An estimated 3,500 people attended the 16th SOFA Chicago Opening Night gala earlier this month, and 31,000 visited the fair during its three day run. Dealers spared no expense presenting their best artists in major presentations, and their optimism paid off with sales in the high six figures. "It was exciting to see the growing number of 'next generation' buyers on the show floor," said Mark Lyman, Founder and Director of SOFA fairs. He adds that many dealers reported not only new and younger clients, but also a palpable rise in buying confidence with a strong bounce-back in sales. Chicago native and New York designer George Larson welcomed designers on behalf of the SOFA National Design Committee, co-chaired by prominent interior designers and architects John Barman, Holly Hunt, Amy Lau, Suzanne Lovell and Alison Spear, at the well-attended Designer Breakfast on Friday morning, where guests enjoyed a champagne breakfast and an exclusive preview of the Fair, before it opened to the general public. The Opening Night benefit tribute dinner honored the late Sam Maloof, a MacArthur Fellow, whose furniture was renowned for its sculptural style and hand-craftsmanship. Proceeds from the tribute benefited the Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts, Anderson Ranch Arts Center Maloof Scholarship Fund, and the Furniture Society Scholarship Program. “SOFA is a close-knit community ... everyone rallied to enjoy a wonderful weekend of art and camaraderie,” said Lyman.
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