Buckhead’s ADAC marks 60 years as an interior design center for the South East
ADAC, a landmark in Buckhead’s Peachtree Hills, marks 60 years as an interior design center in the South East.
Founded in 1961 as the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center, the market at 351 Peachtree Hills Ave. was designed by John Portman Jr., the renowned architect and developer of downtown icons such as the Peachtree Center and ADAC’s sister market, AmericasMart. In the neighborhood, ADAC is widely known for “South Music”, an imposing steel sculpture in its front yard created in 1985 by Angel Orensanz for the downtown Marriott Marquis hotel and moved to the site in 2007.
But what exactly is going on inside the design center? âThe way I always describe ADAC is like a mall for interior designers or interior design professionals,â says Katie Miner, CEO of the center since 2012.
The five-story, 555,000-square-foot center contains 65 showrooms of “all kinds of products for decorating the home,” says Miner. Antiques, floor coverings, fabrics, kitchens, lightingâ¦ are on display. ADAC serves as both owner and distributor for the various manufacturers and manufacturers, some of whom have representatives on site and others who are managed by the center.
ADAC West, a neighboring building complex at 349 Peachtree Hills Ave., houses the offices of 25 architects and designers.
For decades, ADAC was a private facility serving only industry professionals in the long-island design world. But that changed almost 10 years ago, as public awareness of interior design grew thanks to the internet and the DIY movements.
âStarting in 2012, we opened our doors to the public,â Miner said. âAnyone can walk into the ADAC and walk around, look at the fabrics, sit on the couch and really start to understand what is available to decorate their home.â
Today, ADAC hosts many events, including two annual markets – “Discover ADAC” and “Design ADAC” – which originate in welcoming the general public to the center. It also manages the Southeast Designer and Architect of the Year awards.
Lifting the âveil of secrecyâ and welcoming the audience has been a great success, said Miner. But it can also show the public how overwhelming the choices can be and how important the role of the designer is, she added. âYou want a designer to walk you through this process so you don’t make a mistake,â she said.
âI am a perfect example,â she said. âI’m there every dayâ¦ and I have an interior designer.
Miner said members of the public interested in design sometimes assume that a design center is only for the luxury market.
âThere is also a very common misconception that everything at ADAC is very high end: ‘Oh, I can’t afford that. “This is not true at all,” she said. While you can certainly find a $ 50,000 dining room table in showrooms, she said, the norm is priced in the range of a few hundred dollars to the lower thousands.
Like other sectors of the home design industry, ADAC has seen a surge in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as people staying at home have started to have ideas of makeover. And like other parts of the industry, it is now pressed by supply shortages partly caused by the pandemic and also by factors such as a winter storm in Texas earlier this year that shut down factories in mousse. This custom sofa that could have arrived in 10 to 12 weeks could now take six months, Miner said.
ADAC is one of 12 or 14 design markets across the country. It’s a regional draw for designers from 10 states, Miner said. In 2018, ADAC was purchased by a subsidiary of Blackstone, a New York-based asset management and investment firm whose other recent acquisitions include the billion-dollar clothing company based in Buckhead Spanx.
ADAC has changed several times over the decades since its inception as a one-story building. There have been several expansions over the decades, and ADAC West was formed in 1986 through the acquisition of a nearby warehouse. Blackstone is now considering other changes that could come over the next year, Miner said.
âThey have ideas for some really cool building renovations to bring a 1961 building to the present day,â she said, describing a possible facade change and more architect and designer studios.
Another big change in ADAC’s path is the Atlanta BeltLine, the ring of trails, transit, and green space being built around the city. The two segments of the Buckhead Trail, still in the planning stages, will likely meet in the ADAC area.
“We are very supportive of it,” said Miner, pointing to the origin of ADAC with Portman, another visionary who is changing the city. âThe BeltLine is just a really cool development within the cityâ¦ I would love to see that also connect with Buckhead and be a part of it. “
For more information, see adacatlanta.com.