// BarryBlog //

A creative dumping ground for issues that interest me personally and professionally, with the thought they may interest you too. Issues such as the business of design, the design of business, the design of objects, design strategy, creative direction, innovation, creativity, thought leadership, observations, as well as recommendations, mid-century modern decorative arts and architecture, and the state of my thinking (and currently the state of my heart).

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Acuity Behind the Scenes: via Continuum Milan

Since having posted on Design Continuum and the Acuity Chair by Allsteel previously, I had the distinct privilege to speak one-on-one with Continuum's co-founding partner and director of their Milan office Bruce Fifield for about 10-15 minutes on Tuesday at NEOCON 2008. He shared his philosophy behind the design of the Acuity chair, a great deal about the process, and some behind the scenes information regarding the wonderful relationship he enjoys with Allsteel. I had hoped to meet Continuum's senior designer Federico "Chicco" Ferretti but he was walking the show when my colleague Dean and I stopped by the Allsteel booth, so unfortunately we were not able to meet as planned.

Suffice it to say it was the highlight of the show for me.

It was really cool to experience Bruce's passion for the craft and emotional side of design; to hear about the product and the process in detail; and to learn how he and Allsteel worked side by side and with a great deal of mutual trust and respect. I believe it was one of the more bold product introductions of NEOCON 2008, and in my modest opinion suspect the work will pay off big. I really don't see the Acuity chair as simply another product launch for Allsteel. I see it as a great leap forward in terms of their reputation for quality, innovation, leadership and design thinking in general. As I said in a previous post, and having lived in Lansing Michigan, one of the automaker hot spots of the past, I so wish the Big Three automakers would think and operate like the furniture industry does. It would be such a best foot forward toward helping turn our current financial situation around.

I so appreciate this opportunity to have met Bruce. My career is all about trying to be the best thinker, strategist and communication designer possible, and having exposure to projects such as Acuity and having the chance to speak directly with Bruce and to be able to correspond previously with Continuum's senior designer and project lead Chicco Ferretti are so helpful in my desire to continue to grow and learn, and add value to each and every effort I am involved.

NEOCON was everything I hoped for. It was a shot in the arm creatively, and it reminded me that I need to get out more often.

Since my return, I found Allsteel launched a full Aquity site, and
Continuum Milan posted a new Acuity video that Chicco co-directed. UPDATE: And I just found a really comprehensive write up at Interiors & Sources Mag here. Check out the new Continuum video here:

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Blogger Gary said...

I watched the Aquity video and love the chair.

In your previous post, you said: "Those who see design as a function and process will lose. Those who see design as core to what they do, how they do it, what they sell, and who they are, will win."

Using this chair as an example, can you expand what you mean. I look at the chair and say: I love the functions it has, but design is cool too.

5:57 PM  
Blogger studiosmith said...

My point is that the reason you love the function is because of the design. The entire exercise of developing this chair was a result of significant strategic thinking, research and user testing, all three of which are functions of design. To the contrary, other companies will approach the chair more from the side of how it will look, then how it works, or functions.

In each instance a good chair can be developed, but in the case of Acuity, in my opinion, the way the chair functions is as beautiful functionally as the chair looks aesthetically.

By "design as a function" I mean companies who see design not as core to the entire process, rather as an additive aspect of making something. A company that has a mindset that the product is an end result of design thinking, not just good looks.

9:21 PM  

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