Designers and manufacturers worldwide brought out the industry’s finest for ICFF, which has filled New York’s Jacob Javits Center with eager product specifiers and design connoisseurs alike. Engineered surfacing manufacturer Wilsonart shined their spotlight on emerging design talent as the subject of their booth with the 12th Annual Wilsonart Chair Design Competition, a unique opportunity for budding furniture designers. Focusing on a single city’s creative talent—this year being Detroit—the student work revealed refreshing interpretations of this year’s directive “design for delight.”
Stephen Marchio of the College for Creative Studies took home the blue ribbon with “Prelude,” a chair presenting a fascinating interplay of pastel hues and orthogonal structural forms. Marchio describes his design as a visual statement on craftsmanship that embraces the tension between construction and deconstruction. “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.”
By exploring self-realization through design, Prelude seamlessly encapsulates “design for delight” by evoking an uplifting mood bolstered by the deeper, more intense pastel hues achieved through laminate as opposed to paint. “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,” explains Grace Jeffers, program director. “It’s a visual puzzle that the judges couldn’t stop thinking about.”
Runners-up include Zachary Boomer's Geode Chair, Alejandra Bucco’s Pie Chair, Kiho Jeong’s Root Bench, Scott Pancioli's S1, and Adam Whittaker’s En Throne, on display at booth #2248 at ICFF from May 14-17.