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Arts & Entertainment

Brooklyn Chamber hosts bittersweet Brooklyn Designs

The borough’s cutting-edge creativity was on display during the annual Brooklyn Designs event, held May 11-13 for the first time at the Brooklyn Museum.

The event, the brainchild of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, has been happening every year since 2003 for the purpose of shining a light on the budding creative economy in Brooklyn.

This year, the event was highlighted by tech brands such as Brooklyn Solar Works and Fitchwork. Additionally, there were displays by students at the Pratt Institute’s Graduate Architecture and Urban Design program.

“Brooklyn Designs was a huge success, this year, highlighted by our change of venue at the Brooklyn Museum,” said Meredith Daniels, vice president of communications for the Commerce. It was so much of a success, she added, that , “In fact, we will have a Brooklyn Designs Pavilion at this year’s ICFF high end luxury furniture fair (May 20-23) at the Jacob Javits Center. The pavilion, designed by Maiarelli Studio in close collaboration with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, will display curated highlights from the show.”

The festival was attended by a diverse group of approximately 3,000 people, including “designers, architects, builders, developers, store buyers, industry influencers, educators, urban planners and design-savvy consumers, who all come together to celebrate the borough’s rich design heritage, iconic style and bustling creative community,” Daniels said.

Exhibits highlighted help with home renovation,  included historic Brooklyn ceramic object viewings, and panel discussions ranging in topic from art to female pioneers and game changers in design.

Brooklyn Designs also marked the last event for Andrew Hoan, now former president and CEO of the Chamber, who announced back in March that he would be stepping down from his position so that he and his family could move out of the New York City area. Hoan took over as president in late 2016.

As President and CEO, Hoan launched Brooklyn Alliance Capital Inc, which issues loans to small businesses in Brooklyn. In addition, under his guidance, the Chamber partnered with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to introduce an innovation coast consortium to try and lure Amazon and other big companies to Brooklyn’s waterfront.

As the Chamber waits for Hoan’s replacement, Rick Russo, current COO of the Chamber, will serve as acting president. Despite the transition, Daniels is confident that the Chamber will continue to do the best job it can to help Brooklyn residents and their businesses.

“The executive team at the Chamber will continue to deliver its rich programming during our centennial year, producing signature events such as the upcoming Brooklyn Eats in June, and Building Brooklyn Awards in August,” Daniels told this paper. “We look forward to continuing to live up to our Chamber of the Year status and providing our members with the programming and services they’ve come to expect.”

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