An architecture student won a trip to Milan, Italy for her original loveseat design after winning the Velum and College of Architecture and Environmental Design’s Furniture Competition.
On Nov. 1, hundreds of San Luis Obispo community members gathered in the Creamery Marketplace on Higuera Street to attend the opening reception of the 16th annual competition. Nearly 200 Cal Poly students entered original submissions, ranging from coffee tables to light fixtures. This year’s competition was the first to set up the pieces for viewing throughout more than a dozen local businesses, according to organizers.
The piazza was alive with energy as student contestants waited for the judges to finish their deliberations. In addition to the grand prize, awards were given out to Vellum Design Build’s favorite piece and the audience got the opportunity to vote for their favorite as well.
The competition is sponsored by the College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) and Vellum Design Build, a local design-and-build firm.
Architecture senior Lena Vogler said she was shocked to hear that she won the Space Architects’ Milano Grand Prize for her interpretation of the classic love seat. The piece features rearrangeable parts so people can change it to fit their space and occasion. According to Vogler, she designed her piece to open up discussions between new people and create a unique space for them to interact.
“I was not expecting to win at all,” Vogler said. “Obviously, there were so many good submissions from everybody in architecture so I really wasn’t expecting it at all … I was so honored that they chose my piece.”
Vogler will be attending the Salone International del Mobile, the largest furniture design exhibition showing the latest trends around the world, in April, according to organizers. This furniture fair also lines up with Milan Design Week.
Vogler competed against more than 200 projects that ranged from tables and chairs to light fixtures, toys and other furniture design solutions.
“Vellum provides a true life-test case employing real budgets, real materials, real engagement with suppliers, fabricators and manufacturers plus real design timelines and construction schedules not typically incorporated into academic enterprise,” co-organizer and architecture professor Tom di Santo.
Vellum Design Build also selected one student to receive the Vellum prize. The company awarded architecture senior Kevin Vanderzel’s bench, made from repurposed deadwood. The piece, titled “Claudia,” featured a natural, minimal design.
“I just like to build furniture because it’s a great expression and it’s a great medium in which I can sort of push the scale,” Vanderzel said.
The competition also awarded a People’s Choice prize that reception guests chose themselves. The winner was architecture senior Aidan Marvick’s laminated wood wine tasting table.
“You could feel the effort everyone had put in to present their work and make it seen,” Marvick said. “We were excited like the end of a marathon, making it to the finish and celebrating. Everyone wanted to hear who won the prizes but we all felt rewarded by our conversation, and shared awe at the collective works.”
The projects were all built during Fall 2019. Some students worked on their submissions as part of their studio class curriculum, while others worked on them independently outside of class.