LA State of Mind
Edward Woodill is Pivot’s Senior Director of A+D, based in Los Angeles. We connected with Edward to chat about his background, design, and the latest projects that he’s excited about.
Tell us about your background?
I'll start with my recent past. I relocated from Florida to California in 2017, and joined Pivot shortly afterwards. It's been a huge change for me, but I absolutely love California and I'm enjoying my new role as Pivot's Sr. Director of A&D. I am passionate about design, and I like meeting new people and so working with the A&D community has been a great fit for me.
I have an undergraduate degree in Legal Studies and Organizational Communication. I pursued careers in both areas prior to getting my graduate degree in Interior Design from Pratt. After graduating I worked in New York for a short while and then opened up my own firm, Studio 3 Designs in Orlando, Florida, which I operated for 12 years. My firm was eventually acquired by a Herman Miller dealership group in Florida. I was brought in as their Chief Design Officer and that is how I entered the furniture dealer world.
What are you working on right now?
Our LA office was recently awarded a new project working for a large multi-disciplinary engineering firm. Building environments is core to what they do, and so it's been an exciting opportunity to see our industry from the engineering side.
Shaping a Better World is their company vision, and they are focused on education and knowledge sharing with their employees, their interns, and the community at large. Their outreach brings people into their space to learn and to create better environments. Their space has a progressive floor plan which allows for multiple touch points for work and collaboration, and also for exploration of new ideas through a library, as well as a hacker space and maker space. Working with this client has been a pleasure and a great learning experience for our team.
What are you seeing in the LA market?
Right now I am really energized by what is going on in the entertainment industry. Living in LA, we have the great fortune of working with many studios and production houses. For decades the studio giants had a monopoly on what we watched, but now we are seeing a shift to tech-media companies disrupting the industry, first through steaming and now by creating their own original content. This shift is causing the most significant change to the industry since the 1920’s. The new players are changing the landscape. It is an exciting time to be in Los Angeles and the new guard is definitely making their mark on Hollywood.
Where do you see the future of furniture dealerships headed?
I’m currently obsessed with an article I recently read called, The Rise of the Dealer Designer – I'm inspired by it and I hope to establish our Pivot Team as a true partner to work with A+D firms. I want to be brought in early on projects, just as an architect would bring in an engineering firm for their specific expertise. My goal is for A+D firms to know that we have become experts in interpreting design intent, identifying the best value, knowing the best vendors, maintaining those relationships, and handling all the moving parts of the order.
Our industry is moving is towards specialization, architecture firms are focusing on the macro, things are moving so fast and they don’t always have the time or in some cases the in depth product knowledge required for the project. I think many A&D firms are going to start to rely more and more on dealer-designers to do that for them...It just makes good business sense.
What furniture design trends are you noticing this year?
There will always be aesthetic waves in the industry. Colors, looks, and styles ebb and flow. I attempt to drive conversations towards designing for interactions and experiences. There has never been a better time to be in the furniture industry. Furniture has the flexibly to shift how a space is being used and can influence human interaction and feeling. The trend I am currently seeing is where furniture selection plays more of valuable position when programming space.
Whose work do you respect and why?
Donald Judd – The master of minimalism
Santiago Calatrava – Engineer as sculptor
Patricia Urquiola – For bringing the Memphis Movement back to life
Suzanne Tick – Weaver as Wonder Woman
Louise Nevelson – Feminism in forms
Jon Otis (my professor at Pratt) – For showing me the way and making me stay the course.
What are you passionate about outside of work?
I am on the board of dxdf, which stands for the “Design and Diversity Foundation". Dxdf focuses on initiatives that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and understanding that there are options within the varied disciplines of design for students to learn, grow, and find a path for their professional lives. The organization is just in the planning stages and we are working towards getting our organizational 501(c)(3) paperwork. It is exciting to work with an organization that will foster awareness of the opportunities within the design industry for students who wouldn’t necessarily know a career in design is viable and desirable. And in these interesting political times; I am an avid supporter of the Human Rights Campaign.
What’s your favorite building in downtown LA?
For architecture – I am in love with the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles – I am not a religious person, but the structure is so unexpectedly simple, clean, and silent.
I love Union Station – It is an iconic moment of architecture captured in time. When I walk thought it, I am transported.
What’s your typical weekend?
My partner Evan and I have no such thing. We love exploring our new city, usually with our dog in tow. Hanging with friends or having visitors from the East Coast. Every weekend is a totally new adventure and we're enjoying every minute of it.