Why He’s Top 40: He created Vignettes, the first design festival of its kind in Edmonton
Five years ago, Leigh Wright was working odd trade jobs and doing design work where he could when he took a career-altering trip to an interior design show in New York City. The show inspired him to create an event that would showcase Edmonton’s emerging design talent.
Wright is the founder of Vignettes, a pop-up show turned month-long festival with the goal of bringing together Edmonton’s top interior designers, contractors, woodworkers and visual artists.
“I’m a connector. I love bringing people together, and helping them find new opportunities,” Wright says. The festival also highlights Edmonton’s culinary scene; this year, Wright and his team spent six months building a pop-up restaurant – Vignettes Does Dining – that featured new food creations from local chefs.
“Vignettes isn’t just a design show, it’s a platform for the community,” Wright says. “We’re trying to build opportunities for people to showcase their work, to help designers and artists get recognized and move on to bigger and better things.”
Wright was blown away when Vignettes brought in a crowd of 100 in its first year. The festival now attracts nearly 10,000 people, and headlined Edmonton Design Week 2017. And it doesn’t only benefit those interested in design; as a volunteer with the Canadian Progress Club, giving back is always on Wright’s radar, and a portion of all ticket proceeds from Vignettes go to local children’s charities.
“I’m very fortunate that I get to do this every day,” says Wright. “I get to meet new people, see their artwork. That’s the greatest thing to me: loving and having a passion for what I do. “