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Las Vegas winter market honors Christopher Guy

Internationally renowned designer known for elegant influence

LAS VEGAS — Known for merging classic and modern elements in his internationally inspired designs, Christopher Guy Harrison received the Design Icon Award on Thursday, Jan. 27 during last week's Las Vegas Market.

A presentation by Guy and an awards ceremony took place and was followed by a reception in the Robert Allen/Beacon Hill showroom.

The Design Icon Award honors design visionaries who have created a body of work that has left an indelible print on the industry. Created in 1996, the honor gives modern-day designers a platform to share their stories and inspire others. Guy joins the ranks of previous Design Icon honorees, including Juan Montoya, Vicente Wolf, Roger Thomas, Vladimir Kagan and Larry Laslo.

Guy said he was honored to receive the award and expressed his gratitude to those who helped him reach where he is today.

"I may be the driving force between these crazy ideas, but when I look at this award, I'm proud of the 1,400 craftsman who work under our roof, plus 150 staff worldwide," said Guy. "It is a real pleasure to be working with them. Without them, nothing would be possible."

Randy Wells, vice president of Las Vegas Design Center, said that Guy has set a high bar in the luxury design industry.

"As a student of luxury brands, I look at what he has done and admire his unyielding commitment to the purity of design and fierce protection of his brand," said Wells.

Roger Thomas, who received the Design Icon honor in 2009, said that Guy's recognition was well-deserved. Thomas frequently uses Guy's work in his designs.

"Christopher Guy has been a part of my work for about 10 years now," said Thomas. "I can always recognize a Christopher Guy. His work is distinctive and original, which is wonderful in this world of derivation."

During a multi-media presentation, Guy said that he was honored to receive the award, and was especially pleased to address young designers and young business owners. Guy started his career in design when he was only 16. "I didn't have any formal training in furniture manufacturing or design," he said. "In the beauty of youth, you do things you would not normally do. I went with a dream."

Guy shared colorful stories from his childhood. He was born in England and grew up in South of France and Spain. He recalled his first encounter with design: building a house with his stepfather. As he grew older, he admired the beauty of the yachts and villas along the Riviera, the glamour of Cannes Film Festival and more. "These inspired me to create something elegant and luxurious," he said.

In the early 1990s, Guy had a vision. "I'm going to create the finest mirror collection in the world," he said. In 1993, he did just that, moving from Spain to Java, a dusty little town that was home to the finest mahogany carvers in the world. There, he began Harrison & Gil, a prestigious mirror frame collection. Over time, he built a state-of-the-art facility, employing more than 1,400 craftsmen.

After much success with the mirror collection, Guy told about how he decided to expand his scope to luxury furnishings. In 2006, the Christopher Guy brand was born, uniting mirrors and luxury furnishings. Today, it is a global brand with its headquarters in Singapore.

In recent years, Guy said his focus with style is getting back to the basics, but with an opulent flair. "Elegance, to me, is a mix of simplicity with grandeur," he said. He's currently repackaging his company to showcase more simple elegance.

Guy's products can be found across the world: in the finest homes in Beverly Hills and the Riviera, in movies such as The Devil Wears Prada and Casino Royale, in his flagship store in Beverly Hills and the Robert Allen/Beacon Hill showroom at Las Vegas Design Center, in hotels from Las Vegas to London, and in casinos in Macau.

During his presentation, Guy thanked Roger Thomas for including his work in the Wynn collection. Thomas is executive vice president of design for Wynn Design and Development. "Wynn has done a tremendous job of branding both here and in Macau," he said.

Guy also discussed his much-anticipated new collection that will be released in late 2011 and is based on his personal interpretation of the would-be home of a sprightly 40-year-old Coco Chanel, were she alive today.

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