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Bienenstock Library Names 2021 Annual Design Competition Winners

The furniture and interior design students were awarded recognition and cash prizes.

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First place winners Anna Bibikova and Yufei (Serena) Zhong and their projects for the Bienenstock Furniture Library’s Annual Design Competition for furniture and interior design.
First place winners Anna Bibikova and Yufei (Serena) Zhong.

Bienenstock Furniture Library named the 2021 winners of its annual student design competitions for furniture and interior design, including cash awards of $5,000 for the top performers.

For this year’s furniture challenge, students submitted an original design for a chair that is suitable for marketing to either or both residential and contract trade industry segments. The competition criteria states that designs should be aesthetically pleasing and also suitable for manufacturing within the financial and technical constraints of mass production.

The library received 39 entries from seven colleges, including Appalachian State University, Savannah College of Art & Design, University of Houston, University of Oregon, University of Central Oklahoma, University of Virginia and Weber State.

Judges for this category include Richard Frinier, Richard Frinier Design Studio; Danny Davis, Davis Furniture Industries, Inc.; Dudley Moore, ASFD, Otto & Moore Inc.; Royale Wiggin, Thayer Coggin Inc.; Scott Coley, D. Scott Coley Designs, LLC; Vivian Beer, Vivian Beer Studio Works; and David Williams, Wits End Design.

Anna Bibikova at the University of Houston secured first place for her chair named Manta, featuring a hammock-like net woven around a fluid metal frame, which is suitable for outdoor use. She earns $5,000 for her chair concept which Wiggin describes as a “stylish, modern, light scale, shapely design”.

“Manta is definitely one of my proudest projects so far,” says Bibikova, who added that she was honored to have her work recognized. “ I have had to be innovative and truly push myself to bring this design to life, so I am thankful that it paid off and others are able to enjoy the beauty of it as well.”

In addition to her cash award, the design department at the first place winner’s school receives a $1,000 prize.

Priyanka Sanghi at Savannah College of Art & Design earns second place in the furniture design competition and $1500. Moore says her submission is a “thoughtful mixture of organic materials and wonderfully proportioned”.  

The furniture judges added a third-place honorable mention category and a $500 award for Sam Fonseca at Appalachian State University, as they were captivated by her chair’s playful aesthetics. “This design makes me smile,” says Frinier. “It's literal and well crafted.” 

A client profile and project overview were outlined for students entering the 2021 interior design competition, featuring the CEO of a major music recording company who had purchased a luxury skybox for use by the company’s visiting artists. Developing a brand identity for the mock client and incorporating their musical focus were among the criteria for this challenge.

The library received 26 entries from seven schools, including Virginia Tech, NewSchool of Architecture & Design, Randolph Community College, Savannah College of Art & Design, Pittsburg State, Forsyth Technical Community College, and Saddleback College.

Judges for the 2021 interior design competition include Christi Spangle, Barbour Spangle Design; Kara Cox, Kara Cox Interiors; Bri Verstat, Barbour Spangle Design; June Anderson, ASID; Gwen Emery, NCSU; Jessica Alpert, Gensler; Marilyn Russell, Interior Designer; Holly Woodward, House of Woodward.

Yufei (Serena) Zhong at Savannah College of Art & Design is first place winner for her interior design and branding project entitled Thorn Records, featuring dramatic ceilings and energetic details suited to a hard rock aesthetic. Zhong earns $5,000 for her work in which Cox says she maintained the project theme throughout.

“I always believe that design is full of passion,” says Zhong, adding, “it is a process of exploring the infatuated relationship between people and objects, thus creating infinite possibilities.”

As with the furniture design competition, the interior design department at the first place winner’s school receives a $1,000 prize.

Mengying Qi, also at Savannah College of Art & Design, earns second place and $1500, for her project which Woodward describes as an “excellent use of concept and fantastic presentation”.

All students submitted their final projects for consideration in the 2021 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. 

Judging occurs on scores 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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