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Iconic American furniture designer Dakota Jackson has joined Savannah College of Art and Design as honorary chair of furniture design. Jackson will mentor students from the university's undergraduate and graduate furniture design programs during his two-year appointment, continuing SCAD's mission to prepare talented students for creative careers.
"Viewing the historical, cultural, market and technological landscape of design from different vantage points, in addition to developing essential skill sets, is critical to making informed career decisions," Jackson said. "Partnering with SCAD, given our shared educational interests, is the perfect forum."
Jackson will continue his professional design work in New York while helping SCAD's School of Building Arts administration advance the strategic vision and leadership of the furniture design program. In addition to mentoring students in the classroom as they master technical skills and develop a unique design aesthetic, Jackson will enhance the program's emphasis on the business of design.
"Dakota Jackson is the ultimate name in furniture design," said Paula Wallace, SCAD president and co-founder. "SCAD students are fortunate to learn from an artist of Dakota's caliber, and his impact on our university community will surely resonate for decades to come."
Jackson has produced groundbreaking furniture over four decades, with work ranging from early prototypes to one-of-a-kind pieces produced for international clientele to large-scale productions. His firm has grown to include factories in New York and international locations.
Jackson's view is that manufacturing now takes place around the world. With flagship showrooms in New York and Los Angeles, a network of affiliated national showrooms and an international distribution network, Jackson's designs touch on every aspect of living, working and recreation.
Jackson's mission-to make quality custom furniture widely available to designers, architects and their clients-has earned him commissions, including an early design for Yoko Ono and John Lennon, for Madison Avenue boutiques, piano manufacturer Steinway and Sons, luxury hotels worldwide, cruise ships, and public and university libraries including San Francisco Public Library and Harvard University Law Library. Jackson's commission for Temple Jeremiah of Winnetka, Illinois, earned him and his collaborator, architect H. Gary Frank, an American Institute of Architects Religious Art and Architecture Design Award.
Beyond his goals of designing and manufacturing fine furniture, Jackson also fosters a corporate culture that is committed to the community at large. Employing people who bring skills from all over the world, his factories in Queens, New York, are fertile fields for aspiring designers and craftsmen. SCAD graduate Caleb Zipperer (B.F.A., production design, 2002) was one of these young designers, working with Jackson prior to accepting a position with the upscale home furnishing retailer West Elm. Through seminars, speeches, internships and apprenticeships, Jackson strives to support design education and an emerging generation of designers.
"Dakota Jackson's unique personal and professional ethos resounds with the SCAD mission, as well as the philosophy of the SCAD furniture design program and School of Building Arts," said Christian Sottile, AIA, SCAD School of Building Arts dean. "Dakota will share the intensity and rigor that has defined his career with SCAD, while serving as a model and mentor for the next generation of design talent."
SCAD is planning a retrospective exhibition of Jackson's work to be exhibited at the SCAD Museum of Art during his tenure as honorary chair of furniture design.
SCAD offers Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees in furniture design. The SCAD furniture design program fosters designers who understand modern manufacturing technology and create stylish, functional furniture that can be easily produced, marketed and sold. In an effort to encourage accountability for the broader impact of their ideas, students are taught to transform traditional practices by infusing sustainable approaches. The SCAD furniture design department is also the only academic member in the United States that belongs to the Sustainable Furnishings Council, a nonprofit group that promotes sustainable practices among manufacturers, retailers and consumers.
Students in the SCAD furniture design program gain real-world experience through collaborative projects with respected professionals and furniture companies. SCAD students have participated in industry-sponsored projects with the Italian Trade Commission, 220 Elm at the High Point Market in North Carolina, DeRose Design, Urban Outfitters, Hickory Business Furniture and others. As a result of sponsored projects, furniture design students may see their designs prototyped and produced.
Media requests may be directed to Sunny Nelson at 912.525.5225.
The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution conferring bachelor's and master's degrees at distinctive locations and online to prepare talented students for professional careers. SCAD offers degrees in more than 40 majors.