Appalachian State University students take home honors in furniture design competition

Two Appalachian students in the College of Fine and Applied Arts’ Department of Applied Design took home honors in the International Furniture Design Association’s 2017 Cliff Young, ltd. Contemporary-Modern Furniture Design Competition held as part of the New York Design Center’s “What’s New, What’s Next” showroom day in New York City on Sept. 14. Ben Bridges and John Barton, both senior industrial design majors, took home second and third place, respectively, for their innovative creations.

According to Applied Design Department Chair Brian Davies, the competition received 65 entries from 24 programs, including three international institutions, and Appalachian was the only program with multiple honorees.

Bridges, a native of Toccoa, Georgia, designed the “Orson” sette, a mid-century piece capable of seating two or three people comfortably. He was excited to represent the university and connect with industry experts.

“Traveling to this event was a very special experience for me as I had never been to New York City,” he shared. “To speak first-hand with competition judges and to share my project with other designers gave me an arena for feedback unlike any peer critique I have experienced.”

Barton, who hails from Atlanta, designed the “Ankh” vanity. Based on an ancient Egyptian cosmetic box, his vanity is an appearance management station for a fast-paced lifestyle. According to Barton, the slim profile allows for it to be used in a number of spaces, including bedrooms, bathrooms, transitional spaces and entryways.

Barton was thankful for not only for the chance to attend the event, but to seek inspiration in New York City.

“We were able to network extensively, meeting all sorts of CEOs, designers and marketing executives,” he said. “The day after the event, Ben and I were also able to go sightseeing. We visited many inspirational art and design museums.”

Davies was thrilled with the opportunity to support student travel to the competition and provide a new experience for Bridges and Barton.

“The competition provided a unique opportunity to showcase the passion and talent of Appalachian’s program in the heart of the design community,” he remarked. “The national recognition and these connections are invaluable to our emerging designers.”


About the Department of Applied Design

One of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Department Applied Design at Appalachian State University fosters excellence in design education, design research and professional placement. The department balances theoretical and pragmatic approaches while exploring an awareness of impact through design decisions on the global community. Faculty focus on a holistic approach to creative problem-solving by integrating sustainability and ethical responsibility in teaching and practice. The department offers bachelor’s degrees in apparel design and merchandising, industrial design and interior design.

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.



Tori Mellot (Competition Juror and Traditional Home Magazine Contributing Editor), Ben Bridges (2nd Place), John Barton (3rd Place),Jill Waage (Traditional Home Magazine Editor-in-Chief), Brian F. Davies (Applied Design Chair).
Published: Sep 29, 2017 11:02am