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Bienenstock Furniture Library Announces 2018 Furniture Design Competition Winners

Furniture World News


Michael L. Dillon, an academic Junior at The University of Houston, won the First Place Award for Furniture Design for his Ergo Chair.

The Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library Board of Directors recently announced the winners of design competitions that awarded two $5,000 scholarships to distinguished scholars to continue studies in their respective fields of Interior and Furniture Design. In addition to the $5,000 awards, each has been given memberships in the ASFD and ASID professional associations and their schools will receive $1,000 to use in their academic programs.

This is the first of a two part series announcing the winners of the Furniture Design portion of the scholarships. A second release will be published next week regarding the interior design competition. The Bienenstock scholarships are open to any junior, senior or graduate student enrolled in an accredited college design program. The Library has awarded more than $430,000 in scholarship money. The winning entry can downloaded here.

"Our founder, Sandy Bienenstock, advanced his long-standing desire to invest in the education and future of the furniture industry by establishing the Library itself and by initiating the Bienenstock Scholarships," said Russell Bienenstock, president of the Library Board. "The intention of these scholarships is to encourage and inspire the best and most creative minds and to help them to develop their talents. To that end, this is the fourth year we added a scholarship for interior design to our long-standing award in furniture design, creating two substantial national scholarships."

These competitions are a collaborative effort among the ASFD, ASID and the Furniture Library. The ASFD founded the furniture competition and leads the judging. The library hosts the competition and funds the scholarships. This is an annual competition and a new contest will be announced in May of 2018.

Furniture Design Competition

Entrants were asked to design an aesthetically pleasing chair of original design from any material. Instructions were "to create an offering that could be marketed to the residential and/or contract trade. Any material or combination of materials was accepted. The chair is to be visually stunning, appropriate for manufacturing, fiscally feasible, and suitable within the constraints of mass production"

There were 55 entries from 10 different colleges, compared to 21 entries a year ago. Colleges represented included: University of Houston, SCAD, Kendall College of Art & Design, Appalachian State University, Indiana University-Purdue, Forsyth Tech, Cornell University, Syracuse University, Weber State and San Diego Mesa.

Judge for Furniture Design: Dudley Moore, Jr. Otto & Moore; Scott Coley, Scott Coley Designs; Royale Wiggin, Thayer Coggin; Danny Davis, Davis Furniture; Richard Frinier, Richard Frinier Designs; Charles Sutton, Charles Sutton Design.

Dudley Moore, President of the ASFD and Chairman of the Furniture Design Committee noted, "This is a fully realized design as opposed to just a concept" Judge Danny Davis remarked it was "functional and an excellent authentic color combination idea." Judge Charles Sutton added this is "A stand-out design that had thought for the marketing approach."


Ergo Chair Designed by Michael Dillon

Michael L. Dillon, an academic Junior at The University of Houston, won the First Place Award for Furniture Design for his Ergo Chair. When asked about his inspiration, he commented: "Ergo exists as a statement that good design comes from empathy for the human condition. If a designer is truly attentive to the requirements of their context, the end product will have true and lasting meaning. It is only at this starting point that products with meaning can be born."

Dillon continued, "Work has become more collaborative. Space has become more limited, and as a consequence, the spaces we live, work, and play in are becoming smaller. The legs of Ergo flip the traditional relationship of "wider at the front, skinnier at the back" to enable more chairs to fit around a table. Whether it's in the common space of an office, around a table at your local Cafe, or around your own kitchen table-Ergo does more with the space it is given. When the chair has no seat back, it can disappear fully underneath a table, tucking away neatly and keeping routes of egress clear in tight commercial spaces." He added, "My studies in Architecture at San Antonio College taught me empathy for the human condition and the importance of the human scale. Intensive practice with the team at the design-build firm TADA imparted to me that joyful design exists in the details. In my studies at the University of Houston I am learning the process, skills, and language of the craft, making me ever more fluent in the communication of design ideas. Ergo communicates these values and the concepts I have learned to date."

Jeff Feng, Assistant Professor of Industrial Design at the University of Houston, who is Dillon's teacher and mentor commented, "Michael is a highly self-motivated individual who seeks to step out of his comfort zone to experience new ideas. It is reflected in the countless iterations of the 'ERGO' chair design from the overall structure to details as elastic joineries. He also equipped himself with a strong set of skills, mastering sketching to prototyping in most materials and processes. His 'ERGO' chair is not just a highly developed CAD model, it is fully tested in multiple full-scale prototypes. Aesthetically, he is striving for a high level of purity and simplicity which is exemplified in this chair design."

Polly Chair by Walter Mingledorff


The second place winner was Walter Mingledorff, from Appalachian State University, for the Polly Chair. He receives a $1,500 scholarship to be applied to continuing education. Mingledorff commented, "The Polly Chair was a result of an idea of not merely designing a chair, but a space. The design references a sculptural quality of fluidity and form, drawing inspiration from greats like Brancusi, while also keeping efforts to cater to the potential marketability of contract furniture."

Judges Comments: Scott Coley- "fun, edgy retro look" Royale Wiggin "harkens back to the space age 60's" Danny Davis - "marketable design for the collaboration environment of today"

More about The Bienenstock Scholarships: The annual Bienenstock Scholarship competitions are open to any junior, senior or graduate student enrolled in an accredited college program of furniture design or interior design. Since 1984, the Library has awarded more than $430,000 in scholarships to students in hundreds of colleges and universities. Judging is blind-with no name or college shown with the submission. A distinguished panel of industry experts juried each competition.

The 2018 winners have been awarded their $5,000 scholarships, along with respective one-year student membership in ASFD or ASID, Second place winners each receive a $1500 scholarship and the colleges representing the first place winners each get $1,000 towards their programs.

More about Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library: The Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library is a worldwide center for research, design, and collaboration. It holds the world's largest collection of rare and significant books on the history and design of furniture, with more than 5,000 volumes.

The Library is located in High Point, NC and is open to members of the home furnishings industry, students and the general public. The Library was founded in 1970 with an endowment from Furniture World Magazine and the Bienenstock family. It is supported by a board of directors from nearly every facet of the home furnishings industry. It is devoted the advancement of knowledge about design, furniture, interiors, architecture, textiles, finishes, and constructions.

The Library's rare book collection contains volumes published since 1543. A special climate controlled room houses these rare volumes. It is a treasure trove of inspiration for anyone interested in home furnishings and interior design.

The Library's facilities include the Vuncannon Seminar Room, the high tech Hadley Court Center For Design Collaboration and the Pat Plaxico Sculpture Gardens. These areas are available for seminars, classes, events, meetings, design collaborations, networking and design retreats for a small honorarium.

In addition, the Library operates a specialty bookstore selling significant contemporary works, out-of-print, and hard-to-find volumes. For more information visit www.furniturelibrary.com or contact Karla Webb, Library Director at info@furniturelibrary.com or 336-883-4011. The easiest way to stay up to date on the developments of the library is to "LIKE" its Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/BienenstockFurnitureLibrary.

More about the ASID: Founded in 1981, ASFD is the only international non-profit professional organization dedicated to advancing, improving and supporting the profession of furniture design and its positive impact in the marketplace. Professional Members specialize in the design of both residential and contract furnishings and accessories. Membership includes both American and International professional designers, industry affiliates and associates, design schoolteachers and students. Corporate Members include suppliers of products and services to the industry and furniture manufacturing companies who wish to support the goals and objectives of the Society. For more information, visit http://www.asfd.com.

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