There was more than the questionable smell of the East River’s salty air wafting through this past weekend’s BKLYN Designs event in DUMBO. A hint of the turning economy could be detected in most of the oven-fresh designs exhibitors had on display. Many of last year’s exhibitors were absent, CASAKids mentioned scaling back wholesale production and focusing on direct-to-consumer retail, and the two wonderful bamboo pieces exhibited by Argington were one-of-a-kind models that would never make it to production because the large panels of 100% bamboo used in their construction made them “way outpriced for this economy.” But even up against a tough economy, Argington found a way to make their designs obtainable with priceless results. Read on to see why they won Inhabitat’s BKLYN Designs ‘Best Kids Design’ award.
So why haul in models that were never intended for sale? Argington’s designers, Jenny Argie and Andrew Thornton, had much more than their bottom line in mind. As potential customers inquired about the alluring furniture pieces, Jenny was sure to inform them of Argington’s intention to basically give them away in order to benefit a worthy cause. To obtain either the bamboo Sahara Crib or Uffizi Bunk Bed on display, all one needed was a $10 raffle ticket (proceeds of which benefited the American Cancer Society), and a lot of luck (read more about the raffle in Abigail’s post). It was invigorating seeing a BKLYN Designs exhibitor turning lemons delivered by a lackluster economy into sweet lemonade that will help refresh those stricken by cancer.
Yet Argington’s philanthropic efforts played only a minor role in the company being awarded the Inhabitat BKLYN Designs ‘Best Kids Design’ award. It is Argington’s longstanding point of view that “thoughtful and intelligent design is essential for sustainability,” which speaks to all of us here at Inhabitots. 99% of their products are made from woods (harvested from renewable forests), non-toxic finishes are used to add color when necessary, and Argington’s goal is to come as close to producing a zero offgassing product as possible. All of this is applied to durable, artistic, modular furniture pieces (the Babylon High Chair alone deserves its own post) that accentuate rooms and educate users.
As a green family, Jenny and Andrew’s sustainability philosophy extends from their home to your own: “Based on the world in which we live, and the world we leave our children and families, Argington follows a clear and decisive path towards sustainable design and manufacturing.” Congrats to Jenny and Andrew on being this year’s award winners!