“Infinite” Wins 10th Annual Wilsonart Chair Design Competition

Mon May 12, 2014 1:04pm BST

“Infinite” Wins 10th Annual Wilsonart Chair Design Competition

Debuting at ICFF 2014, Competition Challenged University of Houston Students to Design Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Wilsonart, a leading manufacturer of decorative surfaces for more than 50 years, named Jenny Trieu from the University of Houston as the winner of its 10th Annual “Wilsonart Challenges...” Student Chair Design Competition at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF).

Jenny Trieu from the University of Houston named winner of the 10th Annual "Wilsonart Challenges..." ...

Jenny Trieu from the University of Houston named winner of the 10th Annual "Wilsonart Challenges..." Student Chair Design Competition (Photo: Business Wire)

The winning chair “Infinite” epitomizes mid-century modernism through its unique structure, bold colors and mixing of materials. Composed of a plywood rib cage, layered with veneer then Wilsonart® Laminate, the chair flows continuously like an infinity symbol, artfully capturing the space within. Adorned in Wilsonart® Laminate in Zebrawood, 7980K-18, the chair has the effect of being made from a woodgrain surface without the inherent issues of crafting with genuine hardwood, and is accented by eye-catching Wilsonart Laminate in Hollyberry, D307-60. Wilsonart Laminate in Black, 1595-60 subtly lines the edges.

“The combination of a woodgrain and a bold, rich red as well as the illusion of mixing materials are what make the ‘Infinite’ chair the perfect example of mid-century modern,” said Natalia Smith, design manager for Wilsonart. “We love to see the students really take the chair competition theme and run with it like this year after year. It’s rewarding to see Wilsonart Laminate used in such an innovative way.”

It’s no surprise that this year, the 10th of the annual competition, presented the most difficult challenge to judge to date. “We deliberated this year more than any other year due to the outpouring of talent,” said design historian and materials specialist Grace Jeffers. “The innovative applications of Wilsonart Laminate surfaces and the sheer caliber of design produced by these sophomores were astounding, and each and every one of these students and young design stars on the rise should be proud.”

The University of Houston is the 10th school Wilsonart has challenged to design iconic chairs using Wilsonart Laminate. This year’s theme was chosen as a celebration of the Wilson House, the late Ralph Wilson’s family home and one of the best residential examples of mid-century modern style in Texas.

The award-winning chair and runners-up will be displayed during ICFF at the Wilsonart booth.

About “Wilsonart Challenges…”

Wilsonart sponsors the “Wilsonart Challenges…” student design scholarship program to foster the careers of emerging furniture designers in North America. In its 10th 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.

Wilsonart selected the College of Architecture at the University of Houston to host the 2014 Challenge. The competition unfolds as a semester-long course, this year taught by Professor Jeff Feng 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.

About Wilsonart

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 Houston Industrial Design Program

The Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture at the University of Houston established a new industrial design program in 2003 as the first degree program of its kind in the state of Texas. In its short history, the industrial design program is growing in strength and reputation. Students in the program have won numerous national and international student design awards. A new graduate program started in 2013 as a step to establish the University of Houston as the premier study opportunity for industrial design in a four-state region.

The University of Houston's Industrial Design program in the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture grooms aspiring designers through a calculated curriculum program. First-year students learn design fundamentals in the classroom and the studio. During their second year, students familiarize themselves with industrial design history, materials, manufacturing methods and visual communications skills. Third-year students conduct research and apply their findings to design projects. By their fourth year in the program, students are prepared for careers through curriculum addressing diverse design issues, design ethics, business practices and strategies.

Nikki Parrotte, 703-894-5460
Tammy Weadock, 254-207-3444