Canadian wins grand prize in latest FORM Student Innovation Competition

Cali Pitcher from Georgian College in Ontario was crowned the big winner of the seventh annual FORM Student Innovation Competition.

Grand prize winner, Cali Pitcher from Georgian College in Ontario, Canada.

A student from Ontario was crowned the winner of Formica Canada’s seventh annual student design competition, which puts a spotlight on the next generation of interior designers and architects.

This year’s edition of the FORM Student Innovation Competition invited students studying interior design, architecture and furniture design in Canada, the United States and Mexico, to create furniture pieces using Formica Brand products. A total of 190 eligible submissions were received, which exceeded the number of submissions received in 2023 by 26 per cent.

This year’s theme was “Newstalgia,” an aesthetic blending retro and vintage design, but with a fresh, and modern take. The designs incorporated two or more Formica Laminate colours or patterns and at least one colour from FENIXTM innovative materials.

“Once again this year, we are pleased to see that the FORM Student Innovation Competition is attracting significant interest from students and educational institutions in Canada. More than half of the 190 applications received, or 102 proposals, came from Canada,” said Christelle Locat-Rainville, marketing director at Formica Canada. “Every year, the quality of the proposed projects improves in terms of rigour and creativity. We want to congratulate all the students who participated this year, especially our winner, Cali Pitcher, and the two other Canadian students who made it in the top 10.”

The grand prize was awarded to Cali Pitcher from Georgian College in Ontario, for her entry “Notions,” which encapsulates the mantra of the design movement “form follows function” and was inspired by mid-century modern design (1945-70).

“Cali’s winning design is a testament to the power of innovative thinking,” said Meghan Howell, North American design and creative director at Formica Corporation. “By seamlessly blending mid-century modern inspiration with contemporary functionality, she has created a remarkable piece that captures the imagination and nods to the nostalgia of the past.”

Second prize winner, Audrey Weiss from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

“Focused on maximizing functionality in a small footprint, ‘Notions’ creates ‘Newstalgia’ by drawing inspiration from Mid-century modern teak sewing boxes; bringing that practicality and streamlined design into a piece made for modern living,” said Pitcher.

“The name ‘Notions’ gives a nod to both new ideas and sewing supplies. Like Mid-century modern sewing boxes that have multiple compartments for storage, ‘Notions’ creates storage spaces within the table and bench seating. Taking the highly popularised work-from-home lifestyle into account, it allows two users to simultaneously use the table as a teleworking space by simply lifting the tabletop to reveal a writable surface and bulletin board, created with an acoustic panel to enhance the functionality of it as a workstation.”

The second prize was awarded to Audrey Weiss from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, for her piece “Novaro,” which  invites users to reminisce while embracing modern comfort.

Juarez Zacatel and Monica Arrezola from Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla in Puebla, Mexico, were awarded the third-place prize for “Saturno Cabinet,” which was inspired by the colours of the ‘80s and outer space.

Third prize winners, Juarez Zacatel and Monica Arrezola from Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla in Puebla, Mexico.

The students behind the top three winning designs receive cash prizes and the grand prize winner will get
to see her design, “Notions” at NeoCon 2024, from June 10 to 12, at the Mart in Chicago.