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Winners of 'One Good Chair' Competition Announced At Las Vegas

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Jessica Konawicz of Raleigh, N.C. and Jittasak Narknisorn of Woodland Hills, Calif. won the top prizes in the first-ever One Good Chair International Design Awards that were held at the July Las Vegas Market. With over 300 entries received from all around the world, the program encouraged entrants to contribute their vision for a new kind of “eco-chair” that focuses first and foremost on form. Runners up in the elite design competition include Moon Choi of South Korea, Robert Corser of Lawrence, Kansas and Catherine Pena of Memphis, Tenn. One Good Chair was sponsored by Las Vegas Design Center at World Market Center Las Vegas, the Sustainable Furniture Council and Western Interiors & Design magazine. World Market Center and Western Interiors & Design magazine co-sponsored an awards ceremony on July 30, 2008 during the Summer 2008 Las Vegas Market, awarding the winners with cash prizes intended to support the fabrication of a prototype of their chair designs. Winners also received a bound book on the history of chairs provided by Potterton Books. Judges were seeking lounge chair or casual seating chair designs that demonstrate a new attitude and new conceptual design toward an old problem and transcend basic green standards by transforming the very nature of the chair. Lance Hosey, AIA, LEED AP, a Director with the Charlottesville, Va.-based William McDonough + Partners, said the idea for the competition came about through his interest in how sustainability can be pursued through every aspect of design. “To ensure longevity, how things look and feel is just as important as how they work.” The book Hosey is writing, The Shape of Green: Aesthetics, Ecology, and Design, focuses on how form and image can enhance conservation and comfort at every scale of design, from products to communities. “In my research, I found relatively few examples of furniture that integrates aesthetics and performance, so I approached the Sustainable Furniture Council about organizing a design competition to promote this idea.” The diversity of entries was amazing, according to Hosey. “We saw many fascinating (and some perplexing) examples of how to reconsider the age-old challenge of aiding the act of seating. As a pair, the two winners are very different, but they both demonstrate how shape can save materials, soothe the body, and bring delight, appealing to the mind, the body, and the planet all at once.” While designing The Pandanus Lounge Chair, Jessica Konawicz said her goal was to design a chair that was unique and beautiful and could be constructed from a single renewable resource material that is bio-degradable. “I also sought to address the need for conserving energy by striving for efficiency in both the method of manufacture and compact stack-ability for shipping distribution.” She said she was motivated to enter this competition to challenge herself as a designer to see how far she could go to design a truly eco friendly chair with a unique form that provides comfort for the user. “I was trying to create an earth-friendly chair both inspired by and made from plants, ideal for the home, coffee shops, or for meeting/waiting areas.” The other top winner, Jittasak Narknisorn, said he loves to design furniture and especially chairs. He named his chair made from plywood, metal and felt fabric “Positive.” The designer was striving for an ergonomic, functional, clean design that was simple to produce. He sought to design a good looking chair while minimizing waste of materials. “My design process started with choosing material. I believe in material that’s good for the environment. After I got the seat shape, I designed the leg that created an armrest for comfort and a chair that was stackable.” The impressive list of judges was part of the designer’s motivation to enter the design competition, he said. The One Good Chair judges represented a cross section of renowned designers, researchers and academics with specific expertise in green design. The One Good Chair jury included: Lance Hosey (jury chair and competition organizer) Director, William McDonough + Partners; Galen Cranz, a Professor, University of California at Berkeley; Michael Wollaeger, Editor-in-Chief of Western Interiors and Design magazine; Bill Dowell, Director of Research, Herman Miller Inc.; Jill Fehrenbacher, a Green Designer and Founder of Inhabitat; Eric Pfeiffer, a Designer and Founder of Pfeiffer Lab; and Susan Szenasy, Editor in Chief of Metropolis magazine Susan Inglis, executive director of the Sustainable Furniture Council, said, “We are delighted with such a strong partnership with World Market Center Las Vegas and with the fact that so many people are interested in this competition. I was surprised and delighted by the number of entries and the quality of these entries. This movement is truly a happening thing and designers from all around the world know it. Designers are aware of the difference they can make by designing conscientiously and we certainly saw that in the entries we received. The winners and finalists brought their imagination and excellent design skills to this competition. For the winners, choosing sustainable materials, design principles and processes was a matter of course, and that's an exciting thing.” Winners and finalists will be featured at www.onegoodchair.com and many or all will also be exhibited at various public events. Winners and select entries will be also featured in industry publications such as Treehugger, Inhabitat, Western Interiors & Design and other media, with select entries considered for inclusion in Lance Hosey's book, The Shape of Green: Aesthetics, Ecology and Design. -more- Margaret Casey, director of programming at World Market Center Las Vegas and a founding member of the Sustainable Furniture Council, said “the One Good Chair competition challenged designers to push the existing paradigms for the design and manufacture of chairs and that is exactly what makes this competition fresh and interesting.” About World Market Center Las Vegas: World Market Center Las Vegas is an integrated home and hospitality contract furnishings showroom and trade complex in Las Vegas. With the opening of Building C, World Market Center now stands at more than five million square feet of space, exceeding the size of any trade merchandise mart in the United States. When fully built, at 12 million square feet in 8 buildings, World Market Center will be the largest trade show complex in the world. The $3 billion, state-of-the-art campus will showcase furniture, decorative accessories, gift, lighting, area rugs, home textile and related segments, as well as the Las Vegas Design Center (LVDC), open year-round.

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