Bienenstock Furniture and Interior Design Competition Winners

Since 1984, the library has awarded more than $400,000 in scholarships. It was the Bienenstock’s desire to invest in the education and future of the furniture industry.

The Bienenstock Furniture and Interior Design Competition is open to any junior, senior, or graduate student enrolled in an accredited college design program in the United States. This design competition will have two (2) categories: Interior Design and Furniture Design. A $5,000 scholarship will be awarded to the first place winner of each category. In addition to the $5,000 awards, each has been given memberships in the ASFD and ASID professional associations and their respective schools will receive $1,000 to use in their academic programs. A $1,500.00 scholarship will be awarded to the second place winner in each category. The Bienenstock scholarships are open to any junior, senior or graduate student enrolled in an accredited college design program in the United States.

Submission Support

The Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library is committed to helping students bring their best designs to the 2016-2017 Competition. Professional members of the furniture design and interior design industries stand ready to ‘mentor’ and answer any Bienenstock Furniture and Interior Design Competition questions.

Competition Contact

Library Director, Karla Webb
p: 336.883.4011

2017 Competition Winners

Ben Bridges

Ben Bridges

$5,000 First place winner from Appalachian State University

Entrants were asked to design an aesthetically pleasing chair of original design from any material. Instructions were “The chair should be visually stunning, appropriate for manufacturing, fiscally feasible and suitable within the constraints of mass production.” There were 50 entries from 15 different colleges, more than twice the number of schools and entries from the prior year.

Judge for Furniture Design: Dudley Moore, Jr., Otto & Moore; Rick Schroeder, Stanley Furniture; Scott Coley, Scott Coley Designs; Royale Wiggin, Thayer Coggin; Danny Davis, Davis Furniture; Richard, Frinier, Richard Frinier Designs; and Paul Brayton, Paul Brayton Designs.

Judge Danny Davis,” liked the combination of solid wood, metal and plastic. Overall great presentation.” Judge Royale Wiggin “loved the light scale, which is very important today.”

Bridges, is an academic Junior at Appalachian State University. He is inspired by art, architecture and nature. Although highly competent in creating with software rendering, he also loves to sketch, draw, and create with his favorite tool, a #2 pencil. When asked to explain his inspiration for this project, he commented: “I have been deeply captivated by erosion and its many recurrent forms. Initially, I was drawn to the immeasurable beauty within the fluid surfaces which, by patterning themselves in a wave of seamless prose, ripple across their ancient bodies, from fissure to face, in one harmonious and continuous rhythm. What further captivated me was a new sense of realization that these surfaces were created as a harmonic yet static response to movement. They are the rigid footprints of a very fluid force. It was within this dynamic interchange between force and form that I found my point of inspiration for the Solum lounge. I began ideation by exploring how we as humans may impress force or gesture into the static forms of chairs.” Bridges attributes his maturity and clear sense of direction to a Gap in his education. He took a 3 year sabbatical from his studies to earn money to support himself and to study art and architecture independently. “It wasn’t glamorous, I poured concrete foundations for chicken houses during the week and did groundskeeping on the weekends. But there is something enormously satisfying about physical labor, and it gives you time to think about who you are and what is important to you. Mother nature may be the best artist of us all and we need to make time to observe what the natural world can teach us,” he said.

Bridges designed his chair with three unique bases, each providing a unique look. The version on the left is a formed steel wire frame. The center version features bent laminate, and the base on the right is die cast aluminum. The seat shell will be made from molded polyurethane. He created these images using Solidworks CAD software.

His short-term goals are to finish his academic work and to graduate. He hopes to find a position add a contract manufacturing company with the resources and manufacturing capabilities to bring his designs to life.

The second-place winner for Furniture Design was Chris Webster, California State University at Long Beach.

Finalists in the furniture category included: India Hillis, Art Center College of Design, Hong Hu, Kendall College of Art & Design, Refaeli Ma, Art Center College of Design, Matthew Johnson, Kendall College of Art & Design, Frederick John Barton, Appalachian State University and Eric Schroeder, Kendall College of Art & Design

Liliana Hasbun

Liliana Hasbun

$5,000 First place winner from the Savannah College of Art & Design

This year’s project had a fictitious client that was the CEO of a major music recording company. The imaginary client has purchased a luxury skybox for use by the company’s recording artists when in the area. Entrants were asked to design the skybox and to incorporate the music company’s logo and brand, the company’s musical style and use sustainable furnishings. The quality of the entries was so profound that 16 entries were worthy of being finalists and the ultimate decision was extremely difficult. There were 47 entries from 13 different colleges.

