Furniture Designers Association

What is furniture design all about? Is it only for furniture designers?

The first Furniture Designers Association came into existence on 25th October 1917, where it formed its first constitution and by-laws. However, it was conceptualized in 1916 in Grand Rapids, known as the city for furniture manufacturing by a local manufacturer Robert W. Irwin. He wanted to promote a good relation between the manufacturer and the furniture designers. Thereafter he arranged for a meeting between the two groups, which was successful Thus, three of the furniture designers William L. Kimerly, J. Stuart Clingman and Thomas Handley determined to form an association for the benefit of both the designers as well as the manufacturers. They encouraged local furniture designers to join the association. Thus, the Grand Rapids Association was formed and E. Berkey Jones was elected as the president, the owner of William A. Berkey Co. along with eighteen skilled furniture designers and all the members of Furniture Manufacturers Association were admitted as the contract members.


The membership of this association was restricted to only the local furniture designers of Grand Rapids. In 1920, the Furniture Designers Association was restructured and the membership was given to all the certified designers throughout the United States. Initially the associate membership was given to the suppliers and later on granted to furniture design students. The need for a good prospective forced many designers to move out form Grand Rapids. At present, there are numerous furniture designers in Grand Rapids, who design mostly for the market of Southern furniture market in High Point, North Carolina.


In 1926, Thomas Johnson, the then president declared that the aim and purpose of the Grand Rapids furniture designers is to cooperate and work for the welfare to standardize furniture designs and constructions. It doesn’t mean that there are no place for the custom furniture design. At present the association works to stabilize the furniture design standards and to acquaintance and educate the work in the field of furniture designers. It has around 90 members and this has led to more frequent meetings, usually five in a year. The best final year student of Kendall College of art and design of ferris state university located in city centre of Grand Rapids is awarded $1500 every year in December.

Other Furniture Designer Associations:

  1. American Society of Furniture Designers (ASFD). It was established in 1981 as an international non-profit professional organization. It works towards improving, supporting and advancement in furniture designing. The memberships are not just limited to American furniture designers, but also international professional designers can become a member of American Society of Furniture Designers.
  2. Chicago Furniture Designers Association. The Chicago Furniture Designers Association is formed to encourage the art and craft of innovative furniture design by raising the community of furnishings designers and makers. The meetings are held on every second Tuesday each month. At the Chicago Furniture Designers Association, designers meet and exchange ideas and information on furniture designs and making to broaden their expertise. The association also organizes exhibitions for certified members. Finally, the association encourages designers to work up to widen their interests in furniture designing.

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