This year, the leaders of The Furniture Society have decided to deviate from their traditional conference format and instead hold a smaller seminar-style program. The FS2013: Los Angeles Symposium will be held June 20-23 at the L.A. Mart Design Center in Los Angeles. The three-day event unites leading furniture makers, design thinkers and curators from across the country for an ambitious roster of lectures, factory and studio tours and exhibitions.
Society vice president Steffanie Dotson says the focus of the conference will be to harness the energy of L.A.’s design culture to explore critical issues such as mass production, sustainability, innovation and creative business practices. The turnout is currently expected to be around 300 individuals, including both society members and non-members. She emphasizes that attending will be worth everyone’s time.
“It’s always good to see what’s coming on the horizon. There are lots of changes going on in the furniture world with all of the new technology with CNC and sharing about how people are streamlining their businesses, so it’s informational and always inspirational,” she says.
While typical conferences offer a host of hands on workshops and technique demonstrations, this year’s will be limited to panel-type demonstrations because of space constraints at the chosen venue.
“We don’t have access to any equipped woodshop spaces there, so we thought we’d go more of the design route. The symposium is going to focus heavily on design, talking about manufacturing and limited production marketing and public relations. We’re also taking a look at very interesting business models that makers and designers have, and come up with clever ways that they’ve been able to make it through the economy and make their businesses successful.”
In addition to the programming scheduled for registrants, the symposium is offering a number of programs to the public, including a series of exhibitions exploring the intersection of furniture design and contemporary life; Up-Cycle, a design challenge giving furniture makers a day to transform a pile of scrap and surplus material into a table, a chair and a household item; a curated exhibition highlighting student work, as well a series of tours to culturally significant locations in the L.A. vicinity.
The society is a non-profit, educational organization with the mission to advance the art of furniture making by inspiring creativity, promoting excellence and fostering an understanding of this art and its place in society.
Contact: The Furniture Society, 111 Grovewood Road, Asheville, NC 28804. Tel: 828-255-1949. www.furnituresociety.org
This article originally appeared in the February 2013 issue.