Quebec student one of the winners in design competition sponsored by Formica

Top designs to be showcased at the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center

Formica Corporation has announced the winners of the annual FORM Student Innovation Competition. Interior design, architecture and furniture design students were challenged to create a rendering of a “resimercial” furniture design using Formica brand products and competed to win cash prizes, recognition and the opportunity to see their designs come to life in a public exhibit.

The winning designs were selected by industry and design professionals including:

  • Leanne Ford, interior designer and star of “Restored by the Fords” on HGTV;
  • Tristan Butterfield, regional brand & retail lead at Gensler Chicago;
  • Jaime Velez, former director of interior design at SOM;
  • Renee Hytry Derrington, global design lead at Formica Group;
  • Steven Matijcio, former curator for the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati.

The panel reviewed designs from across the U.S. and Canada and honoured five up-and-coming design students, including the competition’s first two-time winner and its first Canadian winner. Two of the top designs were selected to be fabricated into furniture and showcased at the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center March 22 through April 7.

Grand prize: Alyssa Holcomb of Edmond, Okla. received a $1,500 cash award for her Shrug Chair design, featuring a comfortable look that invites people to “shrug off” their cares. Inspired by midcentury bent plywood furniture, its curvy nature and wide arms offer more room for users to relax. Covered in durable Formica Brand Laminate, its neutral color palette gives it flexibility to fit in multiple environments. Holcomb is a student at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Okla. Alyssa’s Shrug Chair will be on display at the Contemporary Arts Center exhibition in Cincinnati.

“Alyssa’s chair is a beautiful example of the resimercial design trend,” Hytry Derrington said. “It offers multifunctionality, with working arms that can hold laptops and coffee cups, and a modern aesthetic that provides visual interest in both commercial and residential environments.”

Second prize: Rachel Marie Thompson, of Sinking Spring, Pa., received $1,000 for her “ke-li-de-skop” chair, named after the pronunciation of kaleidoscope, the classic toy that allows users to look inside and see small bits of color change shape as the instrument is turned around. The chair’s striking design, comfortable shape and inviting colors, including navy blue, chrome yellow and eggplant, add to its appeal. Thompson returns to the roster of FORM winners, having been named first-prize winner in 2018. She is a student at Kean University in Union, N.J.

Third prize: Mallory Bouchard, who hails from Provo, Utah, won $500 for her geometric Hex Link Chair. Inspired by biophilic designs, the chair takes on one of nature’s favorite shapes to create a functional work of art. Standing alone, the chair seats two persons back to back, but when multiple seats are linked together, it seats up to 10 people. Featured in nature-inspired colors such as silver oak and sage green, it brings the feel of the outdoors in. Bouchard is a student at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.

Honorable mentions: Rounding out the top five were two students who received honorable mentions: Marina Ostrow, of Repentigny, Quebec, and Natalie Gneiting of Layton, Utah. Ostrow’s design for a unique lighting installation was selected as an honorable mention and will also be fabricated and displayed at the Contemporary Arts Center exhibition.

Ford echoed the thoughts of many judges who noted the high degree of talent that is coming out of today’s design schools. “I was impressed with everyone’s work and unique designs. Congratulations to Alyssa and all of the winners! I foresee a long and successful career ahead for you all.”