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Pratt Students Compete for Edelman Leather's Future

“Today’s students are tomorrow’s designers,” says Echo Mackenzie, vice president of marketing at Edelman Leather. In fact that’s a company-wide sentiment at the luxury leather enterprise, which is how Mackenzie cooked up a scheme with architect Jack Travis to engage his class of Pratt Institute interior-design graduate students in a special project: creating a new booth for Edelman's packed schedule of trade shows and industry expositions.

Chosen from among 12 candidates, it was Lainie Turkish’s urbane composition—a series of floating planes that incorporate product display, storage and company accessories—that took the grand prize. As reward, Turkish will oversee the construction of her design at the Hospitality Design Expo + Conference in Las Vegas next May, and she will have the opportunity to refine the design for future shows. “When we give them something client-based, they have the talent and perform extremely well,” says Travis of his group’s ability to meet the challenge.

Inspiration was drawn from a variety of practical requirements, but also from the company’s history as well as its best loved and newly released lines. The three runners-up are Pantiki Dani, Merav Lahr and Vanessa Watts, whose design sports a structure of shipping palettes and an interior plastered with new company brights.

Interior Design was invited to consult with the panel of judges, which included Mackenzie, company president Amy Darrah, and consultant Jack Terrace. “Our expectations were far exceeded by the enthusiasm and creativity displayed by the students,” says Darrah. “It was clear they each had a deep understanding of our company, the brand, and the significance of how we present ourselves to the market.”

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