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From Home Furnishing Business

Fall Design Challenge Includes 60+ Students

More than 60 students from Florida State University, the University of Minnesota and Auburn University will participate in the “Groovystuff by Design: Connecting Education with Industry Challenge” for the fall 2014 academic semester.

Students taking part in the eco-friendly furniture challenge will debut their final design projects at the Oct. 17-23 High Point Furniture Market in “The University Hall of Innovation & Job Creation.”
Groovystuff, a Dallas-based designer that creates reclaimed teak wood furniture, sponsors the design challenge, a sustainable program that has been endorsed and repeated at Auburn University, the University of Minnesota, Appalachian State University and the University of Idaho. The educational platform established in 2010 by Chris Bruning of Groovystuff also has been endorsed by Southern Illinois University, Columbia College in Chicago, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, North Carolina State University, Purdue University, the Art Institute of Las Vegas, the University of Georgia, KMITL in Bangkok, Thailand and Appalachian State University.

In the design challenge, students are required to design an accessory, accent or occasional home furnishings product that utilizes or reconfigures the reclaimed material that exemplifies the Groovystuff product line and is competitive enough via written orders at market to be included in the company’s catalog. The three universities will debut the results of the design challenge at the fall High Point Market next to the “Made in America” Pavilion in “The University Hall of Innovation & Job Creation,” at the Suites at Market Square.
Auburn University has conducted the Groovystuff by Design Challenge for four consecutive years, and this fall, Professor Tin-Man Lau has included 12 students from Auburn Universities sister school in Taiwan, Shu-Te University. Twelve senior-level design students and one graduate student from the Product Design Department will join 22 other students in the Industrial & Graphics Design department at Auburn to participate in the challenge. Students from Taiwan will have an extra bonus to their education with the added exposure of understanding how to successful launch a home furnishings product here in the United States.

When asked what it meant for the University of Minnesota to adopt “The Groovystuff by Design Challenge” for the second time, Professor Abi Asojo had this to share: “Groovystuff provides a great academic and industry collaboration. Their program offers students the opportunity to collaborate with industry allowing them to understand the conceptualizing, designing and building of a light fixture using sustainable materials from the company's line. I am excited about the opportunity available for my students to collaborate with practice and actually create a prototype.”

The University Hall of Innovation & Job Creation is an industry co-operative founded by Chris Bruning that bridges the gap between education and the residential home furnishings industry. The University Hall of Innovation & Job Creation provides an invaluable opportunity for students and professors to network with retailers, designers, manufacturers, suppliers, journalists and industry professionals at the High Point Market.

Students from each school will submit 20-by-30-inch product board, one-quarter scale model and 42-inch tall pedestal for their models for a chance to compete in the “Popular Vote at Market” for the High Point Market. The winning design from each school will receive a $250 cash prize.

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