It has been three years since the Black Interior Designers Network (BIDN) has last unveiled its list of top 10 African-American interior designers, so the announcement for the 2022-23 edition, selected by a panel of editorial judges (including AD, the global editorial director of Amy Astley), is long overdue. On Thursday, May 12, winners will be celebrated at the New York Design Center from 5-7 p.m. EDT at an event open to industry members. The festivities are organized in partnership with The Shade Store, Benjamin Moore, Kohler and the New York Design Center.
First launched by late BIDN founder and interior designer Kimberly Ward, the honor previously recognized a larger group of designers at the nonprofit’s annual conference. After the pandemic, that list was whittled down to a top 10, and the awards turned into a standalone, in-person event. “These winners are the most skilled and outstanding designers in the interior design industry,” said Keia McSwain, President of BIDN, adding that their “existence alone will elevate, encourage and contribute to our future.”
Along with Astley, the judging list included Asad Syrkett of Elle DecorKaitlin Petersen from Home businessKaty Olson of Material Bank and Hadley Keller of Beautiful houseall of whom made their tough and decisive decisions based both on the imaginative and bold works of the designers and their dedication to defending and uplifting the black community.
This year’s lineup of standout designers includes celebrity favorite Brigette Romanek of the Los Angeles-based Romanek Design Studio, HGTV design star Chicago Area Tiffany Brooks Winners Tiffany Brooks Interiors and Danielle Colding of Danielle Colding Design in New York, as well as Ron Woodson, co-founder and advocate of the architecture of Design House Woodson & Rummerfield in Los Angeles, and Shawn McLean-Bergel of San Francisco McLean Bergel. Rounding out the winners, TV personality and AD100 designer Corey Damen Jenkins of Corey Damen Jenkins & Associates in New York, start-up guru Dani Arps of Artisan Alliance in New York, the former star of Blue Man Group, General Judd of Me and General Design in Brooklyn, Michel Boyd of Michel Smith Boyd, LLC in Atlanta, and Tavia Forbes, Senior Interior Designer at Forbes Masters Atlanta.
Currently under the leadership of Denver-based interior designer Keia McSwain, the Black Interior Designers Network has been advocating for diversity and inclusion within the industry since 2010, serving as a voice and creating opportunities for designers of color.
Among their initiatives is The Iconic Home, a partnership with AD in which network designers are tasked with creating specific personality-driven rooms in a virtual show home. This project is currently gearing up for its dynamic third edition this fall.