New concepts spice up design competition - Continued

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New concepts spice up design competition
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Brittany Walsh
Georgia Tech, Atlanta
Brittany Walsh used a complex binary code pattern when creating this tabletop.Walsh was selected as a finalist for two pieces: a coffee table in the Occasional category and a buffet in the Case category.

"My goal was to just see if I could get any piece in because this was my first experience with furniture at all. I wanted to see if I could make it to a level where I could compete with students all around the country," says Walsh.

The Georgia Tech students based their projects on what actual clients wanted and worked closely with a local branch of a large retail manufacturer. Walsh, along with her colleagues and Harp, said the students from Georgia Tech did particularly well this year because they were given a real-life scenario.

"My inspiration for the case [piece] was the Art Deco Era. I played with the style and added some curves. I tried to make it more modern with the really dark finish, knobs and pulls," says Walsh.

With her second piece, Walsh got technical using a binary code pattern for the top. She took 8'x4' planks of walnut and glued them together, and did the same with maple and purpleheart, then ran them through the planer and jointer.

"Once I finally got [the glue-ups] to the same dimensions, I took them to the table saw and cut them into 2-inch sections," says Walsh. "From there it was a little awkward because everything is at a 45-degree angle."

Walsh says she's looking forward to seeing work from others at IWF, as well as getting pointers on starting a business and finding out what kind of direction the furniture industry's going.

Alex Roberts
University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky.
Alex Roberts' chair.Roberts, who got a finalist slot in the Seating category for his bent lamination chair, has his degree in architecture. He plans to start his own fabrication shop one day and wants to observe his future competition at IWF. His contest piece was inspired by an English corner chair someone showed him at work.

"It inspired me to look at antique furniture and study the derivatives of modern day seating. I already had the materials I wanted to use — plywood, walnut veneer and solid stock walnut," says Roberts.

The chair is derived from the Queen Anne period but has a modern twist, as all of the patterns in it reflect modern day weapons. The chairback has multiple mirrored AK-47 assault rifles, the legs are the stocks of rifles, and the bottoms and sides feature MK2 grenades. Roberts hopes people will look at the patterns in it, and wonder why he chose them.

"I have a belief that a social commentary is something that needs to be part of everything that somebody does. It has to be part of the culture and [should] maybe even question the culture a little bit," he says.