Cool Collaboration

West Elm recently introduced a new collection of home office furniture designed in collaboration with Pratt students.

The collaboration between West Elm and Pratt Institute, both Brooklyn-based organizations, began as a friendly competition between two groups of Pratt industrial design students (see list below). They were challenged to create a line of office furniture for west elm that embodied the brand’s mandate to “live a little greener every day.” The initial design brief required the Pratt designers to develop a desk, chair, and lamp using sustainably grown, harvested, and/or recycled wood material in order to tell a unique story about the life cycle of materials and the power of conservation and design.  Use of other eco-friendly materials and processes including FSC-certified woods, powder-coated steel (a process that is less toxic than traditional plating), non-toxic glues, and water-based stains was also necessary. In addition, the desk lamp had to use energy-efficient Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology. Both teams presented their proposals to the west elm design group and continued to work with them in an apprentice-type relationship to develop the concept, create scale models and eventually produce full-size prototypes of the pieces.