The Silicon Valley of Furniture

This story is featured in the Fall 2016 edition of the HPU Magazine, headed soon to a mailbox near you. Discover below how opportunity and innovation abound in High Point – the Silicon Valley of Furniture.


There’s a reason the City of High Point is known as the Silicon Valley of Furniture.

A few blocks down from High Point University’s campus is the High Point Market, the world’s largest semiannual home furnishings industry trade show. Twice a year, market brings 75,000 people from 100 countries to the city of High Point for a global meeting of furniture professionals.

furniture-market-amanda-shufordDuring market, HPU students work showrooms and rub elbows with famous designers like Chip and Joanna Gaines, Ty Pennington, Candice Olson, country singer Trisha Yearwood and NFL player Jared Allen, who unveil new product lines at market. Other celebrities like Ralph Lauren, Paula Deen and Peter Frampton are there, too.

These industry leaders frequently commend and seek out HPU students for their talents.

“It is great to be a part of something like this and take what I am doing inside of the classroom and put it into action at market,” said HPU interior design student Amanda Shuford. “I am getting real-world, tangible experience attending a university located in the furniture capital of the world. Students elsewhere don’t get this opportunity.”

Thanks to intense curriculum, advanced technology and experiential learning opportunities found at the High Point Market and throughout the city, HPU students regularly showcase their talents and work with major furniture companies.

Opportunity and innovation abound.




From Paper to Production

Students in the School of Art and Design have access to equipment like a 20+ station MAC lab with Cintiq interactive pen displays, fully equipped 2D and 3D studios, drafting labs and more. These students master design programs that are industry standards — programs like Sketch-Up, CAD, REVIT and the Adobe Suite.

Then, their designs come to life using a 3D printer on campus. It produces to-scale models of furnishings or products at a degree of detail tempered only by their imagination.

For some students, their designs go even further.

A project created by Emma Newell, a 2013 graduate, was found in dorm rooms across the country shortly after she graduated. FOB, a furniture retailer based in Charlotte, North Carolina, put Newell’s double armoire design into production.

shermag-aria-realAnd there’s interior design major Aria Real, whose furniture design may be put into production by Shermag Furniture, a Canadian furniture company that could distribute her product to major retailers.

Shermag approached HPU’s interior design program about hosting a competition amongst students to design a new crib and changing table to sell in America.

“We have been coming to market for over 25 years and have seen the university grow,” said Alex Adimari, president and chief operating officer for Shermag. “We chose High Point University above all other schools because of their tie to the furniture market and the great reputation that the university and the interior design department have.”

Real, a senior, won first place with her crib design. She received a cash prize and a trip to the Shermag factory in Montreal over the summer, where she presented her multifunctional crib idea to the company and representatives from Babies R Us. The company may sell the product in its stores across the country after Shermag puts it into production.

John Turpin

Dr. John Turpin

“I am so grateful to participate in this competition,” said Real, a native of Abingdon, Maryland. “I have gained valuable experience from this and it is an opportunity that I got because I am a High Point University student. I wouldn’t have received this anywhere else.”

Shermag plans to hold another design competition for HPU students in the future.

“Our connections with the furniture industry are driving the education for our students into the 21st century,” said Dr. John Turpin, dean of the School of Art and Design. “It is great to have many companies just like Shermag partner with us to give our students invaluable experience.”




View this story and more in the Fall 2016 edition of the HPU Magazine:

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