Monday, August 30, 2010

ProjectUDesign

When Cargill's BiOH® Polyols business, along with Toray Interational's Ultrasuede brand made with EcoDesign™ approached me to ask if Century would partner with them on ProjectUDesign, my only reaction was yes--how and when do we help. A design competion which has challenged 15 SCAD students to design an upholstered wing chair that would be both sustainable and sellable sounded fresh and exciting to me. For Century, the ability to work with a group of students, our industry's future designers and customers, and to see what their vision of such an iconic piece would be, has been educational and ultimately inspiring. Their energy and enthusiasm for furniture and furniture design is uplifting.

As part of the process, we hosted the students and their professor, Jason Wech, at our factories in Hickory, NC. We spent the morning touring our upholstery plant and meeting the various craftspeople who will be challenged to bring the winning design to life. Craig Staton (pictured below), the designer of Century's Natural upholstery collection, presented one of his new designs and spoke to the students about how a designer and manufacturer work together to create and what it takes to bring a design off the paper and into production.

They also were able to watch the complete upholstering process for a wing chair so that they could better understand the way materials combine to bring the furniture to completion. It's one thing to draw something, it is quite another to create it and ensure that what you intended on paper is represented in the actual piece.

The sponsors have already voted to narrowed down the designs to 6 and the public voting will open this Friday, September 3rd. At this point design lovers will be able to select their 3 favorites which we will then showcase in our High Point showroom this October. I am excited to see how people will engage with the designs in voting process and which design will ultimately become the next Century wing chair!