Brunswick Billiards President Brent Hutton approached Herron School of Art and Design to connect with the talented faculty and students in its Furniture Design Program. The task? To reimagine the Gold Crown pool table for its sixth edition. The Gold Crown is Brunswick’s most iconic table—preferred by the pros and tapped by Hollywood to serve as the centerpiece of such classic movies as The Color of Money and The Hustler.
Through the school’s Basile Center for Art, Design and Public Life, 11 furniture design graduate students got the chance to create a new version. The Basile Center pairs Herron students and faculty with real client projects. Everyone involved gets an education in the process.
Brunswick views pool as a more than a game. Each pool table is a finely crafted piece of furniture, so the pairing was perfect.
Over the years, Hutton’s exposure to Herron as a Bedford, Indiana native and an alumnus of Indiana University has made a favorable impression. He has spent lunches between business meetings in Indianapolis at Herron, looking at student work. “The thing I remembered most is the freshness of the ideas,” he said. “I really did not see that anywhere else, and at the time I was traveling to New York and Chicago.
“The fit for me,” Hutton continued, “was, unlike an industrial design school, this was studio design, and I thought leading edge in terms of art and thinking.” Hutton considered the leap he was about to take working with students. “It was a risk we took,” he said, “but I tell you, it could not have worked out any better.”
Guided by faculty members Cory Robinson, Katie Hudnall and Glen Fuller, a detailed specification provided by Brunswick and their own research, the students had the opportunity to work on a project that would have been an exhilarating and challenging assignment for a seasoned professional—refreshing the Gold Crown’s appeal to a tech culture and a female audience while retaining its iconic brand attributes.
At the end of June, three finalists remained; Sam Ladwig, Shelley Spicuzza and Colin Tury. When the designs were presented to a gathering of Brunswick Billiards’ top retailers, they met with an enthusiastic response. The students will gain more than a hefty notch on their belts; the first place designer wins an award of $2,500, and the two honorable mention designers will walk away with $500 each. A decision about which design goes into production is expected later this summer. We’ll keep Herronline readers updated as this story develops. To hear an interview with the finalists produced by James Gray of WFIU radio, click here.