Judges for Interior Design: Christi Spangle, Barbour Spangle Designs; Bri Verstat, Barbour Spangle Designs; June Anderson, ASID; Kara Cox, Kara Cox Interiors, Marilyn Russell, Marilyn Ashley Design Associates, Rose Dostal, RMD Designs, Gwen Emery, NCSU; and Jessica Alpert, Gensler. Head Judge Christi Spangle, “thrilled with the participation from different colleges this year and were impressed with the nice variety of genres used in this project. It gave a great opportunity to the students to show their personal aesthetic.”

First Place was awarded to Liliana Hasbun, a senior international student at The Savannah College of Art & Design, who wins a $5,000 scholarship to be applied to academic pursuits. The Savannah College of Art & Design’s Interior Design Program will receive an additional $1,000.00 scholarship. Judge Christi Spangle and Judge June Anderson “liked her attention to detail.” Judge Kara Cox “loved that she did extensive research of the music genre”, Judge Bri Verstat “very colorful and had bold consideration to architectural detail.”

When asked to explain her approach to the project, Liliana said she was inspired by her passion for singing and the meter of soul music. “The skybox liberates emotions and cultivates creativity. As one enters the skybox, a profound spiritual transformation takes place by subtlety wrapping the user with warm contrasting finishes, pure fluttering volumes, honest materials and an inviting furniture selection. The atmosphere of liberation and relaxation revivers decompression. Zones promote bonding and self-reflection without overwhelming human creativity. In the lounge, guests can mingle, collaborate with musicians, or remain in awe of musical expression while the space quietly complements the developing energy. a brand a specific “jamming” zone is provided to promote creative expression.”

On the second level, a conference room invites the opportunity for collaboration yet remains flexible by providing the option for seclusion with a sliding wall panel. “Once inside the bedroom, a full hospitality suite wraps the user with intimate client specific tones and selections, never forgetting the purpose of the entire skybox experience: unwind and create.” Detailed floor plans and mood boards can be found on the library’s website.

When asked why she chose to pursue interior design, Liliana responded “I believe interior spaces directly affect a person’s behavior and quality-of-life. This career allows me to channel my creative talents in ways that upgrade mental well-being.” She has studied other creative areas including fashion, jewelry, photography and graphic design.

She added “interior designer suited me the best because of the human factor. I chose SCAD to specialize in interiors because of the vast curriculum and the professional opportunities it offered. For this project, I my inspiration was Soul music because it resonates with my personality and incorporates values that are tuned to my purpose in life: To live in an inclusive, integrative society, to uplift others, and to be honest, real and pure.”

According to Monica Letourneau, Professor, Interior Design at The Savannah College of Art and Design the Bienenstock Competition was her first interior design studio project at (SCAD). “Early on her creative thinking and enthusiasm for all facets the design process was evident. Throughout the process, she often stated that she wanted the final design to offer users a strong emotional connection that comes from soul music. She captured the soulful concept through the intense layering of wall and ceiling movements that engage with multiple patterns and textures of finishes. These combine to create dynamic moments for personal interactions throughout the skybox. The project’s focus on soulfulness relates to the combining of music styles to form a new. It is about music for everyone, and a statement about cultural inclusiveness for our own time. Liliana is passionate about producing design that aims to surprise and engage people with an interior environment. While bringing this spirit into her work, she also wholeheartedly embraces lively discussions that come with being in our SCAD studio culture. We are proud of Liliana’s achievement, and thankful for the support that this competition award offers.”

Second Place $1,500.00 winner for Interior Design was Britnie Cowling, San Diego Mesa College.

Finalists in the Interior Design competition included: Valerie O’Bryan Wilson, Saddleback College, Gabriella Fiallos, SCAD, Hannah Viparina, SCAD, Andrea Paton-Ash, George Washington University, Brianne Beal, George Washington University, Laura Henderschott, San Diego Mesa College, Kristin Till, Saddleback College, Yument Lou, SCAD, Jingxian Xu, SCAD, Heath Smith, Randolph Community College, Joevannah Harris, Virginia Tech, Elaine DaSilva, Virginia Tech, Sarah Troegner, Virginia Tech, and Nicole Long, Appalachian State University

Previous Design Competition Winners

Heather Soto

Heather Soto – Furniture Design

$5,000 First place winner with the ‘Nocturne Lounge Chair’ from Kendall College of Art & Design

Entrants were asked to design an aesthetically pleasing chair of original design from any material and be visually stunning, appropriate for manufacturing, fiscally feasible and suitable within the constraints of mass production. There were 21 entries from 8 different colleges.

Judges in the furniture design category included Dudley Moore, Jr., Otto & Moore, Inc,; Rick Schroeder, Stanley Furniture; Danny Davis, Davis Furniture; Royale Wiggin, Thayer Coggin; Richard Frinier, Richard Frinier Design Studio; Scott Coley, Scott Coley Designs.

