Sunday, September 12, 2010

Making A Beautiful Choice in Interior Design


Sustainable . . . It’s not exactly a word which brings to mind a sultry, sexy image.  In fact, the concept can be so complex it can create a bit of a yawn. 

Paul Hawken has said:   "Sustainability is about stabilizing the currently disruptive relationship between earth’s two most complex systems—human culture and the living world.” 

A titillating discussion for some, while not so much for others.  I promise, if you’ll stick with me, this post will become more exciting!  (And if you’re an interior designer, who will be attending the High Point Furniture Market, you should continue to read on to the end.  There’s a juicy tid-bit waiting just for you! . . . No reading backwards, either!)

First, here’s the “skinny” on BiOHpolyols ' Project UDesign:

It’s a contest, in collaboration with the Savannah College of Art and Design (On Twitter as @SCADdotedu), Century Furniture, and Toray Ultrasuede, to crowdsource the next generation sustainable wing chair.  (Crowdsourcing is simply where a group or community is asked to participate,through an open call, in order to collaborate on an idea or a project.)  In the case of Project U Design, you get to help to decide, (via your vote), which design, created by one of the students at SCAD, moves forward to actually be manufactured by Century Furniture, a truly glam furniture manufacturer who also happens to be interested in incorporating eco-friendly, sustainable products into their production process.  Beauty isn’t always in the eyes of the beholder, it’s behind the scenes, too!

There are currently six designs and five semi-finalist students in competition for the decision. Between now and Oct. 3rd at 11: 59 pm, everyone can vote for the three finalists. They will be selected only by those who vote online and the 3 finalists will be announced on Monday, Oct. 4th on  Project U Design 

(Okay, I promised to spice things up so I thought you might enjoy a visual reference for all of the key partners in this historical design adventure.  The Tortoise Chair is one of the six designs, for which you can place your vote.  You’re getting warm if you’re wondering about my vote.)

Tortoise Chair

(The Tortoise Chair, designed by Colin Jones.  You can click on this picture to read his comments about this design’s inspiration.)

How can you place your vote?

The voting for the three finalists, (who will be announced on Oct. 4th), will end at 11: 59pm, Tuesday, Oct. 19th. The designer of the chair who has the most votes will win. The winner will be chosen only by online votes and none of the partners or related parties have any say so in the winner. It is completely the public's choice.

What will the winner receive?  (Aside from your vote of confidence?)

1. A thousand dollars from BiOH – immediately!  (What budding new designer couldn’t benefit from that?)

2. Their winning design will be produced and put into Century's regular line up for intro at the Spring 2011 HP Market!  (Can you imagine?  I would have to be tied down with a ton of bricks to keep from hitting the ceiling!)

3. The winning student will be paid royalties by Century on all sales of their winning chair, once it's produced! (Mom and Dad would sure be proud to know “sustainable” could live up to it’s other application!)

4. A lot of publicity!  (You can say you knew them “when” and helped to put them in the pages of “House Beautiful”, “Forbes”, “The New York Times”, or perhaps they’ll even be chatting it up online, with you, as they develop their next big idea!)

Now for My Big Reveal!

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m southern born and bred.  Having created interiors in the Charlotte, NC area, for the last fourteen-plus years, I like to say I have a foot in the past, (as I have an affinity for antiques and history), but with an eye towards the future.  I happily embrace the style which is being referred to the “New Traditional” or “New Classic”.  The Tortoise Chair, by Colin Jones, appears as if it would nest just as comfortably within an antebellum estate or in a mid-century modern ranch.

Project U Design Board

(Please click on my inspiration board to enlarge it for a better view.)

When I looked at Colin’s design, I thought about some long past days when I was in interior design school.  I imagined it might be fun to see if I could utilize the colors of my alma mater, East Carolina University.  They aren’t always the first hues I would think about bringing into an interior – purple and gold – but then . . . 1.  I am an interior designer, after all, and I should be able to address most design requests  . . . and . . . 2.  Purple has been making a grand entrance at recent market events. 


(This was my color combo challenge!  How well did I do?)

Thanks to, I was able to create a custom shade, for a ceiling pendant fixture, which helped me to incorporate another accent color, timely for the fall season. . . Pumpkin!  I also added in a little gray as I envisioned it to be the background color of the walls in this room.  (Painted in Sherwin William’s Harmony paint, of course!)  It was fun, as well, to peruse some of the latest runway fashion statements, as I knew those trends can eventually work their way into the lines created for home interiors.  I loved this photo of singer, Joss Stone.  She had the perfect backdrop as she posed in her embroidered silk dress and with a lovely plum shock of hair!  (I could just envision that dress being made from some draperies yanked down from windows, Scarlett O’Hara style.)  I decided to tweak the original chair’s covering and selected Wild Plum from Ultrasuede’s line-up of eco-friendly fabrics.  (A soft landing at the end of a hard day.)  Duralee provided a great little accent pillow fabric with their line from Clodagh - coincidently, in the color pumpkin!  The modular carpet tiles, from Flor, offered a curvilinear backdrop as well as the “Sensuous” gourd vases from a local Charlotte area gallery, Red Sky.

Good design should always be about making a beautiful choice.  The beauty of the choice will be the one where it’s based on being all about you!  As a designer, I bring it to your home with the selection, the knowledge, and a bit of gentle guidance. 

Please be sure to vote.  The industry needs your feedback to develop sustainable products, which are stable, sultry, and sexy!

Copy (3) of Signature

PS – I didn’t forget my interior designer friends!  Are you attending the High Point Fall Market?  Be sure to put October 18th at 5pm on your calendar.  All registered market/trade attendees are invited to share time with the traditional shelter print press in the Century Furniture showroom.  It’s a great opportunity for mixing and mingling.  Come meet the folks involved in creating your favorite publications!


Maryam in Marrakesh said...

This is just fabulous and so inspired!

Wanda S. Horton - Interior Designer said...

Thank you, Maryam! It was a fun post to do and I hope you'll cast your vote for your favorite design. (You have a fab site, yourself!)

colin said...

I like your choice of the wild plum on my Tortoise chair Wanda! I had considered it as one of the colors in which I would show the chair, although it fell out of the running. Thank you for your interest and spreading the word!

Colin Jones

P.S. Nice support team, what cuties

Storibook Designs said...

Fantastic Post Wanda!! And I love your design board idea based of your alma mater.

Wanda S. Horton - Interior Designer said...

Thank you, Colin! I'm so honored to have your comments, as the creator of the Tortoise Chair! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you and hope my article will spur more people to look at ProjectUDesign as an important event in the home furnishings industry. Collaboration will be key for our futures.

Wanda S. Horton - Interior Designer said...

Thank you, Sarah, for taking the time to comment. Yes, purple and gold is a bit of a design challenge but, thankfully, purple is making a big statement in our current color palette!