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Architectural Digest, BIDN unveil sustainability-themed 2021 Iconic Home

The terrace of The Iconic Home II. Landscape design by Sara Zewde, architecture by Elizabeth Graziolo. Photo courtesy of The Boundary


Condé Nast shelter publication Architectural Digest and the Black Interior Designers Network (BIDN) have revealed their second annual Iconic Home digital showhouse.

Launched on Sept. 27, the second all-Black designer virtual showhouse was centered around sustainable-first spaces, reflecting how environmental lifestyle changes begin at home. The immersive virtual experience, “figuratively” set in the Hudson Valley, was brought to life by creative visualization studio The Boundary.

“In keeping the showhouse virtual, we’re able to broaden the talent pool, tapping designers from across the country that might otherwise not have been able to participate,” said David Kaufman, global digital director at Architectural Digest.

“And of course, the most immediate benefit is that we’re still able to host this incredible event despite the ongoing pandemic.”

Sustainable showhouse
The 2021 Iconic Home was presented in partnership with home and personal care products brand Method. Other sponsors include fixtures maker Kohler, home furnishings retailer Arhaus and French Cognac brand Rémy Martin.

AD and BIDN confirmed the second installment of The Iconic Home in February 2021, with Elizabeth Graziolo, founder and principal of New York’s Yellow House Architects, as the showhouse’s architect (see story).


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Thirteen Black designers and architects participated in The Iconic Home

The architect envisioned The Iconic Home as the sanctuary for two fathers who recently moved to upstate New York with their young daughter.

Ms. Graziolo was joined by 12 other Black interior designers and architects. Each participant designed a different part of the virtual showhouse with an emphasis on sustainable design and furnishings.

“This year’s theme is sustainability, and in working with The Boundary, we were able to take the technology and imagery of the showhouse to the next level,” Mr. Kaufman said. “Elizabeth Graziolo had incredible ideas for the space and created a house that further highlights the immeasurable talents of the Black designers showcased within.”

Consumers can tour The Iconic Home at ArchDigest.com/IconicHome. In lieu of ticket sales, viewers are encouraged to donate to BIDN to support business development opportunities for Black designers.

This year’s rendering from The Boundary allows visitors to “walk” through the home, using a computer mouse or keyboard to navigate the showhouse. Users can also click on hotspots for more information or shoppable links for different items.

The great room of The Iconic Home II. Design by Danielle Colding, architecture by Elizabeth Graziolo. Photo courtesy of The Boundary

Additionally, AD will be hosting several events on Instagram Live throughout the week of Sept. 27, including a kickoff event hosted by Amy Astley, global editorial director at Architectural Digest, and Keia McSwain, president of BIDN. Other discussion topics include responsible landscaping, hosting advice and design tips.

AD Pro, the publication’s members-only platform, will also spotlight the Black creatives involved in the showhouse.

“The talents of our 12 participants ooze through the digital screen,” said Ms. McSwain, who designed the home’s stair hall, in a statement. “It shows visitors how to live life both stylishly and sustainably, and reminds us that the commitment begins at home.”

Sustainability at home
Greater appreciation of sustainability and the outdoors, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, continues to drive luxury home design and real estate trends.

There has been an upsurge in vintage and antique furniture sales as well as transitional pieces that can be used in different spaces, in part from a sustainability standpoint.

The importance of sustainability and connecting with nature is also driving one of the decade’s biggest trends: outdoor spaces and outdoor living (see story).

“In the era of climate change, when so many are considering sustainable living choices, AD remains committed to raising awareness of a planet-first mindset, highlighting design, architecture and products that are both eco-friendly and beautiful,” Ms. Astley said in a statement.

The ongoing partnership with BIDN also illustrates how AD remains committed to championing diversity and inclusivity in design.

As a result of the partnership, the first Iconic Home showhouse launched in November 2020. Featuring 19 Black design professionals, the virtual design space had 15 rooms, including home offices and wellness rooms that have grown in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns (see story).

“We’re confident that this year’s showhouse will be another successful partnership, and look forward to continuing this relationship,” AD’s Mr. Kaufman said.