Dudley Moore, Chairman of the Furniture Design Committee noted, “This chair makes unique use of innovative materials that are marketable and saleable.” Danny Davis added “this designer showed a compelling progression of design to achieve the final form.” Judge Scott Coley called it, “very stylish and sporty.”
Seto, is an academic senior at Kendall College of Art & Design. When asked about her inspiration, she commented: “Refinement, tonal differences, and delicate beauty –these are a few attributes from the night’s sky that I chose to implement within the context of Nocturne. The intention of this piece is to create an invitation to the user. I want there to be a unity between the user and the form. Nocturne is a free flowing spirit that is sophisticated, boundless, and bold.”

Monty Simpson, Assistant Professor of Furniture Design at the Kendall College of Art and Design commented, “Heather is an amazing young lady. All of us at Kendall College of Art and Design are extremely proud of her first place finish in the Bienenstock Library Chair Competition. Heather takes a holistic approach to the design process. She studies the interconnections between the user, task, and environment then uses this information to create a sense of unity between the user and form as is evident in the design of her Nocturne Lounge Chair.”

Adismara Kirana Prasetya, Savannah College of Art & Design was the 2nd place $1,500.00 winner for the Furniture Design category. Kendall College of Art & Design’s Furniture Design program received a $1,000.00 award for having the 1st place $5,000.00 winner.

Other finalists included: Kyung Min Lee, Kendall College of Art & Design; Bo Zhang, Savannah College of Art & Design; Nathan Sturgeon, Kendall College of Art & Design

Kim Wypasek Young

Kim Wypasek Young – Interior Design

$5,000 First place winner with the ‘Prana Spa’ from the University of North Carolina – Greensboro

Entrants were asked to design a holistic day spa specializing in therapeutic treatment for multiple sclerosis patients. The hypothetical spa is owned and managed by the doctor and physical therapist on staff, which requires living quarters for these staff members. The students were required to design the facility that is sustainable, environmentally friendly and has a healing environment. A logo and name for the spa was also part of the project. There were 40 entries from 14 different colleges.

Judges in the Interior Design category included: Christi Spangle, ASID, Barbour Spangle Design; June Anderson, ASID; Kara Cox, Kara Cox Interiors; Bri Verstat, ASID, Barbour Spangle Design; Marilyn Russell, Marilyn Ashley Interiors; Gwen Emery, Director of Library Environment NCSU; Rose Dostal, ASID, RMD Designs; Jessica Alpert, Gensler.

Christi Spangle commented: “This is a very creative floor plan. The atmosphere felt very therapeutic.” Judge Kara Cox commented: “Great use of organic elements in the space. Best combination of technical and artistic comprehension.”

Kim Wypasek Young, an academic junior studying Interior Design at UNC-Greensboro, submitted the winning entry. She named her project Prana Spa explaining, “Prana is a Hindu word that means life giving force or healing wind, reinforcing the objective of the day spa: enveloping the patient in a healing force.”

Her design strategies for Prana take advantage of two distinct natural elements: the strata and variable striations of rock formations, and the flowing and forming qualities of wind. The influence of wind in the design of the interior spaces can be seen in the circulation and easing of harsh vertical edges. Upon entry, one is greeted by a sense of prospect and refuge created by the variations of ceiling heights and the use of compression and release, giving private areas a safe comforting feeling and larger areas, for healing exercise, an energizing presence.

Corinne Vassallo, of Virginia Tech University was the 2nd place $1,500.00 Interior Design winner. The UNC-Greensboro’s Interior Architecture program received a $1,000.00 award for having the 1st place $5,000.00 winner for the Interior Design category.

Other finalists included: Hunter Van Bramer, University of Idaho; Laura Gwyn Clapp, Randolph Community College; Gabrielle Mariotti, Marymount University; Eric Harris, George Washington University; Abbi Johnson, University of Idaho.


Eny Lee Parker

$5,000 First place winner with the ‘Honest Chair’ from SCAD

Entrants were asked to design an aesthetically pleasing chair of original design from any material and be visually stunning, appropriate for manufacturing, fiscally feasible and suitable within the constraints of mass production. There were 42 entries from 13 different colleges.

Dudley Moore, Chairman of the Furniture Design Committee noted, “This chair has a beautiful, sculptural quality.” Furniture Design judge, Danny Davis added, “This designer showed understanding of manufacturing processes by being able to prototype the process of bending the wood.”

Parker, a student at Savannah College of Art & Design commented, “The Honest Chair originated from an exploration into the fundamentals of bending wood. Though the design development was inspired on Frank Ghery’s curvaceous architecture, the outcome resembles more Sori Yanagi’s work.” She added, “The chair’s intention is to communicate how unlimited we are, through process and form. As designers, we should not only appreciate materials, but push their natural characteristics to become something unimaginable.”

