Interview with designer Ken Harris (KH), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Heartland Table Sustainable Furniture.

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Interview with Ken Harris at Monday 11th of March 2013: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
KH : Our focus was to develop a sustainable piece of furniture for, Icon Modern, that would be equally at home in a in a residential, commercial, or corporate setting.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
KH : We set out to completely understand the environmental impact of the furniture manufacturing process, and then to find measurable ways to reduce that impact, or carbon footprint.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
KH : Icon Modern, currently offers the design for sale. For more information you can visit

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
KH : Approximately five months.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
KH : Icon Modern, has a mission to produce furniture that is gentler on the environment. Fred Sparks, has a specialization in Sustainable design. Once we were aware of one another it was only a matter of time before we'd team up on something together. This design was the product of both of our organizations desire to produce beautiful artifacts while being mindful of the effects that manufacturing has on our environment.

DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
KH : Icon Modern, currently offers the design for sale. For more information you can visit

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
KH : A desire to design quality products whose production are gentler on the environment that we all exist in.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
KH : I think that everyone on our team has been inspired by the great mid-century modern furniture designers.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
KH : People who love clean, timeless design, and who care about the environmental production costs of the things that they purchase.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
KH : That we took the time and applied our expertise to assess the carbon foot print that was associated with our concepts in order to arrive at a best option.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
KH : In the USA, the Midwestern region is often referred to as the "Heartland." Since all of the design, material sourcing, and production occurs in the Midwest we decide to name the piece "Heartland Table." I suppose also because the work was a labor of love.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
KH : Pen and paper, Adobe Creative Suite, Solid Works, Sustainable Minds

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
KH : Sustainability

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
KH : We of course collaborated with the manufacturer, but also our Life Cycle Scientist partners at Sustainable Minds

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
KH : Yes, we had to research all of the material, process, use, and end-of-life factors that have an impact on our environment (the life-cycle carbon footprint).

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
KH : Primarily, working within the manufactures capabilities.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
KH : Design is what we do at, Fred Sparks. It's what we're passionate about. We know that the world is full of many talented designers and great creatives. I suppose that at some point we decided that we wanted a honest review by our peers and along side our peers to see where we rate, but also so that we'd have an opportunity to share our passion.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
KH : I/we learn new things everyday through our creative process. I'm not sure that there is one thing that stands out.

DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
KH : Only that the process of developing the Heartland Table was a lot of fun thanks to our great production partner, Icon Modern, and our LCA partners Sustainable Minds. Working with great people and great organizations makes all the difference through the creative process.