Design Leaders Todd Bracher, Karim Rashid to Keynote mDesign Live

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – mDesign Live, the new materials-centered conference aimed at designers, architects and product fabricators, announced its first two keynote speakers: designers Karim Rashid and Todd Bracher.

Rashid (@karim_design) is one of the most prolific designers of his generation, with more than 3,000 designs in production in more than 40 countries. Rashid has received more than 300 awards. 

Bracher’s Todd Bracher Studio (@toddbracher) guides some of the world’s most prestigious brands in finding strategic differentiation using design. Bracher believes that at its core, design must be informed, essential, expert and artful.

mDesign Live, co-produced by the International Woodworking Fair and Surface & Panel magazine, runs Oct. 28-29, 2019, in DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. Patterned after materials events in Europe, mDesign Live brings together fabricators and architectural and commercial interior design specialists.

Located in western Michigan, Grand Rapids is a regional hub of multiple design-driven industries: office furniture (Steelcase, Herman Miller), closets (Stow Company), kitchen and cabinet (Masco Cabinets), among other panel processing industries.

The two-day mDesign Live features a fast-paced run of educational sessions and other attractions: 
•    Four one-hour keynotes in 2,500 seat DeVos Theater.
•    A dozen mTalks (15-minute rapid-fire presentations on design and production innovation).
•    All breakfast, lunch and refreshment breaks staged in exposition hall. 
•    Up to three conference passes for sponsors and exhibitors.

Manufacturers and distributors of design software, panels, components and hardware will be able to mix with designers, architects and fabricators throughout the event.

“After years of experience in the industry seeing what works and what doesn’t at events all around the world, we conceptualized the best ideas all wrapped into one,” said John Aufderhaar, publisher of Surface & Panel. The event and its structure represent a number of innovations:

•    First national event devoted to materials for both designers and fabricators.
•    Attendees and exhibitors will be shoulder to shoulder throughout the event.
•    Registration is free to qualified designers and wood products fabricators serving them.
•    Simplified exhibitor logistics include turnkey 10×10 or 10×20 ft. packages. 

Designers, interior architects and panel processing and fabrication companies that work with them will in proximity throughout the event, allowing continuous interchange and opportunities for innovative thinking. Likewise, supplier exhibitors and speakers will be immersed in an unusual setting for inspiration with customers and peers. 

“There will be design innovation presentations, the latest developments of how products are made, and close interaction with the people who buy and specify products,” said Ryan Wagner, VP of sales and marketing for Surface & Panel. 

Registration is now open for mDesign Live. For more information and to register, visit Room blocks at preferred rates have been reserved for mDesign Live attendees and exhibitors: 

To reserve exhibition space or for additional information, contact Ryan Wagner at or

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