K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Creativity

Aug 07 2017

Posted by
Comments

The Hands that Make Our Products

  © U. Roberto Romano, Courtesy of GoodWeave International 

Last year a friend and I toured the Museum of Civil Rights in downtown Atlanta, where upstairs they had an entire exhibit dedicated to ongoing civil rights cases. Many of these had to do with fair trade obstructions, which included many products we all use on a daily basis: cocoa, tea, oils, clothing – the list was overwhelming.

One organization we ran across is working to change the trade around one of these products: GoodWeave, a non-profit that certifies rugs free of child labor. We spoke with Cara Hagan, business development associate, to find out how the interior design industry can help.

KBB: How did this organization get started?

C.H.: Our story starts with an Indian activist named Kailash Satyarthi, who rescued children working in carpet factories. The raids were dangerous, and for every child he rescued, another one soon took his or her place at the loom. Kailash realized that to make a lasting difference, he needed to change the whole system and get rug companies and consumers on board.

When Kailash founded GoodWeave (then known as RugMark) in 1994, there were one million children working in South Asia’s carpet industry. Now thanks in part to our efforts, this number has dropped by an estimated 75 percent. GoodWeave has directly rescued more than 3,800 children and provided life-changing education for many thousands more. We work to continue Kailash’s vision of a world without child labor in any global supply chain – starting with carpets and now expanding to new sectors.

KBB: How has Goodweave helped end illegal labor?

C.H.: GoodWeave works through a holistic approach to ending forced, bonded and child labor. When a company is licensed with GoodWeave, our team conducts random, unannounced inspections in that company’s supply chain to ensure that labor conditions are fair and that no children are laboring at the factories and loom-sheds. Companies that comply with our Standards receive GoodWeave certification labels that show consumers that no children worked to make that rug. If children are found, they are immediately removed from work. GoodWeave then supports these rescued children as long as is necessary; they are reunited with their families if conditions allow or brought into rehabilitation and education programs.

GoodWeave also works beyond rescues with community-wide education programs and facilities to help adult weavers find fair wages and working conditions. With this approach, GoodWeave unravels the system that forces children into work in the first place.

KBB: How does a rug company receive Goodweave certification?

C.H.: While the impact of becoming GoodWeave licensed is profound and far-reaching, the process is straightforward. The importer would first need to sign a few agreements governing the relationship between GoodWeave International and an importer that sells GoodWeave certified carpets. These agreements outline a variety of issues regarding the relationship, balancing clear guidelines with a mutual commitment to ending the use of child labor in carpet production and to improving the lives of children and families in the weaving communities.

Once the importer has signed these agreements, GoodWeave country teams can begin licensing the exporter. Each exporter goes through an application process and initial inspection. Given that they successfully become licensed, GoodWeave then provides the exporter with labels to begin issuing certified rugs. GoodWeave makes regular, unannounced inspections of all production facilities to verify compliance with the GoodWeave Standard. The Standard is based on three Certification Principles covering child labor, forced labor, and bonded labor, and the transparency needed to verify compliance. The Standard also includes four Progress Principles which are designed to address a broader set of labor rights and environmental issues. The exporter license is valid as long as the company continues to work toward a higher standard and addresses any issues that arise.

KBB: How can interior designers help to join this effort?

C.H.: GoodWeave’s approach to ending child labor is twofold: it works in the factories of India, Nepal and Afghanistan and in the retail stores and design studios in the U.S. and Europe. Each is essential in ending forced, bonded and child labor around the world. Interior designers can help by guiding consumers toward ethically produced rugs and becoming socially responsible consumers themselves. Through public outreach, media coverage and the active participation of socially responsible importers, designers and retailers, GoodWeave raises awareness of the child labor epidemic in the handmade rug industry and inspires consumers to take action.

When consumers become aware of their ability to purchase products that are not made by children and thereby create a market demand for such products, they can be a part of the solution.

For more information about Goodweave and to find a list of certified companies, visit https://goodweave.org/.

 

Jul 17 2017

Posted by
Comments off

Artificial Intelligence and Interior Design

Above image: A simulation of a design created by Artificial Intelligence.

It’s not just science fiction. Artificial intelligence (AI) is starting to leak into our daily lives, from Siri to smart appliances and Amazon Alexa. According to a recent report from Tractica, a market intelligence firm, AI software applications will grow from $1.4 billion in 2016 to $60 billion by 2025.

Planner 5D, a consumer-focused interior design app, is currently creating machine learning algorithms that will train on more than 40 million real user projects. The app’s AI is also learning general interior design rules, technical requirements and how to match colors and styles. For example, the app is learning that a TV cannot be placed in front of a window or it will reflect light; that a bed should stand sideways to a window and that a couch should be placed in front of a TV or a fireplace in the living room.

