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ISFD 3rd Annual INNOVATION + DESIGN Competition Taps Home Furnishings Experts as Judges

Furniture World News Desk on 9/6/2022

Pictured Clockwise from top left: Dale Green, Dr. Bryle Henderson Hatch, Karla Jones, Taylor West, Walt Ruffier, Laura Neice and Lewis Mabon.
Pictured Clockwise from top left: Dale Green, Dr. Bryle Henderson Hatch, Karla Jones, Taylor West, Walt Ruffier, Laura Neice and Lewis Mabon.

The International Society of Furniture Designers (ISFD) has assembled a panel of highly qualified professionals to review and evaluate the extremely competitive INNOVATION + DESIGN 2022 maker/designer entries. This furniture industry sponsored juried competition is designed to acknowledge professional designers who make their own product and the next generation of serious woodworking students who are anticipating a career in the custom wood and related home furnishings industries.

“We would like to thank and recognize this year’s esteemed panel of judges for using their industry expertise to review the INNOVATION + DESIGN 2022 entries to select our finalists and winners,” stated John Conrad, executive director of ISFD. “Our knowledgeable judges offer a combined 210+ years of home furnishings experience covering upholstery and case good furniture design, interior design, engineering, product development, and product manufacturing. With that said, after being selected as a finalist and winner the designers and students will know that their outstanding work has been evaluated and deemed as the best in that category.”

The 2022 INNOVATION + DESIGN judges are:

  • Dale Green is the owner of Illusion Unlimited offering contract services to every aspect of the furniture industry for the past 35 years. He works with designers on new product design, engineering and creating special finishes in residential and hospitality areas.

  • The executive director of the Minority Entrepreneurship Initiative, Dr. Bryle Henderson Hatch, lends his perspective as a business owner and interior designer. He also promotes educational events within the home furnishings industry.

  • Karla Jones relies on her 22+ years as an interior designer along with the knowledge gleaned from being the executive director of the Bienenstock Furniture Library where she has worked for more than 20 years when she evaluates the merits of each project.

  • With more than 39 years of experience, Lewis Mabon is a master upholsterer with extensive woodworking knowledge who often builds what he designs. He has also designed and engineered furniture for residential, contract, healthcare, and hospitality industries.

  • Laura Niece is a very talented and accomplished designer who has had the honor of being awarded multiple ISFD Pinnacle Awards throughout her career. She is a senior furniture designer at Otto & Moore and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in furniture design from Kendall College of Art and Design.

  • Walt Ruffier is the executive director of The Generator at Congdon Yards. His background as a product launch engineer and then manufacturing engineer has given him extensive experience in all phases of metal work including sheet metal.

  • Taylor West is a Kendall College of Art and Design graduate and is now a partner at West Design Group based in High Point, NC. West Design Group has been developing furniture designs for over 40 years, specializing in mass- production designs in all styles and price categories. With a strong background in woodworking and design, he appreciates the skill set that it takes to create, make, and finish a unique piece of art that is functional and stands the test of time.

The INNOVATION + DESIGN competition will culminate with the announcement of the winners at the “Meet the Designers” awards celebration held at 401 W. English on the Campus of Congdon Yards in High Point, on Thursday, September 22 at 7 pm.

Following the awards celebration, the INNOVATION + DESIGN winners’ and finalists’ projects will be on display Thursdays and Fridays from 3-7 pm and Saturdays noon-7 pm at 401 W. English until October 26. Here, the designs will be viewed by thousands of citizens living in the Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem, North Carolina area as well as industry veterans and High Point Market attendees. On October 22 from 3-6 pm, ISFD will host a reception where industry executives, designers and merchants will be on hand to review the finalists’ projects for potential production opportunities. All are welcome to attend.

As an added benefit, this year’s finalists will be interviewed for the international podcast, Design Between the Lines, and the winners will be featured in industry publications. Category winners will also receive cash prizes ranging from $250-$1000. Best of show winners will receive Congdon Yards Generator gift cards to work on any project of their choice.

“Also, the finalists’ projects will be uniquely photographed by more than 25 area photographers participating in the INNOVATION + DESIGN’s photographic competition and voted on by the exhibition visitors. These People’s Choice photography winners will be announced at a live celebration co-hosted with Theater Art Galleries (TAG) on October 13th from 5-7 pm also at 401W. English,” Conrad concluded.

INNOVATION + DESIGN 2022 is supported by ISFD, and partners: International Market Centers, High Point Market Authority, Furniture Today, Congdon Yards, Alderman Company, Phillips Collection, Bienenstock Furniture Library, IFDA, Theatre Art Galleries, HPXD, The Earl and Kathryn Congdon Family Foundation and Visit High Point.


About The International Society of Furniture Designers
ISFD is an association advocating for outstanding design and the furniture designers whose creativity drives the industry’s engine. They seek to elevate the role of design and designer through networking, mentorship and professional development opportunities, and continuously promote, advance and support the profession of furniture design and its positive impact.

With professional and student members around the world and across the country, their diverse professional membership specializes in residential and contract furnishings and accessories. More information about ISFD and their awards programs, please visit their website, ISFD.org. You can also follow them on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter.