Vancouver-based retired designer, educator and retailer Stephen Harrison publishes furniturelink. The current website was reincarnated ("rebranded" as per the buzz word) in 2014 from the website Value+Created Review (VCR) that Harrison published from 1997 to 2014 (both websites self-published without outside funding).
All content is now more more tablet friendly, with 20 per cent new and the balance transferred from VCR after substantive editing and reformatting to HTML5 standards. Let us know if you find errors.
Former Value+Created Review and Furniture Link Canada home pages
For more than 17 years VCR promoted innovative "value-created" contemporary furniture manufacturing in Canada and beyond. furniturelink continues the crusade. If the maxim "we are what we eat" applies to us as individuals, then furniturelink takes the view that "we are what we make" defines us as a society.
Advocates of globalization argue that it's inconsequential where a product is made, provided it's well-designed and/or produced at the lowest cost. Though economies of scale have their place in the global market (not every city can justify producing everything it needs within its own boundaries), regional production is often a viable alternative when all the environmental costs of globalized production are tallied.
To take the food analogy another step, we're becoming more aware of the negative costs of global agribusiness, even though the grocery store receipt may not reveal that. This awareness spawned the "think globally and grow locally" attitude in food production. Unfortunately, a comparable action can't be applied easily to furniture manufacturing because of the wide variety of technologies and materials involved. However, only zealots expect simplistic black or white solutions — at times grey also works. Trade between regions still has its place provided that creativity and value — where the bottom line is determined by cultural and environmental factors — play the dominant role.
Qualifications Graduated from High Wycombe College of Technology and Art (UK) in 1965 as a furniture designer and completed a one-year post-graduate thesis on the application of thermoplastics to furniture design in 1966.
Production and prototype furniture designed by Stephen Harrison
Designer Worked as an industrial designer in Montreal and Toronto, and received the Ontario Government Furniture Design Award (EDEE) in 1968.
Educator Taught (1968 – 1979) sculpture, design and foundation courses at the Vancouver School of Art (VSA), now Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Established BC's first industrial design program (1975 – 1977) that encouraged students to develop furniture prototypes from underused wood species, remanufactured lumber and panels in cooperation with local manufacturers and suppliers.
VSA student projects involving local wood species
Retailer For eight years owned and operated Good Enough Design Ltd., a retail furniture store in Vancouver that specialized in affordable, well-designed contemporary furniture and accessories that included several items designed and manufactured locally.
Good Enough Design 1977 – 1985
Educator Taught (1988 – 1992) courses in wood technology, material science and design in the Technology Teacher Education program at BC Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Burnaby, BC. Co-developed an RTA computer desk student assignment that emphasized human factors and ergonomic criteria, liaising with local manufacturers and industrial coating companies.
BCIT student projects 1988 – 1992
Web publisher/researcher Established (1994) an online international education bookstore, database and bulletin board service (now closed). Published (2001 – 2014) Furniture Link Canada, an online searchable database of furniture manufacturers in Canada (now closed). Travels (2003 – present) to France (Macon, Nevers, Paris), Italy (Poggibonsi, Florence, Rome), Spain (Barcelona), UK (London, Birmingham) and US (New York) to research and write articles about sustainable contemporary furniture design and production for current self-published furniturelink website.
Visits to sustainable manufacturers and industry organizations in Italy and France
The furniturelink website uses the Gibson font family, "a humanist sans serif typeface designed by eminent Canadian type designer Rod McDonald, and produced by Patrick Griffin and Kevin King of Canada Type, to honour John Gibson FGDC (1928 – 2011), Rod's long-time friend and one of the original founders of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (SGD)."
© furniturelink 2015 (text and images)