Catherine Cheek, Virginia Tech was the 2nd place $1,500.00 Furniture Design winner. Judges for the Furniture Design category included Dudley Moore, Jr., Otto & Moore; Rich Schroeder, Stanley Furniture; Danny Davis, Davis Furniture Industries; Royale Wiggin, Thayer Coggin, Inc.; Richard Frinier, Frinier Design Studio.

Other finalists included Deanna Smith, High Point University; Rebecca Goddard, Appalachian State University; Christian Dunbar, Savannah College of Art & Design; and Heather Seto, Kendall College of Art & Design.


Erica Brooks

$5,000 First place winner with the project ‘LineUp’ from Virginia Tech

Entrants were asked to design a project to create an art gallery that encompassed two floors with a third floor being a residential space. Students were asked to create a design plan for the entire complex. There were 23 entries from 10 different colleges.

Judge June Anderson commented, “It is very imaginative and smart to use a live existing artist in the presentation. This design produced a sales & marketing environment for the art.” Brianne Verstat commented, “This plan is technically and aesthetically pleasing. It has a great mix of materials, while allowing the art work to be the main focus. The design is open, airy and modern.”

Erica Brooks, a senior interior design student at Virginia Tech says, “LineUp is a play on words that references the linear movement, both through and up the space. The fictional couple who lives here wants a cutting-edge, connected space that reflects both the inspiration of the artists and comfort of a home. The gallery displays modern artwork, including the work of Julien Bouillon.” Brooks explained “Bouillon uses a large variety of media to include 2D drawings, 3D sculpture, and electronic videos making him a good candidate for this versatile gallery.”

Tung Nguyen from Winthrop University was the 2nd place $1,500.00 Interior Design winner. Judges for the Interior Design category included Christi Spangle, Barbour Spangle Design; June Anderson, ASID; Marilyn Russell, Design Magnifique; and Brianne Verstat, Barbour Spangle Design.

Other finalists included Angela Tournay, Forsyth Technical Community College; Hazel Change, Appalachian State University; Luke Marot, Forsyth Technical Community College; Adrienne Rogers, Brenau University; and Abigail Uhrich, The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham.


Christopher Eitel – Furniture Design

Kendall College of Art & Design

Dudley Moore, Chairman of the Furniture Design Judging Committee noted, “I am very pleased with the selection of Chris Eitel’s Lucite and burl walnut cocktail table as the winner of the 2013 Bienenstock Furniture Design Competition. The judges were impressed with Chris’s clever interlocking Lucite panel construction, which houses a gorgeous and useful burl walnut storage box. He added, “The use of the Lucite allows the box to appear to float, making the table both beautiful and functional. Chris’s table exemplifies the magic that can occur when form and function marry seamlessly in an innovative design.

Eitel, a student at Kendall College of Art and Design said he was ‘infatuated by the cantilevers and the structural aesthetics of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, I began with a design inspired by the mid-century modern architect. As I explored my design through ideation, I became more interested in the idea of a cantilever suspending itself in space. This idea os suspension became the focal point of further ideations and ultimately my final design.”


Adriann Welch – Interior Design

Randolph Community College

The winning project for the Interior Design category was named “The Dew Drop”. According to Welch, “The concept of “The Dew Drop” symbolizes refreshment, simplicity, and renewal. This concept creates a space that provides a calming and reviving atmosphere, one that is not only comforting, but also simplifies the fast pace life of today’s society. Morning dew opens the door for a unique color scheme. The color scheme will not only bring in the soft blues and yellows commonly associated with dew, but also vibrant pops of purple, orange, and red in accessories and artwork. The vibrant colors are a reflection of the many flowers, trees and leaves that are touched by the dew. The patterns and textures chosen reflect the shape of the dew drop as seen through ripples and circles.” The concept utilizes design principles of unity, variety, rhythm and balance. The style of the Activity Center incorporates traditional lodge architecture with modern furnishings. Creating a fresh and inviting space will help the traditional lodge architecture with modern furnishings. Creating a fresh and inviting space will help the traditional and special needs campers feel relaxed and at ease.

Christi Spangle, Chairman of the Interior Design judging committee, said, “At first glance I knew Adriann’s project had a design that was going to be a contender. After digging deeper into the technical aspects of the projects (codes/ADA compliance, etc.), I realized that she was right on the money. We have seen many wonderful and creative designs over the past two years but this one stood out as one of the best overall.” Holly Barker is Department Head of Design Programs at Randolph Community College. About Adriann as a student, she said, “If anyone is deserving of this win it is Adriann! Her natural talent, competitive spirit, and thoughtful design are a testament to her winning this competition.”