Posts Tagged ‘John Martin-Rutherford’


For a college steeped in a strong tradition of superior interior design, it takes an outstanding individual to lead the Interior Design department as Chair. Dr John Martin-Rutherford is just such an individual. When we recently found out that Dr. Martin-Rutherford was selected as President-Elect of the Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC) we couldn’t be more proud! IDEC is an internationally recognized interior design organization whose mission is the advance interior design education, scholarship and service.

Within his candidate statement for the position, Dr. Martin-Rutherford stated, “I believe that we become stronger as a profession when we increase the professional practice skills of our graduates, giving them the lead in attaining those positions in firms where they can rise to their greatest potential. Strengthening our educational requirements and expanding students’ views of the profession and what that brings to more successful architecture and urban environments is one means of giving us greater clout in the tough economic situation of the 21st Century. Interior Designers deserve positions of power based on education and experience. If we must battle against incursions from stronger professional groups, let us do it from strength that comes from great educational environments and professional programs.”

The Harrington College of Design is proud to have our instructors affiliated with IDEC and honored to have hosted the Mid-West IDEC Conference at our College for the past few years (organized in great part with the help of Elizabeth Wersells, a Harrington Interior Design instructor and IDEC Member).

You can learn more about Harrington College’s Interior Design College program in this great short film Dr. John Martin-Rutherford was recently featured in:

About Dr. John Martin-Rutherford:John Martin-Rutherford is Harrington College of Design’s Interior Design Department Chair and newly selected President-Elect of IDEC. With an extensive design background, John began his education with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Art from The Centre College of Kentucky. From there, he continued his educational journey with a second Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture and a Master’s of Interior Design from University of Kentucky in Louisville where he also taught and worked at an architecture firm for several years. Soon after, he relocated to Austin, TX where he had the opportunity to work with the renowned Dr. Charles Moore at the University of Texas, where he also attained a Master’s Degree in Architecture. After working with Dr. Moore on several projects, John moved to San Francisco where he worked as the Director of Interior Design and architectural project manager for Leo A. Daly Co. He also pursued a PhD from Berkeley in Architecture, but returned to his home state of Kentucky to attend University of Louisville and obtain the last of his six degrees–a PhD in Urban Design.

From urban think tanks to running his own practice, the JM-R Studio, to teaching, Dr. John Martin-Rutherford has led a vibrant role in the interior design industry and is also a huge promoter of the arts in all areas of his life.


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White paper by John Martin-Rutherford, PhD, Chairperson, Harrington College of Design Interior Design Program. This feature is continued from yesterday.

Understanding what underlies the ‘renewable’ designation as well as the ecological effect of its manufacture and use is the first level of analysis.  Should a sustainable resource pass this first level, we must determine whether its harvesting, shipping and manufacturing processes contribute to any air, land or water damage.    Are harmful chemicals involved in the manufacturing or delivery processes that cannot be rendered inert after the process is complete?  Do these chemicals harm the people involved in the process?  If the answer to any of these is affirmative, then, again, the resource is not as ‘sustainable’ as we might imagine or be told.  Lastly, if the product can be used and adapted again and again over an increasingly longer lifespan, then the product is sustainable over time; a welcome benefit to the consumer.

The concept of sustainability is simple but the determination of what is deemed to be sustainable is not.  Sustainable design must go beyond the surface in order to determine the degree of sustainability of a product.  Once that is determined, the responsible designer can make decisions based on a complete set of facts and not just opinions or assumptions.   The manufacturing industry is beginning to respond to the necessity and desire for truly sustainable products by creating and marketing products that are acceptable and sometimes even preferable to less environmentally friendly choices.  However, the designer is the one who has the responsibility to make certain that the product is truly ‘sustainable’ and that the design and installation completes the sustainability gestalt.

– John Martin-Rutherford, PhD 

About Dr. John Martin-Rutherford , Chairperson, Harrington College of Design Interior Design Program:
John Martin-Rutherford began his design journey as a young child who enjoyed painting. He turned his innate interest in art into a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Art from The Centre College of Kentucky as well as a second Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture and a Master’s of Interior Design from University of Kentucky in Louisville. After travelling to Austin, TX to work with Dr. Charles Moore at the University of Texas, John went on to attain a Master’s Degree in Architecture then moved to San Francisco where he served as Director of Interior Design and architectural project manager for Leo A. Daly Co. John eventually moved back to his home state of Kentucky to attend University of Louisville and obtain the last of his six degrees–a PhD in Urban Design.

