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Designers take bite out of the Big Apple

5th June 2015

Graduates from Northumbria University recently jetted across the Atlantic to exhibit at the prestigious International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York for the fifth year in a row.

Staff and graduates currently from the School of Design flew out last month to present their unique and innovative work to an international audience at one of the premier showcases for contemporary design at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

NY Furniture Fair - WebSince Northumbria began exhibiting at the highly anticipated annual fair, it remains the only European university to have a presence at the event. At the ICFF, alumni and graduates attending the prestigious show are given the opportunity to showcase their work to a global design network and connect with top industry professionals.

Each year, ICFF lures those in pursuit of design’s latest trends to an encyclopaedic exhibition of current offerings, as well as a jam-packed programme and schedule of exhibits, talks and activities.

Rickard Whittingham, a lecturer on the 3D Design course, said: “We have been invited to attend ICFF for the last five years – each year is a resounding success and this year was no exception.

“The opportunity to present at the ICFF is just one of the many doors opened by the programme. It is here that our graduates are exposed to the industry’s movers and shakers – those at the top of their game, giving them a crystal clear insight into what it is to become a designer beyond education.

“Exhibiting is an expensive thing to do, and difficult to attempt alone, so to be on a level platform demonstrating their work alongside prestigious brands in the design community is an invaluable opportunity and has been a real door opener for a number of our graduates.”

Northumbria’s 3D Design course is for hands-on product and furniture designers who are driven by a passion to make their own design concepts. It is an opportunity to hone students’ craftsmanship skills while developing a sophisticated knowledge of design research, concept development and market awareness.

The degree is taught in industry-standard studios and workshops with facilities designed to encourage students to experiment with materials and practice a variety of manufacturing methods – both new and traditional. Students are supported in this by a team of academic staff and technicians who are all practising designers and skilled craftsmen.

This course is also linked to Northumbria’s Designers in Residence programme, which is a hothouse scheme created to nurture the brightest and best in new design talent.

The University’s provides graduates with access to workspace, materials, equipment, on-site mentoring and an invaluable two-year breathing space to further hone their business and design skills. In this way, Northumbria supports students to make the transition from graduate to successful entrepreneur as smooth as possible.

Northumbria University’s highly acclaimed list of graduates from Art and Design includes Sir Jonathan Ive, Chief Design officer at Apple and Simon Butterworth, Design Director for Ford Cars. For more information about our Designer in Residence scheme contact Rickard Whittingham at

To find out more about Northumbria’s Design courses, visit or sign up for one of its open days on 26 and 27 June by visiting

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