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Celebrating the Future of Southern Design: Skylar Morgan Furniture + Design (SMFD), Square Feet Studio, and MODA

The South’s Next Wave Design Challenge at The Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) - an exhibit highlighting southern designers.


Atlanta, November 14, 2012 – While the South has long been a bastion of a certain type of design (think wide front porches and grand, wainscoted parlors), change has certainly come in spades to the land of Dixie, bringing with it a new crop of innovative, utterly forward-looking creatives. The result: a new dialog in design, carried along the humid breeze by a number of up-and coming firms and personalities.

Among these vivid voices shaping the southern—and Atlantan—design space, are Skylar Morgan Furniture + Design (SMFD), outfitters of some of the ATL’s most celebrated and recognizable eateries and social spaces and Square Feet Studio, designers of many of these same places. Today, the two firms are excited to announce their partnership in the Museum of Design Atlanta’s (MODA) The South’s Next Wave: Design Challenge.

Part exhibition, part competition and part celebration of the modern South’s contribution to the national design scene, the challenge teams interior designers and product makers to create vignettes that “showcase objects in unique environments.” Square Feet Studio and SMFD have partnered to merge their similar modern ideologies to create Habitus, a defiantly non-traditional gathering space built around the mutability of one of the world’s favorite materials: wood. “Wood can be anything; can become anything,” says Square Feet Studio Principal John Bencich. “It was the first form of shelter. It can be an object and a finish, a design element and a building material. So it can be used in a way that blurs the line between what’s a dwelling space and a tactile experience.”

With this in mind, the studios collaborated to create a space that does a great deal of line-blurring of its own. Habitus (borrowed from both sociology and construction-speak as a reference to the structure of the mind that we all create from typical societal and spatial experiences), fashions a warm, wood-dominant communal space in which the separations between architecture and furnishings become nearly non-existent and are left to the interpretation of the user. “Together, we drew from connections of objects’ everyday uses, leveraging how they are incorporated into people’s lives while exploring wood as a material, shelter, surface, living form, and product,” says principal Skylar Morgan. “Southern spaces are meant to be shared. We created one to share that also allows a person to make the space their own and naturally inhabit it based on their experience and needs.”

MODA’s The South’s Next Wave: Design Challenge begins showing off these one-of-a-kind creative collaborations (and pitting teams against one another for a visitor-voted cash prize), with a meet-the- designers’ gala at 7 PM November 9th. The exhibit opens to the public Saturday, November 10 and runs through March 2013.
Skylar Morgan Furniture + Design is a furnishings-maker and design studio contributing to the everyday dialog of design that is making the South a creative capital of the U.S. The studio creates friendly, functional pieces for commercial and residential spaces—unique, high-end architectural woodworking and custom furniture designed to be eaten upon, stomped on, gathered around, shared and most importantly, lived in. Visit

Square Feet Studio is a full-service planning, architecture and interior design firm whose designers work in close collaboration with each client to create smart, simple and sustainable solutions that exceed expectations. Square Feet Studio strongly believes in an obligation to enhance the built environment through innovative and thoughtful design. For more information, please visit


 Southern Design
 Southern Designers
 Atlanta Design
 Atlanta Product Designers
 Furniture & Interiors

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