Design & Designer: SCAD | Furniture World Magazine

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In this issue of the "Design and Designer" series, Furniture World interviewed SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) Professor Sheila Edwards and SCAD Furniture Design Vice Chairman Fred Spector. Spector is also the founder of Frederic Spector Design Studio, a design company specializing in commercial and residential furniture, lighting and desktop products. Spector completed graduate work in industrial design at the Rhode Island School of Design and studied furniture design at the Philadelphia University of the Arts. He interacts with students in many ways. In addition to teaching studio design courses, Spector is also responsible for providing professional practice courses for recent graduates. He explained: “It covers everything from creating a portfolio to understanding the business of becoming a freelance furniture designer,”

Sheila Edwards took a more adventurous approach and became a professor of furniture design. After graduating from Marquette University in Milwaukee, she worked in the field of psychology for several years. She recalled: “Then, I worked in the public school system in New Mexico for a few years, then worked in Alaska’s fisheries, as a photographer’s assistant, and held several other positions before I found the pursuit of art and design. The voice of the profession...

"I went to Haystack Mountain Craft School, where I took classes with Joe Stone, an outstanding furniture manufacturer and teacher. She showed me the potential of furniture because it can shape social behavior and provide the best for people. Support for life. At that time, I returned to Cleveland, became a carpenter’s apprentice, attended SCAD’s graduate school, became a custom metal manufacturer, returned to SCAD, and finally opened a furniture design course. People and functional objects And how people develop and give meaning to these objects based on their physical, social and emotional functions."

Students from multiple disciplines at SCAD participated in Sheila Edwards' furniture history course. "Our students come from furniture design, as well as industrial design, architecture, interior design, game development and film production design. This is very cooperative."

"Furniture World" asked her if she thinks the topics covered in the SCAD furniture design course are useful for furniture retailers.

"Of course," she replied. "History is cyclical. Therefore, if retailers and manufacturers can correctly identify the causes of certain styles, materials, shapes, and color trends, then they can foresee the next trends.

"We are in a multifaceted moment with many trends happening at the same time. It is personal style in many ways, but certain themes are emerging. Understanding the historical cycle can help brands and retailers tell a story that resonates with customers. Moreover, since today’s consumers like to “buy” stories and furniture together, it makes sense to be able to link history and design information from a sales perspective."

"New design is developing," Edwards continued. "The term Neoteny refers to the larger circular features that appear in young animals. We see cute, chubby furniture that incorporates larger shapes and forms.

"This trend may be a response to the high levels of stress and anxiety in society over the past few years. I remember seeing mushroom-shaped and pill-shaped designs at the Milan fashion show in 2013. During the pandemic, we saw these The form becomes more mainstream, soft colors, peach pink and soft rust (earth color)."

"New design is not yet popular in the mass market," Fred Spector explained, "but this phenomenon can be seen in the European market, and it appears in smaller boutique furniture manufacturers who have introduced softness, Round, coquettish and even childlike form.

"In outdoor furniture, a similar trend has been around for some time. This type of furniture has large and heavy pillow cushions that wrap the nanny. Several companies have done a good job in appearance."

After the "Spanish flu" pandemic 100 years ago, people went wild in the roaring 1920s. The furniture world asked Sheila Edwards whether we might see similar social events or a trend towards more luxurious designs if the current epidemic subsides.

"We have seen many Art Deco styles that originated in the 1920s. But now that this is a century-old primitive habit that has reappeared, or the market is anticipating the end of the pandemic and the revival after a difficult period. Too early."

Edwards said: "Some large, round, rounded shapes and oversized tufts that are currently popular are closely related to Art Deco designs.

"Decorative art is a new style of the new century, a style of war. It is a variant of the work done by modernists in architecture and interior design at that time, but it has a style that the Bauhaus did not have. Luxurious elements. The Art Deco style combines exquisite materials in a fairly simple form. Designer Jean-Michel Frank emphasized the concept of simple forms and rich materials.

"If we think that Art Deco is the'future of luxury', I think this trend will continue, but millennials think that luxury goods may be different from the past. I think this new luxury and materials, craftsmanship It is related to the source of the beautiful story."

According to Fred Spector, as wood becomes more expensive, finishing becomes more and more important. "In the past, designers could specify the use of solid walnuts, but due to cost reasons, this is not possible for most applications today. This is why the brand abandoned the purely traditional furniture design we saw in the industry in the past. "He explained. "As the finishes get better and better, designers have reduced the decor and emphasized layered finishes. It is easier and more cost-effective.

"We have seen that larger retailers require designers to design furniture with more texture and eye-catching patterns. The drawer front panels usually cast from resin materials are usually made of wood carving or solid wood, and then look like wood. It is affordable in a way that consumers cannot tell.

Spector believes that some of these changes that are different from the traditional design of selling wood are also driven by changes in consumer lifestyles. “Most people don’t need a super formal dining room other than a dining kitchen. They are looking for furniture that can do this. The classic, formal sturdy cherry restaurant owned by our parents or grandparents just doesn’t match today’s lifestyle. "

Spector said: "Medieval modern and Scandinavian designs will continue to be popular with their honest and unpretentious style." At the recent High Point October exhibition, these designs were all over Interhall.

"In manufacturing, boutique companies have largely succeeded in producing mid-century designs. Larger manufacturers have chosen to incorporate mid-century modern designs into their production lines in subtle ways. Currently, designers are seeing Large furniture manufacturers are more interested in modern design, even those who don’t usually touch modern styles. They want to introduce it with mixed media and metal elements. A combination of metal and wood, or metal, wood and weave The combination of objects can combine different patterns, materials and textures."

