It's something like Project Runway meets the local interior design community; Product Runway teams are made up of designers from leading architecture firms paired with industrial design reps (and sometimes their retail or trade partners) who bring a not necessarily sewing-machine friendly set of materials to the mix. If the Friday, May 3 event is the season finale, these posts are your not-quite-weekly episodes. Check back often as they appear and the season unfolds.
The skills: Weber Thompson builds LEED-certified skyscrapers, often residential—look cloud-ward at 1521 Second Ave and at the in-progress giant at 8th and Lenora. Steelcase creates furniture for waiting rooms, office cubicles, education facilities, and more. How chic is your dentist? You may know their work—if not, Bank and Office can lead you through a showroom of it.
The challenge: Ever cut and sewn a chair? Yeah. Steelcase's Emily Moses, a workplace consultant, says "Furniture is rigid, yes, but how can we coax a softer aesthetic?"
Key inspiration: The recent Alexander McQueen exhibit and text, Savage Beauty.
Now, we're no party poopers, so we can't tell you too much about what we saw, but after three construction meetings, this crew of rookies—only one member has competed in Product Runway before—is on their way to sending a cream-colored dream down the runway, thanks in no small part to the fact that designer Mandy Callaway (above) completed a fashion degree before her interiors studies.
By the time I caught up with them, Callaway had drafted a pattern and made a muslin version of the look, which allowed the team to see where improvements might be made. With me in their way, at Callaway's home on a recent Monday, the team was at work with actual Steelcase materials and needle and thread.
They tell me their Product Runway design could go to opening night at the opera after its stint at Showbox SoDo. You'll have to be there in May to see if you agree.