Inside the New and Improved Design Center at JCK Las Vegas

Long known as a showcase for industry icons  before they make it big, the Design Center at JCK Las Vegas—running June 3–6—is getting an overhaul for 2016.

The update coincides with a slew of improvements throughout Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and the convention center, including a reimagined floor plan that moves the Design Center from its traditional location on Shorelines level to the expanded (lower) Bayside level.

Katie Dominesey, industry vice president of JCK Las Vegas and JCK Tucson, says the center is now infused with new talent, more talent, and a brand-new space that accommodates a new three-tier evolution model based on grouping exhibitors into areas dubbed Kickstarter, Rising Star, and Resident. “The Design Center needs to serve designers at all points in their career,” Dominesey says.

Student artists hand-selected from seven design schools will have free exhibition space in order to spotlight their enthusiasm and raw talent to market. JCK’s goal is to cultivate designers from up-and-comer to veteran status. 

What’s more, the Rising Star program is growing from five participants with a one-year residency to 21 participants who spend three years at the center. That change, explains Dominesey, “will let designers contain costs over the period and benefit from mentoring and education tailored to developing talents.” 

Plus, Design Center booths are getting a face-lift (hint: blackboard paint). And targeted programming will educate retailers about such topics as merchandising and styling. Says Dominesey: “JCK is recognizing the needs of design-focused retailers.” 

Top: Fire and Ice Cascade necklace in oxidized silver with 18k and 22k gold, dendritic quartz, tourmalinated quartz, black spinel, faceted garnet, and grossular garnet; $2,970; Sydney Lynch, Lincoln, Neb.; 402-435-2920;

Inset: J ring in 18k gold with a 0.05 ct. ruby accent; $560; Judi Powers Jewelry, Brooklyn, N.Y.; 718-571-9049;

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