Happy 20th Birthday, DDA!

It’s been 20 years since Hour Media held its first-ever Detroit Design Awards (DDA)!

It’s been 20 years since Hour Media held its first-ever Detroit Design Awards (DDA)! All of us who work on this publication and plan the celebration are excited about this special birthday. This is the only comprehensive regional competition that features companies in the commercial and residential design arena, inside and out. And it’s now the template for many of Hour Media’s other home-design publications around the country that are launching design awards programs.

Since the first year, we’ve nearly doubled the number of judges, as the stack of entries has grown. The judges’ backgrounds have changed a bit, too. We used to invite a jury from the home editorial/magazine field; today, our judges boast professions that range from furniture designers and textile experts to world-renowned interior specialists.

We also change up the categories from year to year, offering not only the usual popular divisions, like kitchens and baths, but also niche areas like butler’s pantries and commercial landscaping. In the past two decades, change has also been a constant in the design industry. I contacted some of this year’s winners to get their insights on how they believe the design arena has evolved in the past 20 years or so. Here’s some of their feedback:

  • “We’ve experienced a younger generation seeing the value of bringing a design professional on board. I think many times they grew up in homes where an interior designer was part of a renovation team, or maybe was considered to be an important part of a family home’s decorating update. Also, during the pandemic, young professionals who previously had little time to really study their homes and do the research into great design opportunities were focused on spaces like kitchens and baths.” 

— Kathleen McGovern, Kathleen McGovern Studio
of Interior Design, Grosse Pointe Park

  • “Video conferencing (Zoom, for example) has become the norm and has made communication with clients, architects, and builders more digital, with fewer in-person meetings and travel. This has increased productivity. And Pinterest continues to be useful for us to ‘see’ a client’s vision and use as a tool to source photos of specific ideas or applications for clients to consider.” 

— Vee Mossburg, Cottage Company Interiors, Harbor Springs

  • “I’ve seen a visual transition from hand sketches to digital. I’m now able to create compelling digital design iterations more quickly. I’ve found that this allows for more open and interactive client communication, due to its ease of editability, and allows for quicker client approvals, keeping us on schedule.”  

— Amer Sahoury, Davis & Davis, Farmington Hills

Client demographics, home prioritization (a nice upshot from the pandemic), technology advances (including video conferencing and digital design), information discovery and inspiration via social media, and increased productivity like we’ve never seen before are all part of our new world. 

What hasn’t changed over the past 20 years? From the beginning of this competition, the winning designs have always been both aesthetically pleasing and functional, and they meet the lifestyle needs of clients. 

To all who have submitted entries for the DDA over the years, thank you for sharing your creations. I look forward to celebrating all of the 2023 winning designs at the Detroit Design Awards party on June 5 at One Campus Martius. Let’s raise a glass to 20 years!