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wakaNINE and Sunbrella Come Together for Night of Giving at Design Connections

February 15, 2019

At this year’s Night of Giving during the sixth annual Design Connections event, a host of designers and sponsors applied their creative skills to decorate lights for local Habitat for Humanity home recipients in the Jacksonville, Fla., area.

The social event included a lighting contest, where attendees put together the design-forward Floral lights generously donated by wakaNINE.

Participants selected themed bandanas to sort into eight teams. Following the directions of wakaNINE’s CEO John Cook and publisher of interiors+sources Steven Sloan, attendees crafted and assembled Floral light kits designed by New Zealand-based David Trubridge. Dozens of textile samples donated by Sunbrella, along with a variety of embellishing materials, were provided to decorate the eight lights with cohesive designs.

A Contest With a Purpose

The goal of the contest was to provide one-of-a-kind art pieces to families who received homes through the Habitat for Humanity program of Jacksonville. Catherine Freeman, the program’s fund development coordinator, was a judge at the event. Winner criteria focused on:

  • Originality
  • Durability and cleanability of materials
  • Maintenance of the integrity of the original light design
  • Overall aesthetic

Awards were announced by Sloan during the final reception of Design Connections. “We chose to partner with Habitat for Humanity because it’s an organization that truly cares about the interior environment of the spaces they are creating, similar to i+s’ mission,” says Sloan. “Both of us are interested in creating healthy, aesthetically-pleasing spaces that are meant to last for years to come.”

Charitable group activities for past Design Connections events have included creating “wagons of love” for a local children’s hospital, as well as art structures made from 2,000 cans of donated canned food.

See more of the benefit on Instagram ♦

“Attendees really enjoy these activities as they provide a fun way to give back to the area in which the event is taking place while also meeting people in the industry,” says Sloan. “Wagons of love was really memorable, as the wagons were used to move kids around in the hospital versus using a wheelchair, which can be intimidating and scary for some.”

Get an inside view with Robert Nieminen, editor-at-large for i+s, of the novelty event. Donate to the cause by clicking here.

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About the author
Adrian Schley | Associate Editor

Adrian Schley is an Associate Editor for i+s, where she has been covering the commercial interior design industry since 2018. Her work can also be found in BUILDINGS and Meetings Today.