The Summer 2018 study tour to New York City provided a new understanding of the interior design profession to students from the Furnishings and Interiors major. They visited corporate offices, showrooms, and studios, which supported their professional development as well as helped to conceptualize their future career pathways. The tour included visits to design firms, showrooms, historical landmarks, transportation (airfare, airport transfers, and unlimited subway), 6-night stay at a mid-town hotel, a visit to the MET museum and a Broadway play, Waitress. Students toured the Kravet’s international archives, design studio and headquarters. Kravet’s as a leading design manufacturer of residential and commercial textiles and furniture is at the forefront of design trends. Students enjoyed an exclusive tour of our Kravet’s extensive archives of French and English documents from the 17th and 18th century. In addition, the collection’s holdings include an ethnographic variety of pieces with a more modern/contemporary aesthetic.
The tour of Knoll’s national headquarters and design studio provided students with insights into the history of 20th modern furniture design and the various international known designers that created 20th century iconic furniture and textile designs for Knoll. Florence Knoll, the founder of the company brought into the forefront the idea of space planning and interiors as a design language.
Students were emboldened when they visited three award winning design firms that specialize in high end residential environments. Each of the designers, Gideon Mendelson, Lindsey Coral Harper and Lindsey Lane, talked to the students about day to day activities, design philosophies and business practices. Students also gained insights into the various steps each designer took to start their own design firms and the marketing strategies they continue to use for obtaining clients.
The corporate environments of each of the design firms also empowered students as quotes, drawings and photos of projects lined the walls of each office space. The visual energy of the corporate environment was well reflected and encouraged creativity in the studio.
The Design and Decorators (D & D) building, a 14 floor building houses various product lines and design showrooms that cater to residential and commercial environments. Students visited showrooms to learn about the latest product lines and design trend. At the Maya Romanoff showroom students learned about custom wall covering. This company is the largest manufacturer of handcrafted wall coverings in the U.S. For more than 40 years, their artisans have incorporated glass beads, gold leaf, seashells, wood and stitching to their wallcoverings. The Leora Manne showroom provided insights into custom carpeting, while the Robert Allen and Duralee showrooms allowed students to review types of textiles and a new textile product line from England.
While visiting Schumacher’s national design studio, students not only learned about the design process that goes into developing new textile design patterns, including trend forecasting, market reports and installations. The creative passion of the company was reflected in the walls covered in the digital prints and designs featuring the company’s artwork. Students enjoyed listening to various employees and interns tell them about their educational and professional backgrounds as well as how they obtained their current position with the company.
One of the great advantages of touring NYC is that where ever one travels to, beautiful landscape areas, historical landmarks and museums surround you. Some of the buildings and interior environments we toured were SOHO’s historic neighborhood, Time Square, Central Park, Rockerfeller Center, St. Patrick Cathedral, Plaza Hotel, Flat Iron building, Guggenheim Museum, Public Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Lastly, the tour also provided opportunites for comraderie with peers and networking with alumni over dinner.
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