2nd Annual Be Original Americas Student Design Fellowship Fully Funded on Kickstarter

Be Original Americas at NYCxDesign

2017 fellowship itinerary finalized to include top design destinations in U.S. and abroad

With donations from 243 backers, Be Original Americas fully funded the Kickstarter Campaign to support the 2nd Annual Student Design Fellowship. $20,901 was raised in total, surpassing the original goal of $20,000.

During NYCxDesign, Be Original Americas was granted a booth at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City. Attendees were given a chance to donate on-the-spot to the Kickstarter, graffiti knockoffs of iconic chairs, and learn about featured original designs by Vitra, Herman Miller, Kartell, Fritz Hansen and Emeco.

In just its second year, the robust fellowship program features trips to showrooms, factories, and design headquarters, not only across the United States, but also overseas in Europe as well. The fellows will receive real-life experience and training in design and research, manufacturing and distribution, and sales and marketing.

For the first time, the fellows will go abroad for a 4-day immersive education and experience at the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany.

This year’s fellows are Irene Lee, a junior studying Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University, and Tom Groom, a double-major in Industrial and Graphic Design and Art minor at UIC. Highly decorated in design already as students, Lee is a designer for Waste Not – a project that aims to reduce post-consumer waste contamination and prevent diversion to landfills – and Groom works at Lots Arts creative space in Chicago, run by Charles Adler (a Kickstarter founder) as well as at the UIC Innovation Center for BMW.

The fellowship program thus far:

In June, fellows will visit many Be Original Americas members including:

  • Carnegie – They will spend two days touring the New York showroom and creative studio. They will be learning hand-on with Carnegie’s innovative marketing and sales teams, as well as participate in two surprise field trips.
  • Flavor Paper – They will experience the process of hand screening. The fellows will mix ink, make a swatch, and travel to the new digital facility in Brooklyn’s Industry City. The day will end atop the roof deck of the headquarters on Pacific Street.
  • FLOS/Lukas Lighting – They will spend the day at FLOS’s custom lighting workshop in Long Island City (program to be announced).
  • Emeco – They will visit the factory in Hanover, Pennsylvania, learning the history of the company and seeing the manufacturing processes behind the Navy Chair and other iconic designs.
  • Design Within Reach – The fellows will visit the main store in Stamford, Connecticut to see where the “magic” happens.  Here they will not only learn about marketing original design, but also about selling it.

At the end of the month, the fellows will visit the new Midtown design district to experience the showrooms of Herman Miller, Carl Hansen & Son, and Moooi as well as the Chilewich store on West 20th Street.

Additionally, they will spend time in SoHo, visiting member showrooms Alessi, FLOS, Gandia Blasco, Kartell, Artemide, and others.

In July, the fellows begin the month visiting the Vitra Campus in Germany.

  • At Vitra fellows will explore all elements of the Campus, getting an in-depth look into architecture with structures designed by Frank O. Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando and others. The fellows will witness operational production and experimentation, ending their trip with visit to the Vitra Haus. This experience will cover much of the curriculum of the fellowship.

The rest of July proves even more enlightening with:

  • Herman Miller – the fellows will see American design and manufacturing firsthand at the Zeeland, Michigan headquarters. They will learn the history behind this iconic manufacturer as well as its progressive marketing methods.
  • Skyline Design – they will travel to Chicago, Illinois to learn the art, creativity, and technologies behind this award-winning, architectural patterned glass manufacturer.
  • Maya Romanoff – they will go from Chicago to Skokie, Illinois will see how the largest manufacturer of hand crafted wallcovering in the United States creates their awe inspiring surfacing materials.
  • Bernhardt Design – the fellows will then head to Lenoir, North Carolina to explore a true American-made manufacturer of award-winning furnishings for home and office.
  • Rich Brilliant Willing – they will return to New York City to tour the new lighting showroom in Manhattan, then head out to Brooklyn to work on product design with one of the company’s founders.

Additional stops include a visit to the studios of Lissoni Inc., Studio Dror, and Suzanne Tick, where they will speak directly to the designers to see how original ideas become reality.

The fellowship program concludes with a week of intensive work on a presentation about their experience. The fellows will detail what they’ve learned over the seven weeks and how it will impact their design future to the Be Original Americas board as their final project.

Updates to the above itinerary are forthcoming.

About Be Original™

Be Original Americas, the non-profit organization founded in 2012, is committed to educating, informing, and influencing designers, businesses, and the greater public on the value of purchasing authentic designs. The goal is to elevate the discussion so that all who appreciate good design also understand the economic, social, and ethical reasons to support the creators and manufacturers of original, authorized design, thereby ensuring its future. For more information, visit www.beoriginalamericas.com.