Our question was, will technology like this make professional designers irrelevant in the future? We talked with Alexey Sheremetyev, co-founder of Planner 5D, to find out more.

The Advantages of AI in an App

Speed is the main factor. Any design project takes a long time, because a person working on it needs to think each detail over and sometimes mistakes happen. Computers work much faster and use information that has been collected from other users and projects. AI doesn’t make mistakes either, unless there was a human error in programming. Therefore, AI can design any typical project much faster and with better quality. A user will only have to edit the final product according to their wishes. That also affects the price, making design much cheaper, since the process will be much faster.

AI and Clients

A user has to choose a space they will be designing, put down the walls and windows and indicate the address of the house. AI will then calculate sunlight and other parameters necessary for the project. Then a user has to choose what kind of space this will be (bedroom, kitchen, living room, etc.), select the style (Provence, modern, Scandinavian, etc.) and color palette. In a few minutes, they will have their project ready.

AI and Interior Designers

If a designer is working on creative projects, AI can hardly help. But if a designer is creating various similar-looking projects by using one template that only needs to be adjusted and modified, then this is a job for AI. For example, AI can be successfully used for a multi-apartment buildings or new-build developments where the houses look similar and have similar floor plans. A designer can prepare one project, and AI will be able to adjust it to other apartments or houses.

What influence do you think AI will have on the industry? Let us know on Facebook or on Twitter @kbbconnect.

Jun 22 2017

Posted by
Comments off

Summer Design Trends

Just like in fashion, trends and colors in the design world can vary based on the season. This summer, we’re talking bright accents and white materials. Michael B. Klein, CEO of Lincolnwood, Ill.-based Airoom Architects and Remodelers, filled us in on the specifics of this season’s trends.


White and Bright: Don’t be afraid of white! A predominately white kitchen makes for a clean, light and airy room. According to a recent study conducted by the National Kitchen & Bath Association, quartz has quickly become the most popular countertop material. Quartz countertops require less upkeep and are non-porous, so they resist staining better than granite and marble.


Contrast and Accent: Accent the bright, white kitchen with some colored cabinets or interesting wood veneered cabinets to create just enough interest to keep it from feeling too stark and typical.


A Mid-Century Modern Twist: Update your living space starting at the top – the ceilings! Our designers have seen an increase in requests for adding exposed trusses. Trusses create an open feel and make the home seem larger than it is. Using reclaimed wood or open beams add drama and a mid-century modern twist.

What trends are you seeing this season? Let us know on our Facebook page or on Twitter @KBBonline.

Jun 16 2017

Posted by
Comments off

Choosing to Give

Recently the second-annual St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway again raised funds for the St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Each raffle ticket purchased was donated to the hospital, which provides care and support for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases cost free.


The home, built by Nies Homes, features four bedrooms, four-and-a-half  baths, a master suite, a man cave in the garage with a bonus room above, specialty wine and craft rooms in the basement and an oversized covered deck. Local cabinet manufacturer, R.D. Henry, was named local sponsor of the cause and donated cabinets for the home. Located at The Oaks in Derby, Kan., the St. Jude Dream Home has an estimated value of $420,000.

Country Kitchen
“We chose to take on this project because we think it is an amazing cause,” said Kate Caplan of Wichita, Kan.-based Kitchen & Bath Expressions, who completed the design for the kitchen and one bath in the home.

To make the kitchen feel grand and luxurious, Caplan double stacked cabinets throughout the space and used rustic, white finishes to bring in a country feel. For the island, a sleek cabinet finish called Tattered Fence from R.D. Henry was used to accentuate the piece from the perimeter cabinetry.


A new touch faucet, donated by Brizo, was selected for the main kitchen sink, along with Whirlpool appliances donated from Metro Appliances & More. Caplan chose quartz countertops, donated by Quality Granite & Marble, because of the material’s growing popularity. Light fixtures from Accent Lighting with a glass interior and black lining add a final modern touch to the contemporary country design.


Bold Powder Room
“The powder bath is always an area where we can really get creative and use different and bold finishes you wouldn’t normally see in a bathroom,” said Caplan.

In the powder room, the design team wanted to create a fun and creative space that would make a statement. A gold faucet and gold hardware stand out against a gray vanity with an above-counter sink. Gold pendant light fixtures and bath accessories also highlight the mosaic tile backsplash, which includes white, gray and gold tiles.


“It was a rewarding experience to see a community of building contractors and vendors come together selflessly to donate their time, services and products to make this a reality,” said the designer.