I am contacting you on behalf of Ford Motor Company with a story idea we thought you might find interesting involving the intersection of furniture design and automotive engineering.

Earlier this month, the Ford Kuga (badged as the Ford Escape in North America) was at the global furniture design event, Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, to showcase its new spacious, high-quality interior. Back in Dearborn, MI, Escape/Kuga engineer Rick Bolt is using furniture as a creative outlet, building impressive modern furniture on his spare time.

Below is a press release that provides an inside look at the commonalities between automobile and furniture design, with a highlight on Bolt’s inspirations.

Thank you for your consideration.


Susan Hendrick
Media Relations for Ford Motor Company

Ford Escape/Kuga at the Salone del Mobile in Milan

Rick Bolt: Escape Engineer Creates Modern Furniture to Unwind, Provoke Emotional Appeal

This week the Ford Kuga (badged as Escape in North America) is at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, one of the most prestigious global furniture and design shows in the world.

The event will showcase thousands of high-quality products destined for the global market to an audience of design enthusiasts. The Salone is a natural fit to showcase the evolution of Ford’s design of the popular compact SUV platform, highlighting its new spacious and high-quality interior.

But that’s not the only link to furniture this vehicle has: A glance at Rick Bolt’s homemade bed, and automotive engineering is not the first profession that comes to mind for its designer.

The stainless steel frame resembles a sculpture more so than the traditional wood box most beds reside in.

“What appeals to me about modern furniture is the relationship between function and emotion,” said Bolt, who coordinated the global engineering effort for Ford’s new Escape-Kuga small utility vehicle.

While there may not be many commonalities between building cars and making furniture, Bolt calls out the role emotional appeal plays in both. The function of the object, such as a piece of furniture or a vehicle, plays only a small part in the decision-making process of the buyer, Bolt notes. The connection on an emotional level influences a person to purchase one thing over another.

“People make decisions on what car they buy based on more than mere functionality,” Bolt says. “There’s an emotional appeal that cannot be discounted. Customers want and need different things, which are influenced by personal preferences and aspirations.”

Fifteen years ago, Bolt made a clock from the pieces of a wrecked race car’s gear and clutch for a former racing teammate’s wedding present.

What started out as a project for a gift turned into a passionate hobby of designing provocative modern furniture pieces from old, often scrap material.

He has built a table with stained glass from a house in Chicago and a bench from salvaged oak from a former tavern in Germany, among other projects big and small.

A busy work schedule has put Bolt’s personal projects on hold (he also works on cars, his first hobby before furniture), but he is slowly constructing a dining room table from salvaged German oak as well as a stainless steel fireplace.

Bolt is particularly attracted to modern furniture with earlier design inspirations. His favorites are art deco and art nouveau works from the early 20th century. Bolt has never taken lessons on furniture making, opting to learn through books and experimentation.

This week the vehicle Bolt worked hard to make a reality, the new Kuga, is in Milan for Salone Internazionale del Mobile. One day, Bolt says, he would love to showcase his own furniture there.

• Rick is a native of the “Furniture City,” Grand Rapids, Mich.
• He attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids for three years, then transferred to the University of Michigan where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering
• He has a Mustang Cobra and Ford F-250 Super Duty turbodiesel in his garage