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Two Students Win Groovystuff by Design Contest at the Las Vegas Market

Furniture World News


Home furnishings manufacturer Groovystuff announced the winners of its "Groovystuff by Design: Connecting Education with Industry Challenge." Mike Herbert from Columbia College and Eric Sia from Southern Illinois University - Carbondale placed first in the “Popular Vote At Market” at the recent Las Vegas Market held January 28 – February 1, for their environmentally friendly product designs and innovative contributions to the home furnishings industry.

Mike Herbert and Eric Sia competed against undergraduates from their respective schools to design an environmentally friendly product that reflects the celebrity Dick Idol Legends brand and can be produced using sustainable manufacturing practices. Students produced miniature models and product display boards for market attendees to vote on during the Las Vegas Market. “The Vail Chair” by Mr. Herbert, Columbia College and “The Savanna Magazine Rack” by Eric Sia of Southern Illinois University – Carbondale were voted “Most marketable and most likely to show a profit” by Retailers, Interior Designers, and trade professionals attending market.

Herbert is a junior at Columbia College Chicago majoring in product design. For the Groovystuff by Design Challenge, Mike was inspired by art deco architecture and the glory days of the American past when he designed a rustic modern lounge chair that “James Bond would feel comfortable in”. Eric Sia is a senior at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale majoring in Industrial Design. According to Eric, “"The design brief was to develop a home decor product that will enhance the modern rustic design life style. My inspiration came from the different types of materials. I was drawn to the light colored Eucalyptus cut pieces and the larger teak branches and the contrast between the two colors of light and dark. The Savanna Natural Rack is a magazine, news paper and book holder that has the aesthetic that will complement a room with modern rustic feel with its simple design. Nature is simple; it can exist in a grand scale or in the smallest details; it’s authentic, elegant, and pure. Sometimes nature provides a gift, an inspiration to bring together the most unique combinations of Mother Nature’s treasures to create a divine perfection, the Savanna Nature Rack." Each student will receive a $250 cash prize along with permanent royalties for life.

When asked about the Groovystuff design experience Eric Sia had this to say, “The challenge was a very productive learning experience that opened a new horizon in the design world for me. I enjoyed working with the materials but it was tuff, however it expanded my knowledge which I'm thankful for. I would like to thank Groovystuff for giving me the opportunity to be part of the design challenge.”

Mike Herbert had these comments to share, “I’m very thankful and so encouraged that my chair won the Popular Vote at Market for the Groovystuff Challenge. When my professor of my furniture design class, Mark Klein, announced the project last fall, my class and I were extremely excited, and we all did so well in helping each other turn out an amazing level of quality and creativity! I’m so thankful for all of them and for the chance to be creative with reclaimed materials that really stretched our boundaries as urbanite design students in Chicago!”

The University Hall of Innovation & Job Creation is an industry co-operative founded in 2011 by Chris Bruning that bridges the gap between education and the residential home furnishings industry. The University Hall provides an invaluable opportunity for students and professors to network with retailers, designers, manufacturers, suppliers, journalists, and industry professionals. To introduce graduates to the residential home furnishings industry, Chris Bruning created the Groovystuff by Design: Connecting Education with Industry Challenge. In stage one of the contest, students compete for the "popular vote" and a cash prize at the High Point or Las Vegas wholesale furniture markets where Groovystuff maintains permanent showrooms. Students submit a 20" x 30" product board; a 1/4" scale model, and a 42" tall pedestal for display and presentation to retailers, designers, and trade professionals attending the markets. Stage Two of the process sees the winning innovative designs from Stage One put into production and launched six months later at the following wholesale market. Those Student prototypes then compete for the grand prize of "Most Orders Written at Market" and the winner rewarded with an additional cash prize, inclusion in the celebrity endorsed Dick Idol Legends Collection, permanent royalties for life, and motivation to join the residential home furnishings industry.

About Groovystuff: Founded in 1998 by Chris Bruning, Groovystuff designs, produces, and distributes unique reclaimed teakwood home furnishings at upper-medium and high-end price points. Based in Dallas, it has permanent showrooms in High Point, NC (The Suites at Market Square, G-1025), Las Vegas (World Market Center, B-146), Dallas, TX (Dallas World Trade Center, 6th Floor, Showroom 6684), and once a year at the International Casual Furniture Market in Chicago, IL (The Merchandise Mart, No. 8-4046). For more information, visit www.groovystuff.com.

Committed to sustainable manufacturing and environmental accountability, Groovystuff’s vision is to assist its retail customers in growing their businesses sustainably. Designed for today’s lifestyles and inspired by yesterday’s antiquities, Groovystuff now offers Seven unique residential collections: Prairie, Iron Horse, Adirondack, Back to the Roots, Kodiak, Rocky Mountain, and the recently launched Antares Lighting Collection. Each group features pieces designed with the foundation of style, value, longevity and preservation of natural resources.

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