Design Salon Boston

Mesa Arts Center - Shauna Gillies-Smith of Ground for MSI

Mesa Arts Center - Shauna Gillies-Smith of Ground for MSI (

This week we were invited to speak to an extraordinary group of women. Called the Design Salon Boston, this informal organization brings together interior designers, architects, product designers, and writers once a month to talk about their trade and figure out how to do what they do better. We met up at the groundbreaking architectural firm, Utile, hosted by principal Mimi Love.

It’s about time someone figured how to gather the creative types in the city, but I was a little wary of the women-only bent. Wary, that is, until I witnessed its merits first-hand.

Women have a different way of conducting business than men. They’re more direct, I think, and less interested in theory. They want information they can use, real world applications, and they want it now. Maybe men have their fathers to teach them the ways of the business world (or poker games), but most of us women are inventing our style as we go.

That means that many businesswomen are forthright and earnest. Kristen of Urban Living Studio, for example, is a lovely woman and very clear: she has several businesses based on local design and wants people to know about them. Kara Butterfield of Makeready Design is charmingly self-effacing but ready to bust out onto the design scene. Landscape architect Shauna Gillies-Smith of Ground in Somerville has international fame but little local recognition. Why?

We’re looking forward to joining this group again and following the successes of our fellow creative types. Boston is small enough that we can network easily. Now let’s use our collective power to put this city on the design map, one project at a time.