When Silver Lining Design Group founder Marielle Shortell was a child growing up in Maryland, she was often on the swingset, going back and forth, letting the breeze tousle her hair, the sun kiss her face. It’s why her new collaborative showroom has a swinging chair. It’s also why she called it The Playground.
“I want everyone to feel like they are not at work,” says Shortell, who lives in Bethesda with husband Andrew and their two children. “We are in the business of celebrations, so I thought it was only fitting to create a space for
our team to have fun.”
The 6,000-square-foot event design studio boasts a basketball hoop and bikes—that, in addition to furniture sourced from around the country. There are also 50-plus original pieces by Sydney-based artists that she picked up on a recent trip. They boast inspiring words to fuel creativity. “I love the coffeehouse culture, and I thought if I could re-create that... it would be awesome,” says Shortell.
But it’s not simply a space to relive your early years in the sandbox. It’s a place for SLDG clients (who include MGM, BET, Netflix and Discovery, and extend from Sydney to L.A.) to meet with the designers, visualize and experiment.
“There is such potential to elevate the DC events scene by bringing... ideas from our international ventures,” notes Shortell, who has no shortage of them. A few years ago, her team designed a floating DJ booth in the Versace mansion, complete with mermaids. Now, they’re planning for shindigs in cities they haven’t been before—Vienna, Lisbon, Nashville. Where does she still hope to throw a party? “An event floating on Lake Louise in Banff.” And the one event she wants to do but hasn’t yet: “The Met Gala,” she quips. Perhaps with The Playground, she will.
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