michael mullady

Cal Poly students took home honors last Friday at the Vellum/College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) second annual design exhibition.

The exhibition encouraged CAED students and faculty members to craft original furniture designs to be judged by a panel of experts on function, individuality, beauty and production characteristics.

Architecture major Nitsan Yomtov took the grand prize with his submission, nicknamed “the dust catcher” by judges – a chaise lounge in a basket weave of ash wood with steel rod legs and a compression ring to hold it all together.

“My chair is the first step in developing my senior thesis project,” Nitsan said, “I’m looking into structural and spatial adaptation in response to environmental and social change.”

“In addition to being light-weight and easily transportable, my lounge/daybed/wood mat can be configured to suit the individuals’ need and physically adjust to the weight and shape of the person who occupies it,” he explained.

The “Vellum” prize – awarded to a piece Vellum will manufacture and sell in the store – went to Kezhen Cao for what the judges deemed “the support hose chair,” made with aluminum rods and white leather. Runners up were Jai Srisomburananot with “the lead bird,” a cantilevered table made of concrete and resin, and Hugo Martinez’ “Battlestar Gallactica chaise lounge,” constructed by bending a single stock-size piece of aluminum. Honorable mentions were awarded to Matt Hofmann, Joseph Casey Lyman, John Mabe, Justin Choy, Simon Diesendruck and Leon Rost.

“Our motivation for this competition is to inspire creative thought and practice, and to challenge students and faculty to press the boundaries of material design,” said Vellum Principal Paul Abbott.

Participants were encouraged to reinvent everyday items in such a way as to express their talent and individual style.

Cal Poly architecture professors Tom DiSanto and Lauro Joines-Novotny assisted Vellum in coordinating the event.

“The furniture exhibit is an opportunity for the community to see what Cal Poly students do,” DiSanto said. “It is one of the few events that brings together faculty, students, tourists, locals and the design community into one cultural event downtown.”

“It was nice to see a large crowd of people bursting a vintage downtown building at the seams and spilling themselves out onto the sidewalk,” he continued. “This happens every night for the bars, but at least for one night here – beauty is intoxicating.”

Submissions were judged by a jury of professionals in design and architecture fields, including Christopher Deam, most known for his furnishings and Airstream Trailer Designs; Craig Seeley, designer of Lava Flow Homes; Johanna Grawunder, formerly of Memphis in Milano and Jill Salisbury, owner of sustainable furniture design studio El.

The winning entries will be displayed at Vellum located 672 Higuera St. through today. The public has the opportunity to participate in a silent auction on all entries until 7 p.m. All proceeds generated by the auction will go toward supporting student scholarship and academic endeavors. For more information on the design competition, exhibit or silent auction, call Vellum at 784-0487.

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