Bienenstock Furniture Library names winners of student design competitions

The Bienenstock Furniture Library in High Point has announced the winners of its annual student design competitions for furniture and interior design in 2023, awarding a total of $16,000 to the top performers and their schools.

Furniture design competion

For this year’s Dudley Moore Sr. Furniture Design Competition, students submitted an original design for a chair suitable for marketing to either/both the residential and contract industry segments. The competition criteria states that designs should be aesthetically pleasing and suitable for manufacturing within the financial and technical constraints of mass production.

In the furniture design competition, the library received 53 entries from six colleges, including the University of Texas at Houston, Chatham University, Savannah College of Art & Design, Appalachian State University, Lawrence Technical University and Kansas State.

Mariana Anzures earned first place for her chair, Siva Afi, named after the traditional Samoan fire dance.

Judges for this category included Dudley Moore Jr., Otto & Moore Inc.; Scott Coley, D. Scott Coley Designs LLC; David Williams, Wits End Design; Danny Davis, Davis Furniture; Royale Wiggin, Thayer Coggins; and furniture designer Richard Frinier.

Of the nine finalists, Mariana Anzures from the University of Texas at Houston received first-place recognition and a $5,000 cash award for her chair, Siva Afi, named after the traditional Samoan fire dance, which Anzures said “captures the raw beauty of movement in fire and dance through its dynamic form.” From the judges panel, Coley said her concept offered “great movement in the design.”

Anzures said, “I am truly honored to receive this award, which would not have been possible without the support of the industrial design program at the University of Houston. Special thanks to professors Jeff Feng and Min Kang, who mentored me during this project. I’m grateful for every opportunity this program has given me, and I’m excited to continue my journey as an industrial designer.”

In honor of the first-place winner’s home school, Feng will accept his department’s cash prize of $1,000.

Sebastian Solloa from Savannah College of Art & Design was awarded second place and a $1,500 cash prize. Frinier described Solloa’s chair as having a “graceful and asymmetrical profile.” 

Interior design competition

For this year’s Barbour Spangle Interior Design Competition, interior design students were asked to design for a young couple who purchased two adjoining, three-story brick row houses dating to the turn of the last century, and to combine two units into a single art gallery for displaying the work of cutting-edge artists in a variety of mediums. While the first and second floors were to be designed for exhibiting art, hosting events and serving as a community meeting space, the third floor was to be designed as the couple’s private living quarters.

Elle Yanez of Saddleback College took top interior design honors for her work, EM Gallery.

The library received 41 entries from 10 colleges, including Utah State, Randolph Community College, Forsyth Technical Community College, Pittsburg State University, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Virginia Tech, Savannah College of Art & Design, University of Central Oklahoma, Orange Coast College and Saddlebrook College.

Judges for the 2023 interior design competition included Kara Cox, Kara Cox Designs; Holly Woodward, Woodward House of Design; Christi Spangle, Barbour Spangle Design; Elizabeth Scruggs, Superior Construction & Design; Monika Nessbach, Design Bar; and Bri Verstat, Barbour Spangle Design.

First place and $5,000 was awarded to Elle Yanez of Saddleback College for her work, EM Gallery, which judge Verstat deemed “the most professional project” reviewed by the panel.

After thanking her professor, Farida Gabdrakhmanova, Yanez offered further explanation: “My design concept was inspired by water in all its different forms, which I thought would connect beautifully with the environment around Buffalo, New York,” she said. “I wanted the gallery to have a calming feel, so I incorporated a lot of curves throughout — not just in the furniture but also in the ceiling and flooring design, architectural details of the interior, and the art on display. I truly believe that design is all about the details.”

On behalf of the school’s design department, Gabdrakhmanova accepted the award of $1,000.

Elizabeth Holtzclaw of UNC Greensboro was recognized with second place and a cash award of $1,500. Verstat said of Holtzclaw’s submission, “(the project) tells a great sustainability story throughout.”

A third-place honor for interior design was given to Yu Liu from Savannah College of Art & Design. Liu received a $1,000 cash award sponsored by June Anderson, legacy board member at the library. Woodward described Liu’s project as “innovative with installations and custom features.”

The first place winning project briefs may be viewed on the Bienenstock Furniture Library website.

All students submitted their final projects for consideration in the 2022 Annual Design Competition in December. Project work typically occurs in the fall semester of the junior or senior year leading up to the winter submission deadline. Graduate students are also eligible for participation. 

Projects are judged on a scale of one to five in the following categories: design brief, ideation thumbnails, design aesthetic, originality, functional aspect, feasibility and overall presentation.

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