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SCAD Students Challenged To Create Eco-Friendly Wing Chair

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Cargill’s BiOH® polyols business – makers of the soy-based ingredient which replaces a percentage of petroleum in foam used for upholstered furniture cushioning – this week kicks off Project UDesign, a competition for furniture design students at SCAD to design an upholstered wing chair that is both sustainable and sellable. The contest will engage the entire furniture industry and consumers to select the winning chair design at North Carolina’s High Point Market in October.

The competition is open to students majoring in furniture design at SCAD, one of many opportunities for SCAD furniture students to participate in real-world design projects. Project UDesign will culminate in an award presentation at High Point Market during the WithIt Student Mentoring Luncheon on Oct. 20.

North Carolina-based Century Furniture, a 2009 AHFA SAGE award finalist and Sustainable Furnishings Council member, has pledged to put the new wing chair into production after the winner is named this fall. The winner of Project UDesign will receive a $1,000 award from Cargill’s BiOH® polyols business. Century Furniture will additionally pay a royalty for each unit of the winning chair design it sells.

Project UDesign is also sponsored by Toray International's brand of Ultrasuede® upholstery covers, which are made using the company's EcoDesign™ manufacturing process.

Six semifinalists will be named in early September after students have completed the SCAD course, based on evaluations by a panel of industry experts. On Sept. 7, this group of designs will be displayed on BiOH® polyols various social media channels, including the ExperienceBiOH.com blog and http://youtube.com/user/BiOHpolyols, where consumers can vote for their favorite, with the three finalists announced on Monday, Oct. 4  and voting continuing online through Tuesday, Oct.19.

From Oct. 15-19, during the furniture industry’s fall High Point Market, designs from the three student finalists will also be displayed in Century’s High Point showroom in the Historic Market Square building, where market attendees will also be invited to vote. On Wednesday, Oct. 20, all votes – online and in Century’s showroom – will be tallied and the winner announced at www.withit.org’s (Women In The Home Industries Today) student mentoring luncheon that day.

“The goal of Project UDesign is to educate the industry and consumers on the topic of sustainable furniture design,” said Yusuf Wazirzada, general manager of Cargill’s  polyols business. “Research shows a significant percentage of consumers are seeking information about eco-friendly furnishings options and also that the furniture manufacturers and retailers who communicate their environmentally focused initiatives can win favor with these shoppers.”

“By collaborating with Project UDesign partners for this event, the opportunity to reach a bigger audience with our sustainable furnishings message grows exponentially,” added Wazirzada. “A cooperative, strategic effort that includes direct marketing and outreach in the social media space becomes even more powerful.”

Criteria for the chair design includes the specification of BiOH® polyols based foam in upholstery cushions and the application of Ultrasuede® EcoDesign™ upholstery covers, which are manufactured with recycled materials in a process that both reduces energy consumption and CO2 emissions substantially.

“The original Ultrasuede products were the result of technological innovation by Toray International,” said Helen Brier, sales and marketing manager, Toray Interiors division. “Today the company is committed to that heritage with CSR and other initiatives that have lasting, positive environmental impact, and we are thrilled to expose the home industries to our story through this unique competition.”

“A big part of our sustainability story is to create heirloom quality furnishings that will last for our customers,” said Alex Shuford III, vice president of sales and marketing for Century Furniture. “We think it is important to support the next generation of furniture designers who, like most of us, are concerned about sustainability. We also look forward to reviewing new ideas for the wing chair, which is one of the most dramatic and popular chair styles used in many rooms of the home.”

“Style dominates the purchase decision for many consumers and interior designers, and we expect the talented students from SCAD will deliver in this area,” said Cargill’s Wazirzada. “Opening the voting process to the public will additionally challenge our young designers to create a wing chair that people want to buy.”

About Cargill’s BiOH® polyols
Cargill’s BiOH® polyols business markets renewable-based products to manufacturers of polyurethane foam for use in home furnishings and other consumer products. Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Cargill is an international provider of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 138,000 people in 67 countries. Cargill helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to applying its global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental and social challenges wherever it does business. For more information, visit
About Toray International brand Ultrasuede®
Ultrasuede® is used across a broad range of platforms and in multiple industries, meeting consumers’ demand for the use of more ecologically friendly products. Ultrasuede®, together with Toray technology, continues to innovate and develop environmentally sensitive products, with the ongoing goal of improving ecological and social conditions around the world. Launched in 2009, EcoDesign™ products deliver on the promise of the TUA commitment to excellence through environmental responsibility.
About Century Furniture
Century Furniture, Lenoir, N.C., manufactures fine upholstered furniture including bedroom furniture, dining room furniture, and living room furniture. Since 1947, Century Furniture has strived to be the best furniture company in the world, providing finely crafted luxury furniture with impeccable design, highest quality and legendary service to our customers.  Now a third generation family owned company, Century is located in Hickory, North Carolina with over nine hundred associates.  Each employee is a company stakeholder and their commitment and dedication can be seen in every piece of furniture made.
About SCAD: The University for Creative Careers
The Savannah College of Art and Design is the most comprehensive art and design university in the world, offering more degree programs and specializations than any other art and design university. SCAD is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution conferring bachelor’s and master’s degrees in distinctive locations and online to prepare talented students for professional careers. SCAD offers students a choice of degree programs in 46 majors and more than 50 minors at locations in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia; in Lacoste, France; online through SCAD eLearning; and in Hong Kong beginning Fall.

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