NEW YORK, May 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Wilsonart (www.wilsonart.com), a leading manufacturer of decorative surfaces for more than 50 years, named Katie Lee from the University of Oregon as the winner of its 2013 "Wilsonart Challenges..." student chair design competition. All finalists will be displays for the first time at the upcoming International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF).
The winning chair, "6 Shades of Grey," is an eclectic mashup of new materials and classic chair elements, creating a unique interpretation of the typical cafe chair found in coffee houses and tea salons. "By combining laminate tiles with canvas, Lee developed a completely new material combination that she then used to upholster the arms and back of her chair. I have never seen laminate used in this way," explains Alison Pulver DeMartino, Wilsonart Director of Marketing Communications.
Lee chose a contemporary ombre treatment for the High Pressure Decorative Laminate, the material required to create the chair. The repeated, triangular tile motif in grey gives the chair a versatile, modern look. "Each year we host the "Wilsonart Challenges..." program with a different American design school," said DeMartino. "One thing that amazes me is the reflection of today's design, craft and art trends in the students' work. The University of Oregon was no exception."
The University of Oregon is the ninth school Wilsonart has challenged to design iconic chairs using Wilsonart® Laminate. This year's theme was chosen because of the popularity of coffee houses and team salons in the Pacific Northwest and the rich design history found in these shops. The original cafe chair, "No. 14" by the Austrian Thonet company, was the first mass-produced bentwood dining chair in the 1800s. The chair competition gave special consideration to lightweight and innovative use of materials, two qualities chair No. 14 was praised for.
The award-winning chair and runner-up entries will be displayed during ICFF at the Wilsonart Contract Booth #2248.
About "Wilsonart Challenges..."
Wilsonart sponsors the "Wilsonart Challenges..." student design scholarship program to foster the careers of emerging furniture designers in North America. Each year, this competition challenges students at a designated design school to create a unique chair that uses Wilsonart Laminate to answer a specific design challenge.
Last year, Wilsonart selected the Product Design Department at the University of Oregon, Eugene, to host the Challenge. The competition unfolds as a semester-long course, this year taught by Professor John Arndt and Grace Jeffers, design historian and materials specialist. The students were taught about laminate, its history, technical capabilities, current market trends, and sustainability issues as well as the history of chairs as decorative art forms.
Wilsonart LLC is one of the world's leading manufacturers and distributors of high pressure laminates and other engineered surfaces used in furniture, office and retail space, countertops, worktops and other applications. The company operates under the Wilsonart, Resopal, Polyrey and Arborite brands and has achieved success through a combination of outstanding service, high-quality products and a focus on continuously redefining the laminate surface through improved performance and aesthetics. For more information, visit www.Wilsonart.com or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
About the University of Oregon Product Design Program:
The award-winning Product Design Program at the University of Oregon is one of ten academic areas within the School of Architecture and Allied Arts. The school is the principal center in Oregon for the study of design, architecture, the arts, and planning. The Product Design Program was established in 2008 with a focus on sustainable product design. It is part of the University of Oregon's Green Product Design Network, a collaborative partnership with green chemistry, product design, business, and journalism and communication. The University of Oregon's product design students and faculty members are regularly recognized for design excellence in competitions and awards. Achievements include awards given by the Land Art Generator Initiative (2013), Industrial Design Society of America Design Excellence Awards (2012, 2013), Interzinc Design Challenge (2009-2012), Oregon Manifest Design Challenge (2011), Ascent Solar Technologies Innovative Design Competition (2011), and Seoul International Design Competition (2010). To learn more, visit pd.uoregon.edu.