Fast Company honors furniture makers for Innovation by Design


The SILQ office chair. Courtesy Steelcase

A national business publication has recognized a pair of West Michigan furniture makers for excellence in the workplace design category of its international awards program.

Fast Company published this week its 2019 Innovation by Design awards list, and works by Holland-based Haworth and Grand Rapids-based Steelcase were named among the “483 most inspiring, innovative designs for 2019,” Fast Company says in the publication.

“It always gives us great pleasure to honor the best design and designers working today — but this year was unique, not only because of the sheer number of entrants (more than 4,000!), but because of the strength of the works submitted,” said Stephanie Mehta, editor-in-chief, Fast Company.

Haworth’s Digital Knits, a high-performance, custom fiber-knit seating innovation, was named a finalist in the workplace design category.

The SILQ chair by Steelcase — a high-performance, patent-pending chair made of composite materials that responds to the natural movements of the human body with one adjustment: height — received an honorable mention in the workplace category.

A variety of organizations were honored for their Innovation by Design: Nike was named Design Company of the Year; New American Economy took the top prize in the data design category for its NAE Cities Index; Roo, Planned Parenthood’s “discreet and easy-to-use” AI chatbot for sex-ed questions claimed the General Excellence award; Do Black, a climate-focused credit card by Mastercard/Doconomy that shuts down when users’ purchases hit a “carbon emissions limit,” won Best Design in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and many more.


Every year, Fast Company’s Innovation by Design awards honor “the best designs in business, from products to buildings to UX,” according to the magazine.

Fast Company’s editors and writers spend a year researching and reviewing award applicants.

This year, Fast Company’s roster of experts from across the design world reviewed more than 4,300 entries — a record — and chose 22 winners and 483 honorees that represent the best work in each category.

The full list of Innovation by Design award honorees is online and will be published in the October issue of Fast Company.

Other Michigan honorees

Mobility category

Finalist: Little Roadie Project by May Mobility, Ann Arbor

Social good category

Winner: The Water Box by 501CThree, Trinity Baptist Church, Flint

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