On January 31, a veritable who’s who of the design industry met at the Volvo Hall in the NYC Scandinavia House on
Park Avenue for the fourth-annual Be Original Americas member
meeting. On the agenda: discussing progress made in 2017 and the
highlights to come for 2018.
Founded in 2012, Be Original Americas, a 501(c) 6 nonprofit, seeks
to inform, influence, and educate the design community on the value
of authentic design while investing in its future. As stated by Sam
Grawe, Global Brand director at Herman Miller and departing Be
Original Americas president, “Any design is a bet that the future will
be better than today.”
The highlights of the meeting touched upon the great strides the
organization is making and plans for the upcoming year.
Be Original Americas has gained more than 750 members,
supporters, and followers.
The organization increased its membership and following by
one-third in 2017, joining the likes of companies such as Bernhardt
Design, Cassina, Design Within Reach, Emeco, FLOS, Republic of
Fritz Hansen, Herman Miller, Kartell, Ligne Roset, and Vitra—charter
members of Be Original Americas.
Be Original Americas Hosts
Fourth-Annual Member Meeting
The group has welcomed well-known names to the ranks. Architecture and
design firms Studio O+A, Michael Graves Architecture & Design, and Gensler
have joined Be Original. Industry members continue to commit to original
design through their work. Gensler will serve as a board member in 2018
and 2019, helping to spearhead Be Original Americas’ future plans.
Be Original is working with United States Customs and Boarder Protection (US
CBP). Alongside several of its member companies, Be Original Americas works
closely with the US CBP to help train officers and stifle the flow of knockoffs entering
the country. In 2017 alone, the US CBP was able to seize tens of millions of
dollars of counterfeit furnishings. Forty-seven containers of Herman Miller copies
were seized in the past 18 months with the cost totaling upwards of $17 million.
These design leaders will continue to develop AIA- and IDCEC-approved
CEU courses. Since creating its CEU course in 2015, Be Original Americas has
presented to 750-plus designers and architects. In 2018, the program will be
revised to include not only advancements in the industry but also webinars in
addition to in-person presentations.
The purpose of the course is to examine the nature of creativity and innovation,
discuss counterfeits’ impact on the industry, review the costs of engaging in the
trade of counterfeit design, and to illustrate supporting the creative ecosystem.
More than 40 panel discussions will be hosted in 27 cities throughout