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Wilsonart holds design challenge at Maine College of Art

The theme of “Wood, Trees and the Forest” inspired students at the Maine College of Art to design chairs for the Wilsonart Challenge.

Wilsonart, a Texas-based surface solution manufacturer, sponsors the annual student design scholarship program to foster the careers of emerging furniture designers in North America. Now in its 14th year, the competition challenges students at a design school to create a unique chair that uses the company’s laminate product to answer a specific design challenge.

The company selected the Maine College of Art as one of the best schools to explore the issues surrounding wood and forests, which cover 89 percent of the state. Maine’s second largest industry is forestry and wood products. Participating students learned how to design and build a one-of-a-kind chair, as well as how to prepare for a major trade show.

Each entry illustrated a personal connection the forest provokes combined with complex forestry issues surrounding the use of wood. Students used patterns from the Wilsonart laminate collection.

Joseph Goodwin had the winning entry, which featured the shape of a chain saw. He received a $3,000 scholarship and an all-expense paid trip to New York to show his chair at International Contemporary Furniture Fair. There were five runner-up selections.

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This article originally appeared in the July 2018 issue.

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