Project UDesign Eco-ChallengeJuly 23, 2010
Cargill's BiOH polyols business has launched Project UDesign, a furniture design competition to design a sustainable and sellable upholstered wing chair.
The competition is open to students majoring in furniture design at Savannah College of Art and Design. The contest will engage the entire furniture industry and consumers to select the winning chair design at October High Point Market. Project UDesign will culminate in an award presentation at High Point Market during the WithIt Student Mentoring Luncheon on Oct. 20.
North Carolina-based Century Furniture, a 2009 AHFA SAGE award finalist and Sustainable Furnishings Council member, has pledged to put the new wing chair into production after the winner is named this fall. The winner of Project UDesign will receive a $1,000 award from Cargill's BiOH poyols business; and Century will pay a royalty for each unit of the winning chair design it sells.
Project UDesign also is sponsored by Toray International's brand of Ultrasuede upholstery covers, which are made using the company's EcoDesign manufacturing process.
Six semifinalists will be named in early September after students have completed the SCAD course, based on evaluations by a panel of industry experts. On Sept. 7, this group of designs will be displayed on BiOH polyols various social media channels, including the ExperienceBiOH.com blog and You Tube, where consumers can vote for their favorite, with the three finalists announced on Monday, Oct. 4, and voting continuing online through Tuesday, Oct.19.
During October Market, designs from the three student finalists will also be displayed in Century's High Point showroom in Market Square, where market attendees will also be invited to vote. On Wednesday, Oct. 20, all votes--online and in Century's showroom--will be tallied and the winner announced at WithIt's student mentoring luncheon that day.
"The goal of Project UDesign is to educate the industry and consumers on the topic of sustainable furniture design,” said Yusuf Wazirzada, general manager of Cargill’s polyols business. "Research shows a significant percentage of consumers are seeking information about eco-friendly furnishings options and also that the furniture manufacturers and retailers who communicate their environmentally focused initiatives can win favor with these shoppers."