Well-dressed students mingled with industry professionals at The Gladstone Hotel on Queen West this Tuesday for the 14th annual Humber College Chair Show.
“The students, in just a span of eight weeks, conceptualize, design, and build working prototypes of chairs, which is pretty remarkable for second year students,” said Odin Cappello, a part-time design studio instructor.
This year’s challenge was to create a Scandinavian design for the modern city.
Glenn Moffatt has been working as a studio industrial design instructor for the past 18 years, and said the showcase gives students opportunities to explore new materials and meet industry professionals.
“In a lot of cases I’ve had people from industry tracking somebody right through their time at Humber. People are always looking for recruits, so if they see somebody that’s really a bright star they follow them,” he said.
There were 13 chairs all with a common denominator – plywood.
At the end of the night the “Paragon Collection” was named number one by the judges, built by Industrial Design students Elio Pedulla, 28, Michelle Tran, 20, and Yong Kyoon Kin (Kevin), 24.
“We really wanted to showcase the integrity of the steel rod and the softness and natural ability of the plywood,” said Pedulla.
Their winning design features removable parts and is easily shippable, allowing the consumer to customize.
Rick Malatesta and Robert Eknovitz were part of the judging panel representing Chair Source.
”There’s been a lot of really nice designs, really well thought out. We do a lot of chair manufacturing so we know what to look for,” said Eknovitz.
The chairs were judged on criteria such as proportion, balance, ergonomics, innovation, translation on mass, and originality.
“For myself, the most important are design, comfort, structure – top three,” said Eknovitz.
The event drew it a diverse crowd, which included successful Humber Alumni now working in the industrial design industry.
Kaylyn Belcourt-Mccabe works for Copernicus Educational Products and graduated from the program in 2007.
“I’ve been there I know what the students are doing and the panic in the last couple days before the show, and kind of the energy and heart that goes into doing it,” she said.
Communication industry worker John Ivor stumbled upon the event online.
“I wasn’t expecting such a commitment to an intention for these chairs to be mass produced. I guess I was expecting more emphasis on design, not to say that’s not evident here, but I wasn’t anticipating so much of a focus on those translating into real world objects,” he said.
To Pedulla and the rest of the Paragon team, winning was all about teamwork.
“It’s just every other team, just feeding off their energy was honestly just a lot of fun and we all learn from each other. Winning first place on part has to do with the dynamic of working with everybody”