features
#065 / 2005
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Students go green to SIDIM

Advocates of sustainable furniture design walking the isles of ICFF or SIDIM in 2005 found little evidence of commitment by manufacturers to the "green" cause. A few smaller producers at ICFF made an effort, and the fledgling Green Design (Éco-Vie) section of SIDIM was a start, though lacked furniture items.

A major exception to this paucity of environmental awareness was the Québec Éco-Design booth at SIDIM 2005 (below). Initiated over 13 years ago by SIDIM, the project has been organized by the faculty and students at Concordia, Montréal and Québec Universities.

Each year, SIDIM recommits to this project by donating 800 square feet for the Québec Éco-Design booth. SIDIM president Ginette Gadoury emphasizes the show "wants our eco projects to grow and take place . . . we have been committed to eco for 13 years, since the beginning of the show, but it takes time for it to evolve. This year it is only Concordia (taking part), but normally it also includes the University of Québec and the University of Montréal. We hope next year all the universities will be involved (again)."

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Martin Racine, associate professor in the Design Art Department of Concordia University and credited with "being the one really behind" the Éco-Design endeavour, assigns his third-year design/media students the project to design and produce a prototype with sustainable components.

Because Concordia's course does not encompass the technical and time commitment of industrial design courses at the other two universities, a level of technical expertise was lacking in the execution of some prototypes, and more appropriate construction materials could have been selected. For example, projects should have been less reliant on imported plywood and energy-glutton aluminium. Also, more use could have been made of local eco-friendly materials such as the Ecocolors panel on display a few aisles away at the Columbia Forest Products booth.

However, the Concordia students' enthusiasm and overall effort was excellent for a non-formal industrial design program, and they are to be congratulated for going green to SIDIM. furniturelink has space to show only a sampling of the items on display at the Québec Éco-Design booth and below lists all students involved this year.

Sampling of student designs

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Ryan Oberfield

Deck chair constructed from recycled plastic lumber and connectors cast of aluminium sourced from abandoned barbeque covers.

Ruwayna Ghanem

Extendable table with a hollow-ribbed structure to minimize material use without compromising strength.

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Madelaine Beaulieu

"Bean bag" ottoman that can be unzipped to form two chairs, with filling of recycled foam and biodegradable packaging peanuts.

Sandra Taddeo

Table that reuses obsolete 3.5" floppy discs and birth control pill cases.

Students Participating in Québec Éco-Design 2005

Bree Anne Apperley, Evelyne Au-Navioz, Karl Beaudet, Madeleine Beaulieu, Thevenard Cristelle Boudreau, Tien-Chi Chu, Sabatino Compagni, Ruwayna Ghanem, Farah Hijazi, Paresh Ladd, Roman Lifshitz, Ryan Oberfield, Miruna Maria Radulescu, Sara E.Siebert, Sandra Taddeo, Wang Tat Tso, Austin Wang

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© furniturelink 2005 (text and images)