Winner 11th Annual Wilsonart Chair Design Competition

ChairWinDebuting at ICFF 2015, Competition Challenged Appalachian State University Students to Design Chairs Inspired by North Carolina’s Regionalism

A visually arresting collection of one-of-a-kind chairs – each conceived and built with Wilsonart® Laminate by outstanding student designers from Appalachian State University – was showcased at the 2015 International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), May 16 to 19 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York.

The iconic chairs are the result of Wilsonart® Challenges, a unique competition sponsored by Wilsonart, a leading manufacturer of engineered and decorative surfaces for more than 50 years.  Now in its 11th year, Wilsonart Challenges engages students in creating chairs to celebrate the richness of laminate surfacing materials without the restraints of mass production. This year’s competition celebrated the beauty, culture and history of the Appalachian Valley of North Carolina. Samantha Lilly of Appalachian State University was chosen as the competition’s winner for her design, “Blossom,” which will be displayed along with runners up during ICFF at Wilsonart booth (2248).

“Blossom” embodies the spirit of the Appalachian region through its use of marquetry applied to resemble the flora natural to the area, specifically the blooming Dogwood tree. Utilizing Wilsonart® Laminate in Persian Cherry 7989-38 and Antique White 1572SL laser cut into the wood substrate, the design surrounds viewers with a sense of being surrounded by nature. The laminate provides the appearance of natural woodwork, without the concerns of crafting with genuine hardwood, allowing designers more freedom and the ability to explore original shapes and employ new techniques.

“We continue to be amazed each year with how these students follow their imaginations, create a wide range of concepts relevant to the theme, and develop designs that highlight the innovative uses of laminate,” said Natalia Smith, design manager for Wilsonart. “The elegant lines and curves of ‘Blossom’ characterize the Appalachian region in a way that allows us all to feel connected to this distinct culture. That unique power of design is what we hope to uncover through this competition.”

Each year the Wilsonart Challenges competition receives an overwhelming outpouring of talent, making it difficult to choose a winner. “The use of marquetry in ‘Blossom’ showcases the materials in a uniquely flattering light, one that gives the design an open and airy feel, while still highlighting the designer’s skill set, craftsmanship and creativity,” said Grace Jeffers, design historian, materials specialist and Wilsonart Challenges program director.

The Industrial Design program at Appalachian State University prepares students to compete professionally through industry collaborations and studio projects, focusing on design inquiry, creative problem-solving, user research, social and environmental concerns, and manufacturing requirements.

You can review these stunning chairs here Look Book .