Debuting at ICFF, competition challenged Detroit students to “design happy”
NEW YORK, NY (May 14, 2016) – Design for delight – that is the direction students at the College for Creative Studies were given in crafting their one-of-a-kind chairs for the 12th Annual Wilsonart® Challenges Student Chair Design Competition. The winning chair and five runners up, sporting a variety of fashionable and functional designs from the Wilsonart® Laminate Collection, will debut in Wilsonart booth #2248 at the 2016 International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) May 14-17 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York.
Wilsonart, a leading manufacturer of decorative engineered surfaces, has for more than a decade hosted this unique challenge, making it the longest running student design competition of its kind in the U.S. Incorporated into the students’ college curriculum, the competition challenges the future generation of designers to go above and beyond form and function to encapsulate a story and project an emotion with their body of work, all the while celebrating the versatility of laminate. This year’s winner and runners up designed for delight, as was their prompt to amuse and engage their audience with their chairs.
Stephen Marchio of the College for Creative Studies was chosen as the competition’s winner for his design, “Prelude,” which will be displayed along with runners up during ICFF. The winning chair is a visual statement on craftsmanship. The form embraces the tension between construction and deconstruction, between fine craftsmanship and that which is “malfatto” or “badly made” in a playful sense.
“The winning chair swept us off our feet,” explains Design Historian and Wilsonart Challenges Program Director Grace Jeffers. “The slanting angles of this chair are an optical illusion, which distract us from the fact that the lines of this form are perfect right angles. It’s a visual puzzle that the judges couldn’t stop thinking about.”
Marchio explains that using laminate for the surface of the chair created a deeper, more intense color than could have been achieved through paint. The pastel colors of Wilsonart® Laminate in Brittany Blue, Sunshine and White further emphasized the “design for delight” theme. “Prelude’s concept is based on the idea that a maker often looks back on his or her work from years ago and can get the sense of progression,” said Marchio. “It projects into the future of a skilled designer’s life while simultaneously honoring all the little steps they took to get there.”
Each year Wilsonart Challenges is hosted at a different American Design school – one that encourages innovative thinking and unique approaches. "What amazes us is how each school’s distinctive culture and approach to design unfolds throughout the project,” said Alison DeMartino, Marketing Communications Director at Wilsonart. “The College for Creative Studies was no exception. We were captivated by the energy of rebirth in Detroit. We see it as one of the most creative places to be in the U.S. right now.”
About “Wilsonart Challenges…”
Wilsonart sponsors the “Wilsonart Challenges…” student design scholarship program to foster the careers of emerging furniture designers in North America. In its 12th year, this competition challenges students at a designated design school to create a unique chair that uses Wilsonart Laminate to answer a specific design challenge.
The College of Creative Studies was selected as the host school for the competition due to its strong curriculum that encourages students to become visual communicators who actively use art and design toward the betterment of society. Located in Detroit, which was once the epicenter of American industrialism, the city has gone through a cultural transformation and was recently honored in UNESCO's Creative Cities Network. The city is committed to investing in creativity as a driver for sustainable urban development, social inclusion and cultural vibrancy, making it the ideal location and school for Wilsonart Challenges.
Wilsonart, a world leading engineered surfaces company, is driven by a mission to create surfaces people love, with service you can count on, delivered by people who care. The company manufactures and distributes High Pressure Laminate, Quartz, Solid Surface, Coordinated TFL and Edgebanding and other engineered surface options for use in furniture, office and retail space, countertops, worktops and other applications. Operating under the Wilsonart®, Resopal®, Polyrey®, Arborite®, Ralph Wilson® and Durcon® brands, the company continuously redefines decorative surfaces through improved performance and aesthetics. For more information, visit www.Wilsonart.com or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About The College for Creative Studies
Located in the heart of Detroit, the College for Creative Studies (CCS) educates artists and designers to be leaders in the creative professions. A private, fully accredited college, CCS enrolls more than 1,400 students pursuing Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degrees.
Students in the BFA program can major in Advertising: Copywriting, Advertising Design, Crafts, Entertainment Arts, Fashion Accessories Design, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design, Photography, Product Design, and Transportation Design, in addition to a dual major Art Education program. Students in the MFA program can major in Color and Materials Design, Interaction Design, Integrated Design, and Transportation Design. The College also offers non-credit courses in the visual arts through its Continuing and Precollege Studies programs and opportunities for youth through its Community Arts Partnerships programs.