CONTEMPORARY ART INSPIRES STUDENTS COMPETING IN THE 16TH ANNUAL WILSONART CHALLENGES STUDENT CHAIR DESIGN COMPETITION
Ryerson Student Amy Yan Wins with her “The Not Loveseat” Chair Design
TEMPLE, TX (May 11, 2020) – The principles of contemporary art was the theme that inspired students at Ryerson School of Interior Design to design and build chairs for the 16th Annual Wilsonart Challenges Student Chair Design Competition. Beyond basic form and function, each design was also informed by how students used expressive and stylistic contemporary elements such as movement, proportion, contrast or balance. When creating their chairs, students used patterns from the Wilsonart® Laminate Collection. The winning chair and five runners up can be viewed here.
Wilsonart, a world-class innovator of next generation engineered surfaces, created Wilsonart Challenges, which is both a sponsored class and a competition. During the year-long program, students learn how to design and build a one-of-a-kind chair, as well as how to prepare for a major trade show. Introducing the program more than a decade ago, the Wilsonart Challenges is the longest-running sponsored student design class in North America.
Each year, a different design school hosts #WilsonartChallenges. This year, Wilsonart worked with The Ryerson School of Interior Design and with the University’s Creative Technology Lab at FCAD, an advanced technology-based workshop that supports creative research, specialized curriculum and entrepreneurship activities across all nine FCAD Schools and Ryerson Zones. It is the first year Wilsonart Challenges has been held at a school in Canada.
Amy Yan won the 2020 competition with her design “THE NOT LOVESEAT.” Her chair is a playful commentary on the dualistic nature of both human relationships and architectural volumes. The two curved seat backs appear to be under significant tension as though the chair is being stretched apart by the sheer volume that make up the two seats. The resulting image could be a heart or viewed as a peace symbol suggesting that the chair embraces the dualities of love and peace along with the notions of splitting and separation. Amy’s chair poses a fundamental question; can these seemingly opposing notions exist together? Going a step further, can they even exist without each other as conflicting as they may seem? The judges noted that Amy’s chair was the perfect dialog between art and design.
“Ryerson emphasized hands on knowledge of materials more than any other school we have ever seen. The result is the outstanding quality in craftsmanship of the final chairs,” noted Grace Jeffers, Design Historian and Wilsonart Challenges Program Director.
“From a chair that explored the contrasting relationship between life and death to one which offers a playful commentary on the history of art and design, this year’s students have beautifully expressed both stylistic and functional elements of contemporary art,” noted Tammy Weadock, Communications Manager at Wilsonart. “Contemporary art is an ideal guidepost for designing with laminate, a modern material which inspires new designs and applications each day. Once again, we are overwhelmed with the students’ creativity and the artistry used to design and build these beautiful chairs.”
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About “Wilsonart Challenges…”
‘Wilsonart sponsors “Wilsonart Challenges…” a student design scholarship program to foster the careers of emerging furniture designers in North America. Now in its 16th year, this competition challenges students at a design school to create a unique chair that uses Wilsonart® Laminate to answer a specific design challenge.
Wilsonart, a world-leading engineered surfaces company, is driven by a mission to create surfaces people love, with service they can count on, delivered by people who care. The Company manufactures and distributes High Pressure Laminate, Quartz, Solid Surface, Coordinated TFL and Edgebanding and other decorative engineered surfaces for use in the office, education, healthcare, residential, hospitality, and retail markets. Operating under the Wilsonart®, Arborite®, Bushboard™, Durcon®, KML®, Laminart®, Mermaid™, New Leaf, Polyrey®, Ralph Wilson®, Resopal®, Shore™, Technistone® and Wetwall brands, the company continuously redefines decorative surfaces through improved performance and award-winning designs. For more information and samples visit www.wilsonart.com or connect with us on Facebook, Houzz, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
About Ryerson School of Interior Design
Housed under the Faculty of Communication and Design, Ryerson School of Interior Design is in a renovated post and beam warehouse in downtown Toronto. It is one of Ontario’s oldest university degree-granting interior design programs. Started in 1948, the school has earned widespread industry respect due to the accomplishments of faculty and alumni.
The schools’ teaching is grounded in a commitment to experiential and hands-on learning. An internship requirement, completed before graduation, is an integral part of the preparation for the educational experiences possible at the school.
Internationally renowned Azure magazine named the Ryerson School of Interior Design one of the top eight interior design schools on the planet alongside Parsons the New School for Design and the Rhode Island School of Design, among others. For the honor, one hundred international architects, interior designers, industrial designers and other practitioners weighed in: “Ryerson dominates the discussion about the best interior design school in Canada, and graduates are equipped with the necessary technical skills to hit the ground running when they leave school.”