Spector also predicts that home office design will soon have major innovations. During the pandemic, the demand for home offices has grown rapidly. It may take a year to develop a new furniture production line, and we are still dealing with supply chain issues. The industry is just beginning to realize that we need to meet a new set of home office needs. Enterprises have moved from office cubicles to open office plans. I think we will see a lot of things entering the family. West Elm has a contract department, which can be purchased through Steelcase. Blue Dot has a similar arrangement. We will continue to see the trend of combining the design and production of residential and contract home office furniture. "

He believes: "There are continuing opportunities to achieve innovations in storage and organization. Most sofa designs and under the bed have a lot of wasted space." Spector said people need to be able to accommodate new technologies and adapt to changing needs to accommodate all Storage of items.

Spector continued: "The public buying furniture is seeking more connections with handmade products. Amish companies, which may have been marginalized in the furniture industry, are becoming more and more important. Major industry players have already noticed this. Trends. The association with handicrafts and handmade products has become a trend, and this trend will continue in more and more interesting ways. Retailers such as Crate and Barrel and Restoration Hardware have put them on their websites In some places, they talk about local handicrafts and incorporate products into their product portfolio.

"There are other companies that are working to launch furniture with a handmade feel, including Ethan Allen and McKinnon, and high-end handmade outdoor furniture manufacturer Harris.

"Jay Anna Mize and Gary Inman recently had a conversation with a group of SCAD students on how crafts can enter the market. I remember Mize talking about how Norwalk Furniture introduced the fabrics designed by Jill Seale Mize said that Seale’s technology is based on ancient Italian paper marble patterns, bringing the appearance and story of local craftsmanship to these upholstered fabric designs.

International process technology also plays a greater role. We have seen that handmade ceramics, which have become less important, will reappear in a great way as part of the handmade trend. "

Sheila Edwards agrees that the appearance of handicrafts is becoming more and more important. "SCAD students have a real blood relationship with William Morris and the arts and crafts movement from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, which makes people question the social and manufacturing structure of the Industrial Revolution, which focuses on handicrafts.

"Today, we are seeing the rise of companies like Etsy ( Their products reflect the craft movement-the desire for authenticity and the knowledge of the author of the work.

"Furniture buyers want to hear the crafting stories and production stories attached to the furniture collection, so that the furniture is more exciting and can be used by retail customers."

"Interestingly, American style is reviving." Edwards saw more Windsor chairs, trestle tables and American furnishings. "We now have an interesting relationship with neoclassicism. The classics have never really been out of date. Moreover, this trend is a very clear and recognizable indicator that people find comfort in the familiarity of classical forms."

The modernist architect Henry Sullivan said: "Whether it is a flying eagle, an open apple blossom, a spicy horse, a flirting swans, a branched oak tree, a meandering stream at the bottom, and floating clouds, For all strong suns, form follows function. This is the law. Where the function does not change, the form does not change. Granite rocks, deep hills, endure for a long time. Lightning lives, deforms and instantly dies."

Regarding form and function, Sheila offered her view that the basic function of furniture items "must be considered first, and functional decoration is a secondary consideration." Furniture can also meet social and emotional needs. "A function is beyond the basic requirements of sitting, sleeping or eating positions." "

She directed the readers of "Furniture World" to the work of two authors. Donald Norman is the author of "Emotional Design: Why We Love or Hate Everyday Things", and Mihalie Chixent Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's article "Why We Need Things" tracks the meaning of objects in our homes. . These are good sources for understanding consumers' motivations for purchasing household items.

Edwards pointed out, "The pandemic has led to new ways of using houses. I have seen many very clever and interesting home settings that can accommodate work, study and children. We have seen the need for practical solutions. A sharp increase. Seeing the residual impact on the balance between function and practicality will continue to move forward."

"SCAD students are very interested in designing objects that meet personal and social emotional, social and functional needs," Professor Edwards observed. "They think this is the path to sustainable development and a meaningful life.

"That's why participating in the high point market usually opens their eyes. From brands to manufacturers, from buyers to designers, from international trade to domestic production, the entire industry is huge; students suddenly realized that their How much work (and opportunities) it will take to get the idea from paper to the customer’s home...and then pass it on to future generations.

"In a typical furniture store, what young consumers say they want and what they can get is sometimes out of touch. Many of our students at SCAD are trying to fill this gap. They can afford IKEA prices, but they Want something that can establish a more personalized connection, and want to keep the next move.

"This is why many furniture design students choose to design furniture that is easy to assemble and easy to transport but with higher-quality materials and craftsmanship details-disposable, portable, multifunctional and affordable."

Finally, Fred Spector talked about the career prospects of furniture design students. "There are thousands of universities in the country that teach interior design, but for those who want to learn how to become a furniture designer, only a few schools teach real furniture design like SCAD. He said: "There are many furniture companies Need design help, and not many schools teach furniture design. "

SCAD students are fully prepared to enter the labor market. They were exposed to the best technology and the most interesting and intimate part of the craft. They studied the commercial aspects of furniture design and conducted a lot of research. Although some of our students continue to be "makers" after graduation, most of them work as furniture designers. They spend a lot of time in wood shops and metal shops to understand the manufacturing process and manufacturing process of furniture, which is indeed a benefit.

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Last Updated: 1/31/2021

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