Giselle Loor wants to talk about the grammar in the name of the design firm she shares with Brett Sugerman, her husband of 12 years. “We launched in 2006, and when people first asked us what the ‘plus’ in B+G Design meant, I would say that I ‘plus’ Brett and that he ‘plusses’ me.”
No, it’s not a salacious reference. It’s a solicitous one. When the two talk about each other, it’s with a kind of overlapping respect that speaks to a relationship — personal and professional — that’s complementary in all ways. Ask Brett about his point of view, and he’ll describe Giselle’s before talking about his own, and vice versa. The pluses add up.
Their youngest sons are teenagers, and the pair think a lot about being empty nesters soon. It was time to add others into the equation. A desire to get ahead of the branding curve and a yearning for community led Brett and Giselle to enlist six other interior designers to form Design Force Miami, which is part collaborative team, part support group.
The rest of the handsome cast is composed of Jay Britto and David Charette, Odalys Hernandez, Janet Patterson, Miguel Lewis and Joe Fava. “We leverage our own brands by using each other’s brands,” Brett explains. “There’s strength in numbers.”
But what began as a marketing tool late last year has become something else, something that Giselle says is personal and spiritual. “I call Design Force my baby,” Giselle says. “As I feel more secure in my skin as a designer and what I’ve built with Brett, I’m more confident to share the spotlight with other designers. It’s about friendship and love, something that’s bigger than us.”
Giselle sees Design Force Miami as an antidote to cattiness and competition, a way to set an example for the design community. “The question is, how do we elevate our life experience?” Giselle says. “We talk to each other about our personal struggles. It’s not always about work.”
Last Thanksgiving marked the group’s filming of their first YouTube video. Next came Housing Works’ Design on a Dime — in which all eight designers contributed to one of the event’s most popular installations. Brett says that Design Force wasn’t originally conceived as a way of directly designing together — and then lo and behold, they were doing just that.
That room proved something of a test run for the group’s Luxury Living show house, which is open to the public through December. For this project, Design Force Miami tapped all the Luxury Living brands, from Fendi Casa to Baccarat.
“Luxury Living never mixed their brands,” Giselle says, “until now. And this is Luxury Living’s first show house, with a living room, dining room, family room and master bedroom, for a virtual family.”
Sounds like plenty of room for a crew of strong personalities to flex their talents. “It’s very Miami and super sexy,” Giselle says. With eight glam designers plussing each other, that goes without saying.