John is a huge promoter of the arts in all arenas of his life. He renovated a mansion in Louisville, KYinto a center for the arts where art exhibits, musical soirees, theater companies, and writers are all welcome. John, himself, is an oil painter and sculptor and has been president of the Kentucky Opera Guild, president of the theater group in college, on the board of Pandora Productions (a theatre company), etc. He has lived and studied in Italy and France and traveled around Asia, and was a United States representative to the International Laboratory of Architecture and Urban Design in Urbino, Italy. He believes strongly in the benefits of studying design in diverse regions and countries and has a personal love of Japanese Art, Architecture, and Landscapes.

John has many goals for his time at Harrington and is focused on creating a diverse atmosphere with a more global focus. He is also dedicated on preparing students for the real design world by creating confident and capable designers for the future.

Photo courtesy Minimalist Photography

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White paper by John Martin-Rutherford, PhD, Chairperson, Harrington College of Design Interior Design Program


One of the biggest buzzwords around these days is ‘sustainable’.  It seems that the word has gained some interest for the public as well as the business and governmental sectors of most communities.  In the design industry it is no longer a question of ‘should we or shouldn’t we’ but another constant in the way products and design projects are conceived and produced.  However, if we asked a dozen people what the word meant, we would probably get a dozen substantially different answers.  Sometimes listening to different viewpoints is a positive thing when the viewpoints are properly collected, analyzed and compared.  However, beginning with a basic understanding of the subject under discussion is a requirement.   Sustainable design is a relatively new aspect of the design process and, as with most ‘new’ things in the marketplace, it is a term that is often misunderstood and misapplied.   It is a marketable commodity.   Used intelligently and with integrity, it is not just a laudable thing but a necessary one.  However, as most ‘new’ ideas and concepts in any industry, it is often adopted too quickly and without a complete understanding of the term or it is adopted unscrupulously to ride on the wings of the latest high-flying and easily merchandised product.

Sustainable design is only a part of the concept of ‘sustainability’.  Sustainability is an indivisible part of ecological stewardship of the planet’s resources.  Its effect is not just on the planet but on the humans and other creatures that inhabit the planet.  It is a gestalt; a complete and mutually-dependent operation.  A product may use a rapidly renewable resource as its primary element, but we must look at what underlies the ‘renewable’ designation as well as the ecological effect of its manufacture and use.  For instance, a rapidly renewable resource may be one that is produced quickly and with few or no fertilizers or pest control requirements but what negative affect does its growth have on the land, air and water used in its farming?  Does the resource contribute to ozone layer damage or water depletion or is the land denuded of enough nutrients to require it to remain fallow for some time after a crop is harvested?  Does its farming deprive indigenous species of their natural habitat?  If any of these is answered affirmatively, then the resource is not as ‘sustainable’ as we might think. 

Keep reading tomorrow!

Photo courtesy Minimalist Photography

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On Friday, January 28th, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation‘s 14th Annual Grand Chefs Gala and Jean Banchet Awards took over 500 guests on a journey down the yellow brick road at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago. The fundraiser included tasting stations from more than 40 Chicago chefs, pastry chefs and bartenders.

From delectable food to stunning Emerald City décor, the event featured premium silent and live auction items and presented Jean Banchet Awards to Chicago’s outstanding chefs, restaurants, and catering companies in their respective categories. Also present at the black-tie event was a stunning display crafted by a team from the Harrington College of Design!

For the “Emerald City” theme, a team of students from Harrington built a life-size poppy field display with a replica of the gates of Oz. They also created matching centerpiece decorations. Check out a glimpse of the making of the display (recognize the room??) and the final piece at the event!

Special thanks go to Harrington’s Andy Conklin and Dirk Fletcher, who donated work for the silent auction, and Demetra Vartzikos and John Martin-Rutherford, who led this project, and all Harrington students who helped:

Annie Davies, Amanda Hines, Brian Naglich, Natalie Malik, Elizabeth Campbell, Emily Wiegel, Jaclyn Moser, Joanna Peterson and Shauna Schurman.

