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Intellect

BYU students win first place at national furniture design competition

Students in Brigham Young University's School of Technology took four first-place finishes for their furniture designs at a recent national competition in Anaheim, Calif.

Eighteen colleges and universities from the United States and Canada submitted 80 pieces of original furniture for the competition and juried exhibition. Thirty of these were selected as finalists for the exhibition. Of the 30 finalists, 10 were from BYU. The competition was sponsored by the Association of Woodworking and Furniture Suppliers, the largest national trade association representing suppliers of the home and commercial furnishing industry. The exhibition also included 20 pieces of work from high schools.

Kip Christensen, a BYU professor of industrial design who teaches the furniture design courses, said students should be proud of their work.

"This is the first time since the mid-80s that we've offered these courses in furniture design," said Christensen. "And though we're pleased to have four, first-place wins, to have one-third of the post-secondary finalists be from BYU speaks to the quality of work coming from these students."

Winners include Brittany Davis for "Zhe Table," John Donely for "Flip-top Table," Jon Plummer for "Japanese Q/K Convertible Bed" and Brian Sanderson for "Tambour Chair." Katie Richardson won an honorable mention for her table design, "Fiora." Winners received a $1,000 cash prize and all finalists will have their pieces featured in a forthcoming coffee table book, "Fresh Wood – New Designers 2003."

Pieces were judged on the basis of new, innovative design. For example, Sanderson's entry, the "Tambour Chair," rolls up for storage and can be used with a flat piece of glass to create an end table. He credits the strength of BYU's new program for helping bring his ideas to life.

"My professors have taught me how to push myself," says Sanderson. "I've learned to never leave well enough alone, and when a concept or an idea is seemingly unbuildable, the words 'no,' 'can't,' 'won't' and 'never' are all unacceptable. Also, the technical instruction I've received in the woodworking and materials studio is incredible, better than I ever hoped it would be.

"When I showed up to the conference center in Anaheim and saw the work of the other students, I realized that the competition was stiffer than I expected. So it's great to have won."

Other BYU finalists included Ryan Dart's "Corner Bench," Matthew Gardner's "Arch Nightstand," Andrew Housley's "Spansive Arch Coffee Table," Drew Soderborg's "Grand Dad Clock" and Jason Tippetts' "Ribbon Coffee Table."

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