50 on Fire will bring together D.C.’s best and brightest to recognize the disruptors, luminaries and visionaries that are pushing our city forward. Buy your tickets now and join us this Thursday, December 4th at Howard Theatre for the celebration and winners reveal.
D.C.’s design scene has been heating up this year. Innovators from all over the city are transforming offices, restaurants, bars and homes into inventive spaces and developing digital content that reflect both the modern and traditional aspects of Washington. These creative individuals have worked with social media giants and non-profits as well as small businesses and artists to build a community, both physical and digital, that highlight the city’s character.
See who is named a 50 on Fire winner in Design this Thursday night at the Howard Theatre. Get your tickets here. Now, here’s a look at our 2014 Design Finalists.
Bringing art to the people, ArtJamz is providing D.C. with a unique mix of entertainment, education and artistic opportunity. This combination studio and bar in Dupont Circle lets patrons mingle while participating in their guided-freestyle paint parties that are great for budding artists of all ages. After doubling its revenue this year, ArtJamz is set to open a second location in Brookland. In January, it launched an “Artist of the Month” program, allowing D.C. artists the chance to exhibit and sell their work in the ArtJamz gallery.
Cherry Blossom Creative
The recent explosion of colorful D.C. neighborhood maps adorning the walls of bars, cafes and your hip friends’ apartments can be credited to one company: Cherry Blossom Creative. Based in Union Kitchen, the graphic design studio offers customized brand, environment and packaging design that allow businesses to stand out with savvy visuals. Their popular map series has sold more than 6,000 pieces and is featured in several D.C. stores. The studio is expanding rapidly. Thirteen new team members were added this year, as well as a new website, all while earning coverage from The Washington Post, Forbes and Capital One’s Small Business series.
With its holistic approach to design, Design Army has been making a name for itself at the intersection of art and business. The multi-disciplinary creative agency has attracted clients from all over the globe while maintaining local prestige. This summer saw the group collaborating with swimwear designer Karla Colletto for their 2015 collection. They also designed and launched the brand concept “What are you WILD about?” for EastBanc and their Georgetown real estate project.
Events in the City
Events in the City is a speical events planning and design firm that has a knack for creating memorable events with personalized details. Laura Ritchie and Megan Pollard, the company’s principal designers have built a client list that includes top influencers across D.C. This year, they also launched a new arm of their business focusing on day-of event planning to support the growing demand for their services.
Responsible for the design of many trendy D.C. restaurants, architecture and design studio HapstakDemetriou+ brings a creative twist to sleek, modern ideas. Among the establishments that the team led by Olivia Demetriou and Peter Hapstak has lent their hand to are Fiola Mare, Cava Mezze Grill, Avenue Suites and Nando’s Peri-Peri. One of their Capitol Hill projects, Rose’s Luxury, was named “Best New Restaurant of 2014” by Bon Appetit.
Hugh & Crye
Hugh & Crye are confident that they have developed the best fitting dress shirts for men. The online retailer uses a unique sizing system based on different body types that adds a personal aspect to their clothes. Based out of Georgetown, their “Fitted T-Shirt” Kickstarter campaign raised more than $50,000 and garnered more than 1,000 backers. Their clothes were featured in Capitol File’s “5 Men Who Are Reshaping the City” in which all the participants wore Hugh & Crye attire.
By presenting strategies that engage communities both online and off, iStrategyLabs seems to endlessly produce innovative content. The group, made up of passionate designers, developers and strategists, recently released the “Dorothy” app, which allows you send yourself messages, call an Uber or order pizzas, all by just clicking your heels. The team also created the Facebook “Mentions Box,” which was used at the 2014 Emmy Awards celebrities could quickly and seamlessly interact with their fans.
Based in D.C. and San Francisco, Mapbox has built a platform that allows for custom map creation for use in infographics, trip planning, video games and much more. The company focuses on open source tools that allow for anyone in the world to quickly add and edit data. Mapbox successfully raised $10 million in Series A funding from Foundry Group which allowed them to spread their tools to Foursquare, Pinterest, the Financial Times and Uber.
A growing name in D.C., Meg Biram is a leading figure when it comes to building a brand from every angle. Her website reaches thousands of readers a day and features an exclusive online shopping page. In March of this year, Briam brought together nine other female-owned companies in D.C. to found Creative Collective, which combines their entrepreneurial spirit and creative capacity. Biram herself has been featured in The Washington Post, Washington Magazine, Luxe Magazine and many other publications.
nclud is a digital agency that aims to create unique, stylish and usable experiences that are tailored specifically to clients’ needs. They have worked with high-profile companies such as Tesla, RosettaStone and NASDAQ, but also take on startup clients that are looking to build their companies. This past summer, the group hosted the Design Battle Royale, which pitted five chosen competitors against each other in a contest to celebrate talent and ingenuity.
Responsible for some of D.C.’s more imaginative spaces, Swatchroom approaches creative design from an experiential standpoint. The brainchild of Maggie O’Neill and Warren Weixler, the firm carries out the design process from the idea stage through the final product. Thought the company was only opened in spring of 2014, it has already completed a number of well-known projects including the Twitter D.C. office, 1776, Lincoln and Hank’s Oyster Bar, among others.
Tomboy is a branding, illustration and data visualization studio that focuses on working with both non-profits and big companies. Its clients include The International Justice Mission, Georgetown University and Children’s National Health System, as well as financial giant American Express. They still maintain their small business roots, however, and work with many start-ups on branding and content strategies. This year, the group’s work was featured on CNN and brought on Twitter as a client.
Headquartered in Falls Church, Viget Labs has been cultivating an ethos of innovation since 1999. The team of 66 works with companies new and old, small and large to create digital content and platforms that adhere to their innovation-driven ideology. Their clients include Dick’s Sporting Goods, ID.me, Duke Admissions, WWF and more. A division of Viget, Pointless Corp., was responsible for the baby date betting site Baby Bookie.
Zoe Feldman Design
Zoe Feldman Design, Inc. is a boutique D.C.-based interior design firm with a touch of charm. Feldman has also expanded to writing and television and has been featured on several national websites and appeared on numerous television shows. Her design work was featured on NBC’s Open House NYC as well as in The Washington Post and in DC Modern Luxury. This past summer, she was named one of BuildDirect’s “15 Best Interior Designers in D.C.”