Design Within Reach Partners with Stephen Burks and Berea College on New Student-Crafted Capsule Collection
Exclusive sales collaboration marks latest development in retailer’s multifaceted commitment to increasing diversity in design
(Stamford, Conn.) – August 30, 2021 – Design Within Reach, Inc. (DWR), a part of the MillerKnoll collective (NASDAQ: MLHR), will be the exclusive retail partner of the student-made Crafting Diversity Collection, designed by Stephen Burks Man Made in partnership with Kentucky’s Berea College. The first integrated, coeducational college in the South, Berea College was founded in 1855 and has not charged students tuition since 1892. It only admits students of high promise and very low financial means. One of the ways the college continues to advance its mission of equity and opportunity is through preserving craft while celebrating the rich diversity of its students.
DWR’s partnership with Berea College came out of the retailer’s existing relationship with Stephen Burks Man Made, which began with the introduction of the award-winning Grasso Collection. As a design consultant to Berea College Student Craft since 2018, Stephen Burks developed an ongoing strategy for students to participate in the process of design through product customization. As a result, the Crafting Diversity Collection features Burks’ expressive designs crafted by students in the school’s weaving, basketmaking, ceramics, wood-working, and broom-making studios.
As the exclusive retail partner, DWR will offer the majority of the collection, including baskets, trays, table runners, placemats, and pillows. All products will come with a hangtag that lists the name of the student(s) who made the piece and their field of study.
“Adding the Crafting Diversity Collection to our assortment is a meaningful opportunity for DWR as it highlights the important work of Berea College, including offering a tuition-free promise to all students and keeping traditional craft alive,” said Debbie Propst, President of Global Retail for MillerKnoll. “The ever-talented Stephen Burks’ vision for collaborating directly with students on products that represent Berea’s diverse community is very much aligned with DWR’s values, and we are thrilled to be able to support this incredible program through our exclusive retail partnership.”
The Crafting Diversity Collection is a part of DWR’s ongoing commitment to partner with more designers of color and create opportunities for BIPOC designers and artisans around the world. Crafting Diversity is just the start of DWR’s blossoming partnership with Berea College — MillerKnoll will also offer design internships to Berea College students, help with various aspects of process such as supply chain developments, and DWR will continue to introduce new Berea College Student Craft collections and collaborations online and in stores.
“When the Crafting Diversity Collection began to take shape in the hands of Berea College’s student craftspeople, I could think of no better partner than MillerKnoll and DWR to find a broader audience for this work,” said Burks.
Baskets, trays, table runners, and placemats from the Crafting Diversity Collection are now available to shop today exclusively at dwr.com and in select DWR studios, and Berea College, with pillows set to launch later this fall.
This collection will inaugurate an ongoing DWR editorial series. Evolving Craft will examine how pioneering designers and entrepreneurs, sold through DWR, are helping to spotlight and bring to market traditional crafted designs enriched with new voices and authorship. The editorial, including interviews and short articles will be published on DWR.com, in its catalogs, and social channels.
About Design Within Reach
Design Within Reach is your source for modern living. Founded in 1998 with a mission to provide access to the best in authentic design, the company curates classics from design icons and cultivates next generation talent to deliver an evolving breadth of product that can only be found at DWR. With a solution-oriented approach, the company offers the expertise and services needed to support the way people live today. Headquartered in Stamford, Conn., DWR sells its furniture and accessories to residential and commercial customers through retail Studios in North America, via the web at dwr.com, by phone at 1.800.944.2233. Design Within Reach, Inc., is part of the MillerKnoll collective.
MillerKnoll is a collective of dynamic brands and one of the largest and most influential modern design companies in the world. The company is a result of a deep legacy of design, innovation, and social good. MillerKnoll was created in 2021 from the combination of Herman Miller and Knoll, and includes brands Colebrook Bosson Saunders, DatesWeiser, DWR, Edelman Leather, Fully, Geiger, HAY, Holly Hunt, KnollExtra, Knoll Office, KnollStudio, KnollTextiles, Maars Living Walls, Maharam, Muuto, naughtone, and Spinneybeck|FilzFelt. Guided by a shared vision, common values, and a steadfast commitment to design, MillerKnoll innovates and designs the future while contributing to a more equitable and sustainable future for all.
About Berea College Student Craft
Drawing inspiration from Berea College founder Rev. John G. Fee, Student Craft strives to move the world toward equity, dignity, and concern for the welfare of all peoples of the earth through the design and creation of every product we make.
Berea College Student Craft has been an essential part of the College's Labor Program since 1893. Today, the program provides opportunities for over 100 students each term to study, produce, and teach about craft with a focus on woodworking, fibers, ceramics, and broom-making. In addition to nurturing makers, we are committed to helping students express their identities and hone their design skills to share authentic student-designed products that support The Great Commitments of Berea College. The Crafting Diversity collection is a key component of that work and continues Berea College’s founding mission of conscious inclusion of the historically excluded. www.berea.edu
About Stephen Burks
Stephen Burks is the founder and principal of Stephen Burks Man Made – an internationally recognized product development consultancy based in New York. Over the past twenty years, the studio has engaged the transformative power of craft techniques as a strategy for innovation for some of the world’s leading design-driven brands.
As the first and only African American designer to receive the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Product Design, Stephen has been an outspoken advocate for diversity in the field of design. He is a Harvard Loeb Fellow ‘19 and is currently Adjunct Assistant Professor of Architecture at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation.
His forthcoming exhibition entitled “Stephen Burks Man Made Shelter In Place” will open at the High Museum Of Art in Atlanta in Fall 2022. www.stephenburksmanmade.com
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