Furniture Design: Interview with Joey Ruiter

By Karen Koenig | Posted: 07/08/2013 9:31AM

 

Nucraft Furniture The Flow XT Conference Table is unique in that it is the first North American office furniture product to be issued an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), independently certified by SCS Global Services.

Joey RuiterJoey Ruiter With Nucraft Furniture, acclaimed designer Joey Ruiter developed the Flow XT, a new standard for technology accommodation. Designed for the changing needs of offices and technology, the table’s center remains flat over the power grommets and the cords “flow into” the channel, explains Ruiter, founder and lead designer of jruiter + studio. The design also allows for easy change of power/data ports as the need arises.

“Facilities and IT departments love the benefits,” he says.

Wood Products recently interviewed Ruiter to learn more about the design process - and the designer himself.

Wood Products: How did you get started as a designer? Has this always been your passion?

Joey Ruiter: I didn’t know what “design” was until mid college. I saw an Industrial Design Student show at Kendall College and realized I had been doing something similar my whole life... I never had a name for it.

WP: What led to your designing products for the office furniture industry?

Ruiter: Office furniture is a major influence in the design community in Grand Rapids MI. Basically internships and opportunity - I do love it though.

WP: How long does it typically take to develop a design for a conference table, for example? What are some of the factors that must be considered in developing a design?

Ruiter: That is hard to answer since I think about furniture things all of time and have been for almost 15 years- But A typical timeline from initial talks to shipping a final product is just under a year. I like fast moving projects, its just cutting wood and some metal once and a while- 

WP: As a designer, how much weight do you give to the product’s sustainability?

Ruiter: Sustainability is a large part of my decision making process. I usually know ahead of time what I would do or not do. Since I start the concepts and follow it through manufacturing I have pretty good control over it. I rule for me is if I would do it in my shop personally, I would let someone else do it all day... 

WP: Nucraft’s Flow Table is the first North American office furniture product to be issued an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), independently certified by SCS Global. From a design standpoint, what makes this product unique? How did you come up with the name Flow?

Ruiter: The Flow table had the best engineers, marketing, and builders around. We all worked together to create the table that had the features we set out to get. The concept came out of being as straight forward about the needs of a meeting as possible. Meeting change and technology changes, lets have table that do too.

The table stays flat over power grommets, the cords slip easily down into the channel to stay low “they flow into it”, and the power / data ports can change easily over time depending on needs. Facilities and I.T. departments love the benefits.

WP: You have designed quite a number of award-winning projects for izzy+, Nucraft and other firms. What has been your most challenging project to date and why?

Ruiter: I applied my starting over style process to the automobile this past two years. Rethinking and building a car from scratch is very challenging to say the least.


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About the Author

Karen M. Koenig

Karen M. Koenig has more than 25 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As Editor-in-Chief of Woodworking Network magazine (formerly Wood & Wood Products), Karen’s primary responsibilities include spearheading the writing, editing and coordinating of the editorial content of the publication, along with the Red Book resource guide and the Red Book online source and supply directory (RedBookOnline.com). She is also a frequent contributor to other Woodworking Network online and print media. She can be reached at kkoenig@woodworkingnetwork.com or Google+.

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