WMU News

Students' designs featured at industry trade show

June 3, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- Four home office/alternative office furniture designs by Western Michigan University students will be displayed June 7-9 in Chicago at NeoCon99, one of the world's largest trade fairs for interior designers, architects and furniture manufacturers and dealers.

Quarter-scale models of the designs will be featured in the showroom for Turnstone, a division of Steelcase, on the 13th floor of the Lasalle Building, 350 LaSalle St. The models were developed for Turnstone by WMU industrial design students as senior projects under the direction of David O. Middleton, assistant professor of construction engineering, materials engineering and industrial design.

Turnstone provided the WMU program with a $2,000 grant for students to develop design concepts for alternate office furnishings. Middleton says the projects are not conducted so that students compete with professionals, but to give the students experience working in a professional environment.

"These projects allow companies to experiment, get ideas and play around with concepts," explains Middleton. "Our students looked at how people are working differently than before and their need to have furniture fit into a home office situation, but not scream 'desk'."

The four designs and the students that developed them are:

Acuity, which features circular, interconnected work surfaces that connect in a bicycle chain design, developed by students John DeLadurantaye of Clinton Township, Laura Geisz of Oxford and Jonathon Moroney of Kentwood.

Incline, an angled work surface that allows for standing or sitting positions and can fit into existing office furniture configurations, designed by anDrew Smedley of Holland and Chuan Li Chen of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Narayan, designed for the young professional market with emphasis on compact size and use of industrial materials such as metal screens, designed by Chad Dykgraaf of Alto and Jeff Klimas of Kalamazoo.

Options, which gives a modern functionality to the traditional design of a roll-top desk, designed by Bryon Vlier of Kalamazoo.
Middleton says the students and the program are delighted that their work will be displayed at NeoCon®99, which features more than 900 exhibitors and is expected to draw thousands of attendees.

"It is wonderful when a client wants to show off what we have developed for them. Turnstone is saying these designs are worth being shown," he says. "They display the designs and say, 'here's something experimental, what do you think?' This is often how products get into production. You never know what will catch on."

One of Steelcase Inc.'s brand lines, Turnstone provides a range of affordable furniture solutions for emerging growth and established, cost-conscious corporations. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich., Steelcase is a leading designer and manufacturer of office furniture, furniture systems, interior architectural products and other related products and services used to create high-performance work environments.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
616 387-8400