The conversation continues with the launch of Design Week Ja 2023
Design Week Ja 2023 was launched in fine style Sunday, at 4 Holborn Road, home of, concept store Locale.
Now in its sixth year, the event’s conceptualiser Novia McDonald-Whyte was effusive in her praise of sponsors and industry players who have, with the Jamaica Observer as its platform kept the design conversation top-of-mind over the years and who have in no small way elevated the narrative around the modern Jamaican aesthetic.
One such partner, National Housing Trust (NHT), represented by Dwayne Berbick, assistant general manager, corporate communications and public affairs in his remarks, highlighted an iconic scene from the film The Devil Wears Prada, where Meryl Streep’s character delivers a stinging monologue that speaks to the importance and extensive background (economic and otherwise) of the “stuff” that might be overlooked in everyday life. This struck an evident chord with guests at the launch, many of whom were designers, suppliers and industry influencers. To elevate the narrative, it is clear we must see more than just “stuff””.
Berbick also painted an optimistic outlook for the ongoing development of residential and commercial real estate and also the interior design landscape. He also highlighted the improvements the institution has made in a bid to stimulate healthy growth.
“The NHT is pleased to power Design Week 2023, which is a great platform to remind our contributors of the improvements we have made to our financing options by increasing loan limits, maintaining low interest rates and partnering with commercial banks and credit unions to access their NHT benefits wherever they save on the same terms had they come directly to the NHT,” he explained.
Simone Hull, marketing manager, Caribbean Central & North, Scotiabank, sees Design Week as the perfect fit for the financial institution. “We live by design… in our homes, at work and through our personal brands. Design motivates, energises and invigorates. Few things afford more joy in this world than beautiful and functional spaces. Scotiabank is excited to support the Jamaica Observer in this sixth iteration of Design Week,” she said.
“Our credit cards give our existing customers and potential ones a great opportunity to snag those amazing deals offered by partner merchants. Plus, our credit card Aero, with its travel rewards and opportunity to go anytime on any airline; Mastercard Gold for cashback for essentials like gas and groceries; and our newest diva on the block, Amex Platinum… in a class all by itself: travel rewards, lounges, dining, hotel stays, will give you fantastic rewards while you shop,” she stated to the delight of loyal customers whilst piquing the interest of others.
Sponsors aside, guests like Joelle Smith, interior designer/managing director at If Walls Could Talk Jamaica, were also eager to applaud such an initiative. “Since its inauguration, Design Week has been an annual staple for me. It’s a forum to exchange ideas, see what’s available in the industry and interact with suppliers and other industry stakeholders. It’s the collaborative effort of all stakeholders that will continue to advance the design industry going forward.
Six years ago, we wouldn’t have dreamed of some of the materials and spaces we now have on the market, but Novia and the Jamaica Observer, through Design Week, have shone a spotlight on the industry in a way that we could not have done individually,” Smith said.
One such innovation came from Woodcats International, which brands itself as the largest wood pallet and crate manufacturing company in the English-speaking Caribbean. Woodcats General Manager Peter Douglas introduced the company’s ‘Waste to Revenue’ programme, which aims to convert 100 per cent of its product waste to revenues. This includes the repurposing of things like sawdust, for which, Douglas revealed, the company has found a reliable market. Douglas also explained that other undesirables, such as scrap lumber, which might have usually been sent to a landfill, will now be converted to garden mulch.”
Douglas also announced the company’s plan to introduce a line of outdoor furniture made from repurposed materials.
Formalities over, guests used the opportunity to network, peruse the exquisitely curated space of Locale, courtesy of co-principals Kerry-Ann Clarke and Aiesha Panton; enjoy the menu offerings courtesy of CPJ complete with crafted cocktails, whilst the musical styling of DJ Mario of FYAH 105 and DJ Lizzer of The Edge FM kept the mood mellow.
#DesignWeekJa2023 continues today at Oppein Jamaica and Spaces.