The second annual Be Original Americas Student Design Fellowship is winding down. Have you been following along on their adventures? Get a behind the scenes look at what Tom and Irene been learning via our weekly recaps here.
In their final week, the Fellows visited local NYC showrooms, including Suzanne Tick, Studio Dror, Fritz Hansen and Luceplan. Then, Tom and Irene spent the day with Rich Brilliant Willing to tour both their showroom and studio.
How was visiting showrooms in week 7 different than in week 1?
Irene: Walking into the showroom during week 7, I definitely felt more comfortable and open to ask questions. Before the fellowship, I would visit showrooms but rarely sit in the chairs or look under them for a glance at their constructions. The many showroom visits in New York gave me the opportunity to interact with Marketing Directors, PR & Communications Coordinators, and Managing Directors and learn about their roles within the company. In addition, every visit included both sitting in the chairs, examining fixtures, and exploring collections to learn about each company’s story.
Tom: It was really good to get back to New York and get to visit some more showrooms. Since the beginning of the experience, I feel I have gained a lot of confidence and have been able to deal with an “imposter syndrome” which I definitely felt I had before my experience with Be Original Americas. I have come to realize that people who work in design, even those in showrooms, love design and that given the chance they’ll chew your ear off about their favorite pieces. This confidence has extended to many other areas including talking about the industry as a whole, and it was great to get the chance to speak to some designers (like Suzanne Tick and Dror Benshetrit) in the final week and hear about their professional experiences and their personal development through their careers.
What did you take away about the creative process from the tour of RBW’s studio?
Irene: There were small scale foam models, 1:1 cardboard models, and 3D printed models lined up along the bench and hanging from the ceiling in RBW’s studio. There were also sketches pinned up to the walls to pair with the models. Everything seemed very hands-on and seeing the prototypes develop into the final product was amazing. Theo’s narratives on the reasons for adjustments in designs, methods in making fasteners invisible to the eye, and preferences in certain materialities were insightful and exciting to hear about. My impression of the studio very much reminded me of my own studio space in school and definitely gave me a push of desire to go back to school and start creating.
Tom: Charles, Alex and Theo were able to impart so much information in such a short time, it was amazing, there were definitely a few key takeaways for me. Always be making: being noticed or getting a chance to “make it” can be based totally on luck, but if it happens you had better have something to show. Get real: if you want to make something, make it practical—design it beautiful but make sure you design it for manufacturing, assembly, installation and use also. Follow your passions, but not blindly: rationalize what you want to do and whether you can afford to do it, if a market is too competitive and not where your strengths are, pivot and adjust.