A Truly Original Fellowship

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Students of design are taught crucial principles and skills in school, but they often lack that “real world” experience where they can witness all the different components of the industry come together. A summer fellowship, however, from Be Original Americas organization is offering two students the rare opportunity to observe the world of furniture design firsthand.

Founded in 2013, Be Original Americas set off on a mission to educate and influence both manufacturers and design professionals alike on the importance of authentic design, from  economics to environmental practices. With the help of its long list of supporters and members, the organization has been able to put together a far-reaching program—consisting of lectures, workshops, roundtables, and now education—to encourage consumers and members of the design community to invest and engage in the future of design.  

“We are able to show our members’ processes that help explain why original design is valuable to our economy, environment and safety,” said the Be Original Americas Co-Founder, Beth Dickstein.

Last summer, Sarah Ahart and Karina Campos participated in this 7-week immersive program with its impressive list of participating member companies, among them Bernhardt Design, Flavor Paper, Rich Brilliant Willing, and Vitra. They were able to witness professional interactions, work on sample project briefs, and even help build furniture at some of the manufacturing plants. “This experience exposed me to so many new things that I had never heard of before. I think in order to sum it all up, the fellowship really gave me a better overall understanding of how things work in the real world. You can only learn so much in school, but until you see how everything works together in industry, you can’t fully understand what you’re even designing for,” said Ahart.

Applications for the second Be Original Americas summer design fellowship are due March 7. For more details, visit their site.