Be Original Americas Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

Will Speros • August 3, 2017

(Left to right) Tom Groom and Irene Lee are shown designs from Artemide

Design-oriented nonprofit Be Original Americas has entered its fifth year of making strides toward educating both the design industry and consumers on the importance of original design. Since launching in July 2012 with 10 firms, the organization has blossomed its influence to 717 members, supporters, and followers. Earlier this year, San Francisco- and New York-based practice Studio O+A joined Be Original Americas as its first architecture and design firm member.

“Years of designing work environments for some of the most creative people in [the] business have taught us that innovative thinkers appreciate innovative design,” says Studio O+A principal and cofounder Primo Orpilla. “The next generation of designers is coming into the profession at a time when their work will be recognized and valued. That’s good for everybody.”

This year also marks the 2nd Annual Be Original Americas Student Design Fellowship. The seven-week program, which concluded earlier this week, offered this year’s fellows a chance to visit the showrooms, factories, and headquarters of Be Original Americas members across the U.S. and parts of Europe. 2017 fellows Irene Lee of Cornell University and Tom Groom of the University of Illinois at Chicago visited New York showrooms and studios for companies like Carnegie, Flavor Paper, and FLOS/Lukas Lighting, as well as Herman Miller’s Michigan headquarters and the manufacturing facilities of Skyline Design and Maya Romanoff in Chicago and Skokie, Illinois, respectively. Lee and Groom were even given the chance to visit Vitra’s campus in Germany.

To further promote its cause and fellowship, Be Original Americas also hosted a booth at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York during NYCxDesign.