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

 GRACE JEFFERS, NATIONAL DAY OF LEARNING PRESENTER AND AUTHOR OF "GLOBAL FORESTRY 101." 

GRACE JEFFERS, NATIONAL DAY OF LEARNING PRESENTER AND AUTHOR OF “GLOBAL FORESTRY 101.”

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 Wilsonart.com. 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 Treehugger.com.

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.

 

 

National Day of Learning – Global Forestry

In a recent national survey conducted by SMS Research Advisors for Wilsonart, 70 percent of architects and designers agree that using responsibly sourced wood materials is a priority. The challenge: 99 percent could not correctly identify the majority of endangered woods from a list they were given. Furthermore, the survey revealed awareness that a wood is endangered does not always prevent usage. Up to 51 percent of endangered wood users are aware that the wood is endangered or threatened, but 40 percent of respondents said they would still specify an endangered wood if their client specifically requested it.

“We learned from this survey that professionals in the industry need to be more informed about the materials they specify,” said Tammy Weadock, Communications Manager at Wilsonart. “The largest knowledge gap exists where it could impact architects and designers the most, in their own practices.” To bridge this deep gap in awareness, knowledge and action in specifying products, Wilsonart is launching Understanding Wood: Sourcing Against the Grain, an educational initiative for architects and designers. The program aims to educate architects and designers not only on how to identify endangered and threatened woods, but to equip them to find alternate materials that meet their aesthetic and functional needs.

“The design community is largely unaware that while trees are renewable, forests are not,” said Weadock. “Aside from the lack of knowledge about specific endangered woods, designers and architects are even less informed about the rules and regulations in protected forests and the logging that happens there. Forty-two percent did not know what makes a forest protected, and only 24 percent were very familiar with the Lacey Act, which makes using responsibly harvested wood not only an ethical choice, but a legal responsibility.” Wilsonart’s program will offer the A&D community CEUs, presentations, educational materials, infographics and a white paper on this critical conservation issue. “We are urging architects and designers to use properly sourced wood materials,” Weadock noted. “This will help save protected forests, endangered wildlife and the very air we breathe.”

Key components of Understanding Wood include:

  • A National Day of Learning. Wilsonart invites architects and designers across the U.S. to join in person or online for a CEU on the topic of Global Forestry and what architects and designers need to know to protect their practices. The CEU will take place October 18, 2017 at The Center for Architecture in NYC and will be livestreamed twice that day so participants outside of NYC can join. The Global Forestry CEU, which is accredited by AIA and IDCEC, will be presented by Grace Jeffers, thought leader, design historian and materials expert, who is known for an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to the study of materials.
  • A Global Forestry White Paper. Knowing how complex this issue is, a white paper has been created to provide the A&D community a comprehensive overview of the subject and steps they can take to protect their practice.
  • A Partnership with the Interlochen Academy of the Arts. Situated on a 1,200-acre campus near Traverse City, Michigan, Interlochen Academy of the Arts 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, artists Daniel McCormick and Mary O’Brien will visit the campus and collaborate with 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 takes place in late 2017 and throughout 2018, involves selective thinning of the existing forest and the reintroduction of native species.
  • An Educational Hub. In the fall, 2017, Wilsonart will launch an education hub with all materials developed for the program on Wilsonart.com/understanding-wood. The hub will act both as a resource for the A&D community and a gallery of Interlochen students’ blog posts, videos and perspectives about the issue.

 

 

Great Laminate Article from VLK Architects

Plastic Laminate. We use and see it every day whether we realize it or not, but still the name Plastic Laminate can make you wrinkle your nose in disgust. But why?

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Arborite factory facility in beautiful Montreal! I loved the experience and learned a ton, but I think the most important thing I learned is that using Plastic Laminate and other man-made or “fake” materials isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be a very good thing for a number of reasons. Arborite’s historian and materials expert, Grace Jeffers, gave a very enlightening presentation entitled, Man-made Natural; the Truth about Fake Materials. The presentation basically boiled down to when you should use a “fake” or man-made material vs. the “real” or natural thing.

Read full article here.

Metropolis Magazine on Wilsonart Chair Competition 2017

am delighted that Metropolis Magazine covered our competition at this years ICFF. Please follow the link to their review which opens as follows:

“If there is one object that remains a source of endless fascination for designers, it is undoubtedly the chair. For the past 13 years, the Wilsonart Challenges Student Chair Design Competition has been presenting students across the United States with this ultimate test. Hosted by a different design school each year, the program is both a competition and a yearlong class, during which students are tasked with designing and building a one-of-a-kind chair, while also preparing for a major trade show. Wilsonart supplies the materials and technical expertise; design historian Grace Jeffers oversees the program and provides it with a much-needed historical framework.”

Read the full article here

Cusp 2016 Releases Presentation Video

One of the highlights of my year was speaking at the Cusp conference. Cusp is not a ‘how to design things’ conference. It’s eclectic by design, intended to provoke cross-pollination of ideas and generate new thinking. Attendees enjoy 25+ inspiring and thought-provoking presentations by people who are passionate about designing a better future. Every attendee has the opportunity to see every presentation—there are no breakouts or q+a sessions. You can book a place by clicking here: Cusp 2017.

ASID SCALE tops off frantic lecture schedule

Grace gave two lectures at The ASID SCALE event last weekend in Oklahoma University. This is ASID’s National Student Summit formerly known as LAUNCH is a one-of-a-kind, multi-day conference for interior design students includes seminars for educators and ASID chapter leaders.

Grace’s Manmade Natural and Global Forestry 101 were very well attended with standing room only for both. The ASID Scale event marked the end of a frantic lecture schedule that started with her appearance in The New York School of Interior Design before flying to Montreal to present to 60 plus IDCEC attendees.

Her next major lecture is in Chicago at the Cabinets & Closets Conference at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Wednesday April 12 and Thursday April 13.  Click here to register.