Photos courtesy Harrington Interior Design instructor Demetra Vartzikos

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Tomorrow, see Harrington College of Design’s own John Martin-Rutherford, Interior Design Department Chair, present an Interior Design session at Chicago’s Career Day 2010 for Architecture, Interior Design, Construction Management and Landscape Architecture!

Visit tomorrow:

Chicago Architecture + Design College Day
Saturday, October 16, 2010
11:00 am to 3:00pm
Hermann Hall Conference Center
Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)   

The Chicago Architecture + Design College Day is a free event open to high school and college students, parents, teachers, and counselors interested in learning more about careers in architecture, interior design, construction management, and landscape architecture. From 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, the College Fair will host over 30 colleges and universities with degree programs in architecture, interior design, construction management, and/or landscape architecture. Representatives will be available to provide information, provide materials, and answer questions on their respective degree programs.

To obtain a complete list of colleges attending or for further details on the Chicago Career Day 2010 or to register for the event, check out the following website: www.chicagocareerday.org.

How else was Harrington College of Design involved with the event? Our Communication Design students, including Katelyn Smith and creative go-round  designed the event’s evite, program and signage!

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The Harrington College of Design booth at NeoCon 2010 had a stunning design that attracted many visitors, including Merchandise Mart President, Chris Kennedy.  The booth was designed entirely by Harrington students (see below for names!) in the ELE319 Exhibit Design class led by Communication Design Chair and instructor Brad Kisner, and Interior Design Chair and instructor John Martin-Rutherford this past Spring.

Check out a short film of the booth created by Harrington’s Digital Photography Chair and instructor Dirk Fletcher, who shot the video with Canon’s 14mm, 24mm–70mm and 100-400mm L lenses along with the Zeiss 25mm.

Harrington Student Designers of the Harrington College of Design NeoCon 2010 Booth included:
Jessica Kraynak, Laura Schlueter, Currie Heinze, Allan Nacapuy, Katelyn Smith, Christie Smith, Rich Milligan, Lauren Howell, Kathryn Hutchens, Katie Pope, Dianna Speisman, Amy Cracchiolo and Angela Bowen. 

Harrington Booth General Contractor: Jim Kursar/ndio inc.
Harrington Booth Flooring donated by Vortex Commercial Flooring

Booth photos and video courtesy Dirk Fletcher

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The DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS) Chicago 22nd Annual Gala kicked off on Saturday, June 12 at The Palmer House Hilton Hotel in downtown Chicago. The Gala’s theme, “Believe: 2010: See: 2020: Perfect Vision: An AIDS Free World” envisions a journey towards a future without AIDS. Through the stunning theatrics staged by Kehoe Designs, Total Event Resources and sparc, inc.,  attendees were whisked from the present to the feature in an array of lighting, lasers, media graphics and a swooping runway while enjoying cocktails, dinner, entertainment, a live auction and dancing. Check some glimpses of the event below:

Over 500 designers, industry leaders, architects and guests attended the event, including many from Harrington, such as Erik Parks, President of Harrington and past DIFFA Board Member, Dr. John Martin-Rutherford, Chairperson of the Interior Design Program and DIFFA Board Member, and several HCD alumni and students who attended or volunteered for the event.
As Dr. Martin-Rutherford said, “The DIFFA-Chicago Gala was one of the most memorable parties ever and the money collected will help tremendously in furthering the goals of AIDS eradication throughout the world and, particularly, through DIFFA-CHICAGO’s support of local agencies and non-profits engaged full-time in the struggle against this hideous disease.”
Proceeds from the event contribute to DIFFA/Chicago’s Excellence in Care grant program which has awarded over $2.5 million since 1987.  The Gala was co-chaired by Rick Gilman of Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP; Lynn Fordon of Steelcase; and Richard Cassis of sparc, inc.  Serving as Legacy Sponsor was Herman Miller, Steelcase was the Presenting Sponsor and Contract magazine was the Gala’s National Media Sponsor.    

Founded in 1984, DIFFA/Chicago is a not-for-profit fundraising and grant-making foundation that distributes funds to Chicago area HIV/AIDS service agencies that provide direct service, preventative education and outreach to people who are HIV positive, living with AIDS or at risk for infection
Photos courtesy Brad Kisner and BizBash Chicago

Harrington College of Design was proud to be a Partner sponsor of the event.

About DIFFA/Chicago:

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