL THE BEST said...

Anne and Alison - If you met him in person you would love him even more.


What a beautiful trip in the most fabulous of cities--everyone and everything looked so chic (love the men in their cashmere scarves!) Can't wait to hear all the details. Welcome home! Best, Barbara

Velvet and Linen said...

I couldn't agree more Ronda. What an incredible experience. I feel so fortunate to have been in attendance. It was such a treat to get to know you better!
It is going to take me a while to absorb all of the information and inspiration from the event. I look forward to reading your thoughts on the different topics of discussion.
Rumor has it that you are coming to Los Angeles in May. Hope to see you then!


vicki archer said...

It sounds like the most amazing time Ronda...glad you are home safe and sound, xv.

Karena said...

You are indeed with the best of the best and what a fabulous trip Ronda. So glad you went!!

I have a new post and interview up I think you will enjoy!

Art by Karena

Laura Kaufman said...

My dear friend Malcolm sent me to this post to answer the Marini question. When I was an intern at the Peggy Guggenheim in 1993 we, too, learned that there was an adaptation to the sculpture. The member was indeed offensive to some, and so ta-da!, screw-in phallus was invented.

Malcolm is positively aglow from the Summit and Venice. Sounds like you found inspiration there as well.

Cheers, Laura

ALL THE BEST said...

Laura thank you so much!! It was amazing! So much inspiration indeed. And how great to meet Malcolm. Again many thanks.
All the best,

Lynette Paulsen said...

When I clicked on this I expected a little blurb, not an entire magazine full of beautiful photographs! It definitely merits a more thoughtful review - not a mere perusal. Thanks for sharing Frank! You know I love your style!