Decades of Design

Curator Greg Firlotte, Thomas Lavin, Sally Sirkin Lewis, and Martyn Lawrence Bullard

Never has there been a city whose business and cultural history is so closely interwoven with the design trade like the City of West Hollywood. Gregory Firlotte, a 33-year old veteran of the West Hollywood design district scene and Marketing Director for Phyllis Morris Originals, brought this statement to life with his curation of “Decades of Design,” the first-ever retrospective exhibition uncovering, examining, and celebrating over six decades of rich design history.

Decades Wall Mural-small

The curated ­­gallery, on display at the West Hollywood Library through March 17th and online, showcases design pioneers and present tastemakers through bold graphics, photographs and original product. Spanning over 65 years from 1948 to present on the three intersecting streets of Beverly Boulevard, Robertson Boulevard, and Melrose Avenue, the exhibit offers an insiders’ look at how the businesses located there have influenced and transformed the design world at large. Among these pioneers include Phyllis Morris, Leo Dennis and Jerry Leen, Lou SugarmanSally Sirkin Lewis, Robert Kuo and Nancy Corzine, all who still have a presence in the design district today.

Decorative Carpets Poster

Drawing upon both corporate and private archives, the wide range of historical images in this exhibition offers a glimpse into how the West Hollywood Design District once looked through the eyes of the pioneering businesses who paved the way for those who now carry these legacies forward. Ronald S. Kates, leasing agent for Bert J. Friedman & Associates, who more than anyone else in the community, is a living link to the origins of the West Hollywood Design District as we know it.

Ron Kates Poster

The exhibit also shows how today’s trend setters and style makers are creating new and exciting ways of expressing themselves that will continue to inspire others. From interior designers Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Nathan Turner and Thomas Lavin, to restaurateurs Craig Susser and SUR‘s Guillermo Zapata and Nathalie Pouille-Zapata, to fashion designers Tommy Perse, Phillip Lim and John Varvatos, the creative legacy continues forth into the realms of style, art, fashion and cuisine.

Curator Greg Firlotte, Thomas Lavin, Sally Sirkin Lewis, and Martyn Lawrence Bullard
Curator Greg Firlotte, Thomas Lavin, Sally Sirkin Lewis, and Martyn Lawrence Bullard at “Decades of Design” Opening.

It’s quite a history, for sure… and one worth celebrating now and for decades to come. The exhibition can be previewed online at and at the West Hollywood Library until March 17, 2015.
Photo Credit: Melissa Manning/The Look Partnership


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