Organization Highlight: International Society of Furniture Designers

Creatives shape the very spaces where we live. That’s why the International Society of Furniture Designers (ISFD) has been laser-focused since the 1990s on celebrating and supporting the product designer’s role in transforming America’s homes.

David Blair, Executive Director at ISFD, says that a primary way that they accomplish this goal is through mentorship, scholarships, and education. “We need to bring more talented young people into the furniture industry”, claims Blair. He emphasizes the need for a diverse skill set in the field, covering aspects such as product development, retailing, logistics, and design. Early discussions with technical schools aim to integrate these essential skills into curricula, preparing students for a comprehensive understanding of the industry.

ISFD’s commitment to building a community through creative practices is evident in events like the Pinnacle Awards, referred to by Blair as the “Oscars of furniture design.” This annual event highlights the outstanding work of local creators, recognizing their contributions to the industry.

"Pu Side Table" by Ruihan (North) Sun. Find it at the INNOVATION+DESIGN™ competition
"Reverie" by John Brogan. Find it at the INNOVATION+DESIGN™ competition

The INNOVATION+DESIGN™ competition, a showcase of primarily hand-crafted work by skilled artisans, is another way ISFD celebrates the possibilities in home furnishings. Featuring a professional section, as well as a student section with entries from leading design schools, the competition awards cash prizes in five categories, from lighting and decorative accessories to seating and occasional storage, as well as a $1,000 Best of Show prize for the best professional and student entries. This year, finalists’ pieces will be on exhibit at the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame from April 4-17. Everyone is invited to see this outstanding work at the Community Reception on April 4, 2024. Winners will be announced at an Industry Reception on Saturday, April 13, during Spring High Point Market.

Support from organizations like The Arts Council of Greater Greensboro (The ACGG) in partnership with the High Point Arts Council through Multicultural Grassroots funding has allowed ISFD to amplify its impact. The “Design Between the Lines” podcast, supported by The ACGG, has provided a platform for interviews with leading artists and major players in the design industry. This podcast has not only raised awareness of ISFD but also facilitated connections with designers, manufacturers, designer-makers, retailers, and the High Point community.

"Design Between the Lines" Podcast

To further explore the work of the International Society of Furniture Designers and stay updated on their events, you can visit their website. Additionally, you’re invited to attend the community reception for the Innovation + Design exhibition on April 4, 2024, at the American Home Furnishing Hall of Fame, with the exhibition running until April 13, 2024.