Category Archives: Uncategorized

#Wilsonartchallenges #ICFF 2019

I am so happy to be working with Wilsonart on the 15th year of their Student Chair Competition. This year’s design school was Kent State University and their students have enchanted the crowds here at ICFF 2019.

To such an extent that we won a Metropolis magazine award! We are here at booth 2213 and hope you can visit.

Canadian Magic!

Last week I was delighted to take part in the excellent Wood at Work 2018 conference. My thanks to Forests Ontario for the above photo of me at the end of the stage quickly taking as many notrs as possible. By the end of the 2 days my notes were over an inch thick. This is certainly a conference to attend if you are involved in specifying or using wood.

I really enjoyed catching up with the ever engaging, and one of our most intelligent commentators on archictecture and sustainability, Lloyd Alter. I highly recommend that you visit his website – – I promise you will find it one of the most useful resources in North America.

Earlier in October I had the great honour of speaking at the Greenbuilding Festival 2018 organized by Sustainable Buildings Canada. This show is already scheduled for October 8 2019 at the Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre. I highly recommend this event too.

For me it is incredible to be given the opportunities to speak at these powerful gatherings and to meet researchers, scientists, builders and entrepreneurs who are committed to building a sustainable way for humans to live here on Earth. It can be done. Watch this space.

LIVE from AIA NY Center for Architecture

Currently being broadcast to architecture and design firms nationwide Grace Jeffers giving her Global Forestry CEU lecture.

Architects and designers across the country are invited to participate in the second annual National Day of Learning. For decades, architects and designers have specified wood to bring warmth and beauty to their work. Many in the architecture and design community believe that since trees can be replanted, they’re a renewable source. Unfortunately, trees are renewable, forests are not.

Over 1000 guests have already  logged in to watch this highly respected speaker discuss how designers will save the world.

Register to participate in the 3:00pm ET Livestream

National Day of Learning October 3rd 2018

Wilsonart announces a renewed commitment to help educate architects and designers (A&D) about using responsibly sourced wood materials. To further support the A&D community, Wilsonart is conducting a second National Day of Learning event, launching a cross country education tour, adding new content to its educational hub, and renewing its grant to Interlochen Arts Academy – reaching tomorrow’s designers, today.

Please join us Oct. 3 for a live-streamed CEU: Global Forestry 101 with Grace Jeffers, thought-leader, design historian and materials expert, who will tackle the lack of understanding within the industry about which woods and forests are endangered or threatened, and educate about which woods should not be sourced.

Wilsonart invites architects and designers across the U.S. to join us via livestream on the topic of Global Forestry and what architects and designers need to know to protect their practices. The CEU will take place on October 3rd, 2018 from The Center for Architecture in NYC . The Global Forestry CEU, which is accredited by AIA and IDCEC, will be streamed live and presented by Grace Jeffers, an American writer, historian and educator, who is known for an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to the study of materials.

Here is the link to the registration page.

Wilsonart Challenges Chair Design Competition 2018 Begins…

The journey to next year’s ICFF begins today

The College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) at Kent State University is the setting for this year’s chair competition. Grace is delighted to be working closely with the great Pamela Evans, Ph.D., FIDEC, IIDA, LEED AP – who is the Director of the Interior Design Program and Associate Professor.

The chair class, as ever is made up of an eclectic group of architecture and design students who are blissfully unaware of what lies ahead. Grace’s famous chair drawing class gave them an inkling of what is to come. This class is a marathon review of chair history, narrated by Grace and drawn by the students. They complete over a 100 drawings in as many minutes and is designed to re-program any preconceptions the students may have about chairs.

There now follows a period of intense learning about the material they will use to build their chairs – Wilsonart laminate. The theme for this year’s competition is Parametric Design and Digital Fabrication in which Kent State University is a leader. We look forward to reviewing the designs to come and to ICFF 2019.

Wilsonart presents MECA Chair Design Winners

ICFF 2018 starts this Sunday. I am so excited about this 14th year of the Wilsonart Challenges Chair Design Competition. Each year I work with some of the most talented designers and their professors. This year we worked with Maine College of Art (MECA) and the theme was how trees make us feel. Trust me their work will knock your socks off. Visit us at Wilsonart booth number 2211.

