[media-credit id=7 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]On April 6, the interior design department at Weber State University organized a charitable event that raised funds to be divided between the Boys and Girls Club of Utah and a new scholarship fund for the interior design students.
The event was created from the work of students for their final project and included five participating classes: architectural detailing, textiles, materials, historicals and autocad.
The students were given the assignment last year to design or recreate a chair that held historical significance and was linked to a specific time period chosen by each individual student. Students could work in teams if they so desired.
To complete the project, students were required to find and purchase a chair, reupholster it, refurnish the wood and make any other adjustments needed to complete the given requirements.
Kristen Arnold, program coordinator and instructor for the interior design program, said the students were given quite a bit of leeway in regards to creation of the chairs, but they had to be top-notch.
“We explained to them that we were going to sell them, so craftsmanship was our biggest concern,” Arnold said. “The chairs were approved in advance. We said ‘pick a style, come up with something, and make it look fabulous.’”
The event was held at the Union Station on 25th street in Ogden.
The location of the event was moved a few times due to size and space needed for the chairs and the expected amount of guests. Around five hundred or more people attended the event.
“We originally planned a little gallery in the Union Station to rent, which is a wonderful space,” Arnold said. “But after talking with the auctioneer, he came and looked at the chairs and said that it was too small and congested. This is now a gigantic space.”
Robert McArthur was invited to be the guest MC for the evening. He is a local architect and designer from the Bountiful area.
Kyra Bell, vice president and student in the program, said she was really excited for McArthur to come and speak at the event.
“We hope that it will help generate attendance from the interior design community and have some of the notable designers come view our work,” Bell said. “It will help give us credibility as a university. McArthur has been a designer for a long time and knows so much.”
A silent and live auction was held to sell the chairs and took place throughout the evening. The auctioneer was Chris Zimmerman. There were a total of 30 chairs, and two of them were designed by faculty members. The price range varied between chairs, and the styles were all unique and different.
“The starting price for the silent auction starts at $50 but then will hopefully get top dollar,” Arnold said. “The students gave us a cost breakdown of what it cost them to produce.”
In order to incorporate the Boys and Girls Club, Bell and another member of the design presidency volunteered at the club the week before the event to make edible chairs with some of the kids. The edible chairs were displayed on a table at the event.
“We got to sit with some of the ten and eleven-year-olds and make chairs out of food,” Bell said. “We showed them a couple of slides of historic chairs and weird ones that people had made to get their creativity flowing. They were so creative.”
Michael Lever, a WSU interior design student, was the only student in the program to design and create a modern interpretation of a chair that he designed from scratch. He received his inspiration from the Morris adjustable chair that was taken from the 1800s.
Lever spent over 150 hours working on the chair, and when it was finally completed, it was worth around $4,000. Eight different companies and individual people sponsored Lever’s chair. They donated materials, labor and money to fund his project.
“The corporate sponsors provided material or labor, and they have all made it possible for the chair to come together,” Lever said.
The event raised just under $10,000 to be split between the two organizations.
“I am excited about how the event developed,” Bell said. “At first I thought it would be a small auction with a few chairs, but the students put in so much work in, and the chairs look professionally done.”
The main sponsors of the event included the interior design department, Markell’s Upholstery and Furniture, the Union Station, Andrew Harris, Hazen Studio, Robert McArthur, the Boys and Girls Cub and Chris Zimmerman.