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Focus on excellence: A deep dive into the details of the Black Artists and Designers Guild Obsidian Virtual Showhouse

From changing scope mid-project to managing clients and pesky backorders, there are few things the design community is better equipped to handle than a last-minute change-up. As the world began to shutter over the last year, our community did what it does best and switched things up to effortlessly meet the world where it was able to, online. Case in point? An abundance of virtual showrooms that facilitated the continued sharing of the work of artists and designers. 

Amongst these, one showroom caught the enraptured attention of our Circaphiles office and begged for a deeper dive into the details behind the designs. Obsidian Showhouse by the Black Artist and Designers Guild was not only thoughtful and unique, but the execution was exceptional.

Curious how it came together? Read on…

ABOUT THE SHOWHOUSE:

Imagined as the quintessential design for the modern Black family, the showhouse is a completely virtual space tasked with supporting the spiritual and functional aspects of the home. While the design was virtual, the space conceptualized had a   (very real) plot of land in Oakland, California as its dreamt-up home. With a concept and location in mind, designers and artists began work, considering work-life balance, family life, rest and nourishment, spirituality, and creating joy in a dynamic, cohesive space. Twenty-three creators came together to collaborate on the space.  

Keep scrolling to see just a few of the spaces that we fell in love with! Our team sat down with the creators to find the root of their inspiration and all those precise, minute details that make a space truly shine. The entire project can be viewed virtually here

Come along…let’s make our own virtual tour! 

DIVAI BY PENNY FRANCIS & CASI ST. JULIAN OF ECLECTIC HOME:

We were first introduced to the New-Orleans based design firm, Eclectic Home, last Spring and have been followers ever since! Principals Penny and Casi had the enviable job of creating a unique entertaining space that celebrates Northern California’s thriving wine industry. Penny says Divai (wine in Swahili) is not only a place to store wine but to experience it with all the senses, creating a luxurious experience for the oenophile.”Moody colors and organic forms take center stage with walls built to display wine and cocoon guests as they enjoy a meal. 

A note from the designer, Penny Francis: “Heaped in the diversity of Southern Creole culture and our own history, our Black experience is reflected in the design choices. African, Haitian, French, Spanish, and Native Americans all have influenced our culture, architecture, and spirit. It is the mix of diversity that draws us to contrast in materials and juxtaposing periods and styles. Inspired by Hausa architecture and the movement of the building ornamentation, our favorite detail is the racking system.  The racks’ fluid, curved shape envelopes you, drawing you into the space for a sensory experience; not to only enjoy the wine but the layers of materials and beauty of the space. “

The artist studios & garden by linda allen of linda allen designs

A space for reflection and creation, Linda Allen paired neutral tones with soft lines for her interpretation of an artists studio and garden. She centered her space around supporting the experience of the Black high-achiever. Linda says “I call my spaces ‘I am Good Enough’.”  The intention being to foster creativity and provide the space for inspiration and expression through natural formations and elements. She noted there is a pressure to “create a legacy” for Black professionals and her goal was to create a space for that work and also for authenticity and healing. 

Unlike corporate spaces, the lighting layers softly glow and contour the curves through the room.  Our eyes studied this room with ease, breaths deepened and minds slowed. Take a moment and do the same

harmony room: laura hodges of laura hodges studio

Fun and inviting, this dining and living space by Circaphiles ambassador. Laura Hodges, features big, bold industrial elements complemented by natural design components. A communal dining area is anchored by an abstract mural by BADG creator, Glenyse Thompson.  While the seating area seems to have been blended into the foundation of the room, building on the “natural” theme; almost as if it’s carved out of the space.

Be sure to view the showhouse in its entirety here.  The Obsidian Showhouse is truly a masterclass in creativity and you’re bound to find a few new favorite designers and artists!