Groovystuff to introduce student designer Michelle Walbert at Casual Market
Sheila O'Mara -- Casual Living, August 17, 2011
Groovystuff will introduce a new product collection from Appalachian State University student Michelle Walbert at the International Casual Furniture Market, to be held Sept. 12-16 at the Chicago Merchandise Mart in showroom 8-4046.
The Deschutes bench by Michelle Walbert is one of several new offerings from Groovystuff that aims to provide retailers with designs to fill the trend gap between young adults and established consumers. These new products give retailers a product that meets the price point of this emerging demographic and the style points that established consumers look for when furnishing their homes.
"As far as class projects go, this one definitely had a high degree of difficulty," said ASU Professor Richard Prisco. "The students had to work with reclaimed teak from Thailand and other components that are part of the Groovystuff line and design a piece that reflects the Dick Idol brand. In addition, their designs had to be environmentally friendly and lend themselves to being mass-produced using sustainable manufacturing practices."
Prisco said he believed that if students could be successful under those parameters, he felt they could design just about anything.
"Buyers and guests at the spring furniture market in High Point showed a lot of interest in the design work of our students," Prisco said. "The students also got an opportunity to network, develop contacts and set up internships. Perhaps industrial-design graduates from Appalachian will one day become the next prominent designers in the furniture industry."
The Deschutes bench was designed specifically for the Casual Market and features reclaimed teak I-beams and sustainable outdoor teak flooring. The reclaimed antique I-beams remain the focal point of the indoor/outdoor design and are highlighted in two-tone with the plantation harvested teak flooring. A flat, lacquer finish softens the contrast between these two types of teak and gives the bench a modern, elegant look. The scale and versatility of the bench make it functional for both indoor and outdoor use.
"Our goal with this competition was to provide students with a platform for creativity and encourage them to embrace the home furnishings industry," said Groovystuff President Chris Bruning. "Sales are where the rubber meets the road, and viral media portals like Facebook, along with feedback from market attendees during the design phase, helped shape these goods into a product line that hits the market at the right price and fits perfectly into the Gen X and Gen Y market category we were targeting."