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November 26, 2008

Last weekend I headed down to the Big Easy as a judge for the first annual Billes Product Design Competition, where nine up-and-coming designers from across the United States showcased their work and vied for the top prize and a chance to have their piece sold by Billes Products.

TrapeziumTable31

First Prize: Cradle Chair
by Katrina Vonnegut
Rhode Island School of Design student Katrina Vonnegut won first prize with her first-ever design competition entry, the Cradle Chair. Made of stainless steel and molded plywood, the seat is held in place with knobs on its sides and folds down when not in use.

Second Prize: Approximate/Actual Time
by Yi Hsuan Lin
The inspiration behind the Approximate/Actual Time clock by Art Center College of Design student Yi Hsuan Lin is the multiple uses of a clock. From afar, the large hour hand indicates the approximate time. Up close, the minute hand aids in exacting the time.

Third Prize: Creme
by Stuart Fingerhut
Stuart Fingerhut’s “silky smooth seating” combines the boldness of an asymmetrical, roto-molded polyethylene seat with the softness of a rosewood insert. Inspired by cream poured into coffee—as well as the works of Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry—the Art Center College of Design student’s proposal was a favorite among event attendees.

Celestial Chess
by Jerrod Huggins
Pratt Institute master’s of industrial design candidate Jerrod Huggins created this modern interpretation of the classic chess set based on the geometry of a sphere and using the technology of injection molding.

Trapezium Table
by Deana Juskys
The judges were impressed with Art Center College of Design student Deana Juskys’ Trapezium Table for its simple yet user-oriented design. Inspired by the Incan use of the trapezoid as well as her own tendency to frequently rearrange her furniture, Juskys designed the legs of the Trapezium Table to be configured at the owners’ whim.

Mendez Chair
by Carlos R. Mendez
Industrial designer and Art Center College of Design student Carlos R. Mendez turned to the materials of modern architecture—steel, glass, and concrete—to create an innovative spring-based work stool.

Fabseat
by Dimitris Papanikolaou
The Fabseat by MIT Media Lab research fellow Dimitris Papanikolaou is not only a study in furniture design but furniture manufacturing as well. By creating a chair that is CNC-milled and can be shipped in flat packaging (to be put together by the customer), Papanikolaou envisions a production flow not limited to a single factory but one in which design patterns can be sent around the world and manufactured locally for the buyer.

Copenhagen Chair
by Alvaro Uribe
Pratt Institute student Alvaro Uribe’s inviting Copenhagen Chair was designed to unite the pieces of a chair—legs, backrest, arms, and so on. Although the front leg makes it unfriendly for skirt- or dress-wearers, the design caught the eye of Billes Products principal Gerry Billes, who once dreamed of designing his own collection of gender-specific furniture.

LeKross Table
by Chase Wills
Another piece that had heads turning at its simple yet thoughtful design was Art Center College of Design student Chase Wills’ LeKross Table. The simple side-slip of the legs made the design simply exquisite.

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