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‘Prelude’ Wins 12th Annual Wilsonart Chair Design Competition

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Student: Stephen Marchio

Chair: Prelude


Chair Description:

The name “Prelude” means “preliminary,” and this winner of the 12th annual Wilsonart student chair competition is indeed beginning a career as a creative visionary.


The Prelude chair is a playful statement — simultaneously coming together and pulling apart. The form embraces the tension between construction and deconstruction, between fine craftsmanship and that which is “malfatto” or “badly made” in a playful sense. The slanting angles of this chair are an optical illusion, which distract us from the fact that the lines of this form are perfect right angles. The pastel color pallete emphasizes the lighthearted nature of this form.


Designer’s Statement:

Back to the future comes into play as a design concept. This chair projects into the future of a skilled designer’s life while simultaneously honoring all the little steps taken to get there. Marchio explained: “This chair’s form and concept is based on the idea that a maker often looks back on his or her work from years back (even back to childhood years), and they can get the sense of progression. When we are young, our untrained hands don’t have the careful touch or the control to make the small adjustments needed to create a well-crafted piece. As the maker ages, those skills and abilities expand with them, and suddenly the standards for quality have changed. These older objects become pieces of history on the timeline of our workmanship, and looking back on them puts into perspective just how far we have come.”



Stephen Marchio is an artist and craftsman from Livonia, Mich., and a recent craft graduate of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit His focus was art furniture. Stephen primarily works in wood and metal using traditional techniques and tools, while producing a modern and clean aesthetic.




Student: Zachary Boomer

Chair: Geode Chair


Chair Description:

A geode is a rock containing a cavity filled with crystals. The “Geode Chair” pays homage to the surprise cluster of crystals one finds when hammering open a geode. The chair uses a single shade of purple laminate to create a compound-faceted seating surface. Just as a crystal reflects light, this faceted surface uses light to create the effect of a color gradient. even though only one color is employed.


The concept of a geode was developed as a device to draw people in and force them to consider the material, literally, in a whole new light. The color was used in reference to the history of dyes and the luxury associated with the color purple, being the most costly dye to produce, therefore referring to the most regal of status.


This chair is actually created largely from spray foam, and only the actual footprint of the sitter is surfaced in laminate.



Zachary Boomer entered the design world as a student at the College for Creative Studies in 2012 and graduated four years later. Initially, Boomer studied engineering at Michigan State University, where he discovered the phenomenon of product design. “I grew up working for my dad as a carpenter doing home remodels and renovations. I’ve always had an affinity toward woodworking and furniture design.”



Student: Alejandra Bucco

Chair: Pie Chair


Chair Description:

Simultaneously luscious, sweet and amusing, the “Pie Chair” owes a debit to pop art and theater design.

Designer Alejandra Bucco explained: “My chair is inspired by the delight we find in eating something sweet. Baking a homemade treat has become synonymous with a gesture of love towards those eating. I'm interested in the nostalgia associated with a treat such as pie, which has strong traditional ties to family, our ideas of home and the handing down of traditions through generations.”



Alejandra Bucco is a Cuban Italian, born in Venezuela and raised in Detroit. She is a recent graduate of the College for Creative Studies and currently works as a textile designer at Arden Companies.



Student: Kiho Jeong

Chair: Root Bench


Chair Description:

Children use trees as playgrounds. They perch, drape and curl up in, on and in-between all the branches and above ground roots. Children take forms and repurpose them to fit their bodies and their imagination. The “Root Bench” mimics the slants and bends that are created by trees, and it invites sitters to discover their own favorite pose. Just as in the growth of trees, the overall form is asymmetrical and highly irregular, hallmarks of nature that are uncommon in chair design.



Kiho Jeong started drawing and building as a young child. This led him to study industrial design in high school back in his native South Korea and eventually at the College for Creative Studies, where he graduated in 2016. “Product design gives me a lot of feeling,” explained Jeong. “Everything in our lives is related to design.”



Student: Scott Pancioli

Chair: S1


Chair Description:

The “S1” chair strikes an elegant pose, subtle but designed with the greatest attention to detail. The restrained form is a combination of two elements: the gray seat bucket and the set of turned wood legs. The maple seat pan, wool upholstered cushion and spun legs bring the warmth of Scandinavian design, while the bent birch backrest finished with charcoal laminate complements the seat. The angles were meticulously considered and selected to accommodate the angles of the human body, making this chair incredibly comfortable.



Based out of Detroit, Scott Pancioli is an aspiring industrial designer completing his education at the College for Creative Studies in May 2016. Scott has an eye for detail and subtlety in his work, as well as a meticulous hand in his craft. Though he finds inspiration and excitement working in a variety of product fields, furniture design has always been of particular interest.


Student: Adam Whittaker

Chair: En Throne


Chair Description:

Bold and uncomplicated, the “En Throne” chair is simultaneously sculptural, graphic and playful. The name is a play on words. "En" is derived from the Japanese calligraphy practice of drawing an Enso. It is a circle drawn in one fluid brush stroke and symbolizes strength and elegance. “Throne” comes from the fact that this chair is a noble seat that frames the sitter. The En Throne is composed of simple primary shapes yet has a monolithic presence that creates a sense of wonder. The chair is concurrently imposing and alluring. Whittaker explained: “I want the viewer to be filled with anticipation as they approach it and feel joy as they're encompassed by its grandiose form and intense blue color.”


Adam Whittaker is a recent graduate of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. He said of himself: “I've been obsessed with form and aesthetic since childhood. And I love the process of refining a design until only the essentials remain. I believe good design impacts people emotionally, and I strive to create the most powerful emotion from the simplest form possible.”


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