100-mile design brings back 'local feel’ at ICFF

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The Independent Online

Students from Baltimore's MICA and The University of Washington showcased designs constructed from materials sourced from within a 100-mile radius of their respective areas at this year's International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF). The aim of the project was to re-claim the 'local feel' of America before mass production and globalization did away with regional quirks.

The project, titled the 100 Mile Design Challenge, was a semester-long collaboration between Baltimore's Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) Environmental Design Department and The University of Washington's Seattle Industrial Design.

Using only local materials sourced within a radius of 100 miles (160 km), the students created designs that reflected the culture of their area using objects such as oyster shells, driftwood or local clay.

The project paid homage to the 100 Mile dDet - an acclaimed environmentally friendly diet, involving consuming food produced within a 100-mile radius of one's home -and the growing emphasis on ‘local' living within the environmental movement as a whole. The emphasis on ‘local' living has also been promoted by those who consider themselves 'locavores' and the WWF.

According to the designers' blog and the MICA, participants from both schools aimed to showcase how designs produced with regionally sourced materials could produce objects that differed from place to place and created a sense of local heritage.

Designs on display at the ICFF included tools or spoons made from wood and oyster shells, stools made from driftwood and bags made from scraps of materials sourced at thrift stores.

Now in its 23rd year, New York's ICFF (May 14-17) attracts attendees and exhibitors from around the world.  The event covers a broad spectrum of home designs and is used as a showcase for innovative designs as well as being looked to for a reflection of current interior trends.

More information about the 100 Mile Diet can be found at: http://100milediet.org/
More information about the 100 Mile Design Challenge can be found at:   www.100miledesignchallenge.org
A selection of images from the project are available at: http://www.flickr.com/groups/1624678@N20/
More information about ICFF can be found at: http://www.icff.com/