Design Emphasis highlights student work at IWF

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Best of Show: Maggie Jo Sanderson’s “Modern School Desk”.

Best of Show: Maggie Jo Sanderson’s “Modern School Desk”.

Maggie Jo Sanderson, a senior at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in Milwaukee, studying Interior Architecture and Design with a minor in Furniture Design, won Best of Show at the IWF 2018 Design Emphasis student competition.

The competition featured advanced level designs in four categories. There were 34 finalists, led by Sanderson’s Modern School Desk, a new take on the classic school desk.

“Furniture design is my main focus and my passion,” Sanderson said in an interview with Woodshop News. “I started working on small-scale projects early in life by following my father and grandfather’s footsteps as recreational woodworkers and craftspeople. After I decided to pursue design as a career, I applied to MIAD. I have been glued to the woodshop since I started in 2015, and I have developed work I never would have imagined.

“I feel so honored to have been a part of the IWF. There were so many talented young designers there. I was nervous when I arrived at the competition because of the other competitors’ quality of work. I had two pieces in the show: Modern School Desk and Conversation Chair, both of which are my pride and joy. Modern School Desk is the piece that convinced me that I am supposed to be a designer.”

The desk is sleek and simple, yet dynamic. Its surface sits at a comfortable angle to encourage the user to have good posture and to prevent a cluttered workspace. Hidden hinges provide functionality without detracting from its form. After an intensive design process, the piece required an equally complex build process. It has been exhibited in multiple galleries.

Category winners were Hengfeng Lu (Design creativity) and Jayati Sinha (Commercial furniture) from the Art Center College of Design; Brian Klik (Accent furniture) from the Seattle Central Wood Technology Center, and Jacob Bower (Seating) from the Rhode Island School of Design. 

This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue.

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