Design students get national attention


Photo courtesy of Kasia Sweeny

Click the coat rack, open, Kasia Sweeny’s design she submitted to the IWF Atlanta’s Student Design Competition. Sweeny won the Design Creativity category.

Halie Hamilton

Appalachian State students submitted their design work to Design Emphasis, a national furniture design competition hosted in Atlanta this year by the International Woodworking Fair.

Richard Prisco, an industrial design professor, said students from 32 schools across the country entered, with 150 entries in all being narrowed down to 31 finalists competing in five categories.

Prisco has judged this competition three times in the past and said that at least 10 students entered from the industrial design program last spring.

“The competition is a part of the IWF Atlanta show, it has a large section in one of the showrooms to display students work from all across the country,” Peter Clare, junior industrial design major, said. “Aside from the actual competition you got to experience one of the largest woodworking conventions in the world and see all of the new cutting edge technology first hand.”

Click the coat rack, closed. Sweeny won the Design Creativity category.
Click the coat rack, closed. Sweeny won the Design Creativity category.

Clare entered his design for a 3-by-3 coffee table made of purpleheart, lacewood and walnut into the competition. His design didn’t receive any awards but he was a finalist.

Clare received an email near the end of the 2016 spring semester reminding him of the competition.

“I figured I might as well enter it, cause you’ll never succeed without taking any chances and I later was informed that I got accepted as a finalist which was unexpectedly pleasant,” Clare said. “Becoming a finalist reassured me that the work I’m doing is credible and respected by not just my teachers and fellow classmates, which ultimately is a good feeling.”

Industrial design major Kasia Sweeny also entered a design into this competition and won first in Design Creativity with a coat rack called Click. This was Sweeny’s first furniture competition and her first time in Atlanta.

Finalists are invited to stay in a hotel for free and attend the awards dinner.

“I loved stopping in now and then by the coat rack and seeing how people reacted to it especially if they didn’t know I made it, it made it more candid,” Sweeny said. “It’s an interactive piece so it’s always fun to see the delight or surprise when they go to use it.”

Sweeny said that her professor, Richard Prisco, encouraged his students to enter their work to the Design Emphasis competition.

“I generally encourage students to enter high profile competitions, and this one is a good one with good prizes awarded,” Prisco said.

A former Appalachian State student, Kelly Romig, won first and third in the Accent Furniture category. She was awarded a total of $1,250 for her designs.

“I am very thankful that our school gets the opportunities for these competitions, they’re a great way to get your name out there which is especially important being a student,” Sweeny said. “I’ll be looking forward to entering more.”

Story by: Halie Hamilton, News Reporter