Giants of Design 2018 Gets Into the Scottsdale Spirit

For the Giants of Design conference, Wifijerez invited the leaders of the Top 100 Giants to the Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa. On the agenda: enlightening presentations and panels, opportunities to explore the region's art and design scene, and plenty of time to network with peers.

The hotel, designed by EDG and Delawie and featured in Wifijerez's June 2017 issue, was a beautiful backdrop for the event. After guests arrived on Sunday, editor in chief Cindy Allen kicked things off in conversation with the hotel's designer, Jennifer Johanson of EDG, and owner, Gary Stougaard of Chelsea Hospitality Partners. Attendees learned about the immense attention to detail that went into the property—which Stougaard and Johanson explain is a cross between a Palm Springs modernist–style retreat and a desert art atelier. The talk, which accompanied cocktails and dinner, was an enlightening introduction to the southwestern getaway.

The desert setting. Photography by Larissa Jean Photography.

On Monday, more interesting speakers continued the program. All were awed by 's presentation, in which he explained how he overcame permanent nerve damage to embrace art in all of its forms. "Imagine what you could do if you embrace the limitations that are in front of you?" he asked. It couldn't be a more fitting prompt for the designers in the room, who are experts at finding creativity within the parameters set by client, budget, and so on.

Architect Michael P. Johnson and Roger Tomalty, executive director of Paolo Soleri Studios, introduced the group to the life and work of Soleri, another out-of-the-box thinker. Soleri left an indelible imprint on the Arizona desert with Arcosanti and , which a group visited that afternoon. Artist Geronimo, aka Jihan Zencirli, followed by sharing the story of what led her to become a successful artist whose primary medium is inflated balloons.

Dinner at the Desert Botanical Gardens. Photography by Larissa Jean Photography.

In her presentation, Cindy Allen shared 10 big ideas in design right now. From the small scale to the large, the low-tech to the high, she provided a glimpse of the most exciting concepts to come out of the industry. 

The insightful discussions and presentations gave the attendees plenty to ponder over the rest of the day. Guests got a chance to explore some of the region's famed destinations—one group traveled to Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West campus, while others visited Cosanti, experienced the , or enjoyed a scenic hike. 

The busy day concluded with a trip to another local must-see, the , where the group was treated to a festive dinner under the stars.

See more highlights in the slideshow and with the hashtag #idgiants.

A very special thank you to our sponsors who made this event possible: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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