First, rumors swirled. Then there was uncertainty. Then waiting and more waiting. As the former Washington Design Center building in Southwest began its transition into the future home of the Museum of the Bible and showrooms began to shutter, local designers have left to source their projects in a setting that was uninspiring, to say the least.
All that has changed now that the Design Center has officially opened in the gleaming, LEED Gold-certified Franklin Court building at 14th and L Streets, NW. On November 12, champagne flowed as the 23 showrooms now occupying the building’s light-filled second, third and fourth floors marked the Center’s launch with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Throngs of designers turned out for the event, which included presentations, product debuts and book signings by artist Hunt Slonem and designers Barry Dixon and Thomas Pheasant. Even Mayor Vincent Gray made an appearance to cut the ribbon.
There was much to celebrate. “The opening of the new Washington Design Center, in the ‘center’ of downtown Washington heralds a new era for our local design community,” said Barry Dixon. “A long overdue shot in the arm for architects and designers, the bright, sun-lit halls of possibility are a beacon for creative minds for miles around—and a bona fide cosmic shift for our industry.”
While purchases are still mostly to the trade, consumers are welcome to browse the Center’s showrooms for inspiration. Guests should check in at Franklin Court’s management office in the lobby to receive a daily visitor badge. Open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm, the Washington Design Center is located at 1099 14th Street, NW. designcenterdc.com