The 14th Wilsonart Challenges Student Chair Design Competition encouraged Maine College of Art students to explore the theme of Wood, Trees and the Forest; to capture what happens
to us when we stand in the forest and be alone with a tree. This theme reflects both the importance of the timber industry in Maine and Wilsonart’s commitment to educate
architects and designers about responsibly sourced wood. #design #trees #icff2018

Wilsonart, with Top Architects and Designers, Champions Responsible Forestry

Wilsonart’s educational initiative “Understanding Wood: Sourcing Against the Grain” works with leading architects and designers to raise awareness of endangered woods and provides tools to find alternate materials that meet their high aesthetic and functional needs.
Understanding Wood offers the A&D community CEUs, presentations, educational materials, infographics and research papers on this critical conservation issue. Tammy Weadock, Wilsonart Marketing Communications Manager elaborates, “This will help save protected forests, endangered wildlife and the very air we breathe.”
Key components of the Understanding Wood educational initiative include:

National Day of Learning CEU



Wilsonart invites architects and designers across the U.S. to participate in an annual National Day of Learning CEU on the topic of Global Forestry and what they need to know to protect their practices. The National Day of Learning CEU takes place each October at The Center for Architecture in NYC. The event will be livestreamed and over 3000 designers tuned in last year. The Global Forestry CEU, accredited by AIA and IDCEC, is presented by American designer and writer Grace Jeffers. Grace is world-renowned for her interdisciplinary and integrated approach to the design and study of materials. She is also the author of the Global Forestry CEU and “Design for Global Forestry” White Paper.

Wilsonart also sponsors a nationwide lecture tour which has already visited A&D firms in New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Minneapolis, Michigan, San Francisco, Los Angeles and more. Firms have responded positively to the content and the convenience of having an in-house presentation that is an approved AIA and IDCEC CEU.

Interlochen Arts Academy Partnership

Situated on a 1,200-acre campus near Traverse City, Michigan, Interlochen Arts Academy is one of America’s premiere arts educational institutions. It draws young people from around the world to study music, theater, dance, visual arts, creative writing, motion picture arts and comparative arts. Wilsonart has underwritten curriculum exploring “The Art of Ecology” and “The Ecology of Art.” As part of the course material, California artists Daniel McCormick and Mary O’Brien, who collaborate on ecological art installations that respond to environmental issues, have visited the campus and worked with the students on art installations within the forests at Interlochen. Additionally, Wilsonart is supporting the transformation of a Red Pine plantation forest, located on the Interlochen campus, into a natural, native forest. Phase one, which initiated in late 2017 and will take place throughout 2018, involves selective thinning of the existing forest and the reintroduction of native species.

Understanding Wood Online Hub

Wilsonart has launched an education hub with all materials developed for the program on The hub acts both as a resource for the A&D community and a gallery of Interlochen students’ blog posts, videos and perspectives on this critical issue.
Responding to discussions with the A&D community, Wilsonart has developed a comprehensive range of laminate surfaces inspired by the beauty of natural wood with the intention of protecting our remaining global forests. Wilsonart designers and engineers have created beautiful and durable laminate surfaces that look precisely like their real wood inspiration, perform as only engineered materials can, and give designers the freedom to realize their design vision while keeping trees in the forests.

See full article on this link.

I’m a Design Hound!

I am so happy to be part of this wonderful pack of creatives. We are all part of the NKBA Insiders 2018.  The NKBA program brings a renewed purpose to empower the industry through the sharing of actionable global design insights.

Each of the NKBA Insider was hand selected as the thought leader in his or her area of design expertise and for an ability to push boundaries and infuse global knowledge and experience into a growing kitchen and bath industry to positively impact the residential built environment.

NKBA Insiders are tasked with a specific design focus.  Each will travel the globe throughout the year and report back on findings and areas of opportunity for business growth to brands and designers. Topics were selected by the NKBA in a collaborative effort to focus on those topics of most interest to firm owners and manufacturers as they make critical growth planning decisions for their businesses and plan to navigate the global design market.

The 2018 Insiders will uncover insights and report back on the following areas of design focus: Bobby Berk – multi-generational and convertible living spaces; Bob Borson – design technology; Grace Jeffers (ME!) – materials and products for Good Living (health, wellness and sustainability); Stacey Bewkes – authentic luxury; Beth Dotolo and Carolina Gentry – artisans and makers; and Elle H-Millard – business of design.

We are all heading to Milan later this month. More details to follow.

#NKBAInsiders #dhMilan2018

Design for Global Forestry – AIA Presentation and White Paper Launch

Last Wednesday, October 18th, I presented my newly updated Global Forestry lecture in the AIA’s Centre for Architecture New York as part of Wilsonart’s National Day of Learning.

I am linking here to a review of the lecture from

And here is a link to the survey results and a link to my white paper – Design for Global Forestry.

You can also see a recording of the presentation here.

The responses have been overwhelming and I really believe we are turning the thought leaders of architects and designers on to the concept that trees may be renewable bit forests are not. I am looking forward to bringing this message to larger audiences in 2018.

We must do all we can to protect our global forests.