The irony and the ecstacy

How Ample Sample's winning design turned trash to treasure, back to trash, and back to treasure again.

In March, we launched a design competition called Ample Sample along with do-gooders from Bentley Prince Street and Floor Focus magazine. The brief? To refuse to see carpet samples as refuse, instead viewing them as raw materials for a new interiors product.

After many great entries and some debate among the judges, ten finalists were selected and a Judge's Choice a winner was announced - Rugburm, a remarkably beautiful and functional chair designed out of 42 samples, by a team at RSA Los Angeles. The RSA team generously offered to build their design and ship it to us at NeoCon. The box was delivered to the exhibit space and after opening it to be certain that all was in order, we stacked the posters of other finalists alongside it.

Then, tragedy struck. Apparently a member of the Merchandise Mart's housekeeping staff opened the box, saw that it was full of carpet samples, and decided that should be carted away as trash. So when we returned to the exhibit space to set everything up, there were posters but no Rugburm. And by the time that the Mart staff solved the mystery (thank you Michael Ancheta, who saved the day), Rugburm was already at the dump. Yes, you heard correctly - this amazing rethinking and reuse of project tools, to make something beautiful, was at the dump. Despite the designers' glorious redemption of samples, someone had not been able to see it for the beautiful object that it had become.

There is a happy ending - the staff was able to retrieve it from the dump, only slightly worse for wear, and after some quick emailing with the RSA designers (thank you James Wong, who also saved the day), it was set up in time for day one of NeoCon and the People's Choice judging awards.

But it's another reminder of how far there is to go in changing the way that people re-think.

Pictures will be posted tonight, or go to the Ample Sample website to see the CADs + download plans to build all of the finalists' entries.

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Our blog is mostly about sustainable design in the interiors industry,
especially carpet. Sometimes it's just about us. Updated when we've got something good to say.