Wilsonart Chair Design Competition

Six talented design students will kickstart their careers during the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) May 17-20, 2014.

They will introduce their design entries for the 10th annual “Wilsonart Challenges…” Student Chair Design Competition centered around the theme SPACE and inspired by the Wilson House museum.

Wilson House Museum | KitchAnn Style

The house was built in 1959 by Ralph Wilson Sr., founder of Wilsonart International. Wilson used it as both his home and a test lab to see how many uses his company’s plastic laminate could serve in everyday living. Wilsonart purchased the Wilson House from Ralph Wilson’s widow in 1997, and has since restored it to its original appearance in 1959.

Wilson House Museum | KitchAnn Style

The Wilson House has been recognized as a significant architectural structure by the Texas Historical Commission and the National Register of Historic Places. For more information, check out this circa 1998 article from The New York Times.

 Wilson House Tour | KitchAnn Style

The students began the competition period learning about Chair History and Morphorlogy. They toured both a Wilsonart factory and the Wilson House museum.

The Chair Design Competition requires each entrant to create seating products that celebrate the richness of Wilsonart International’s laminate surfacing materials. In this challenge, students have an opportunity to design and build a unique chair around their individual talents. The chairs are required to be built in full scale and must be able to support 400 pounds. Each student is responsible to build their own chair.

UH Student Models | KitchAnn Style

The final student chairs have to be constructed with Wilsonart Laminate as surfacing materials but the early mock-ups were made using a variety of materials.

UH Student Models | KitchAnn Style

The students constructed half-scale models and full-scale drawings to further analyse design details, strength and the building process.

Chair Building Phase | KitchAnn Style

The final two weeks were spent building the chairs and according to the student blog, whatever time was left was used to create the presentation. (Sound familiar to anyone?)

Student Wilsonart Chairs | KitchAnn Style


“We deliberated this year more than any other year due to the outpouring of talent,”
— design historian and materials specialist Grace Jeffers

And The Winner Is…

The winning student was Jenny Trieu with her “Infinite chair” composed of a plywood rib cage, layered with veneer then Wilsonart Laminate flowing continuously like an infinity symbol. Congrats, Jenny!

wilsonart chair compeptition winner | KitchAnn Style

Jenny’s chair epitomizes mid-century modernism through its unique structure and bold colors. Wilsonart Laminate  Zebrawood, 7980K-18  is accented by eye-catching Wilsonart Laminate in Hollyberry, D307-60. Wilsonart Laminate in Black, 1595-60 lines the edges.

About “Wilsonart Challenges…”
Wilsonart sponsors the “Wilsonart Challenges…” student design scholarship program to foster the careers of emerging furniture designers in North America. Each year, this competition challenges students at a designated design school to create a unique chair that uses Wilsonart Laminate to answer a specific design challenge.

Wilsonart selected the College of Architecture at the University of Houston to host the 2014 Challenge. The competition unfolds as a semester-long course, this year taught by Professor Jeff Feng and Grace Jeffers, design historian and materials specialist ( and daughter of a Formica salesman). The students were taught about laminate, its history, technical capabilities, current market trends and sustainability issues as well as the history of chairs as decorative art forms.

(Wilsonart is a sponsor for BlogTour NYC May 2014, but the views and opinions expressed on this blog are mine, and I will be honest in what I share. You, the reader, are my top priority and it is my goal to make sure you can trust the content and integrity of this blog.)

Nanotech Countertops

FENIX NTM | KitchAnn Style

Fenix NTM ‘Nanotech Matt’ surface recently debuted in many trendsetting kitchen and furniture manufacturers displays at Salone del Mobile in Milan.

Fenix NTM is a thermo-laminate with unique properties, produced in Italy by Arpa Industriale with the aid of nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology is the branch of applied science that involves controlling materials, at an infinitesimal level: from 1 – 100 millionths of a millimetre. This type of process has only been available for a few decades, but it is already transforming the world we live in, even the furniture sector.FENIX NTM | KitchAnn Style

The core structure of Fenix NTM is composed of craft paper impregnated with thermosetting resins. It is produced by the simultaneous application of heat and high specific pressure to produce a homogeneous non-porous high density product.

Fenix NTM is very resistant to scratches, abrasion, rubbing and dry heat. It is also resistance to stress, solvents and household reagents. Its surface is hygienic and easy to clean thanks to its enhanced anti-bacterial properties. Fenix NTM is also water repellant and mold resistant.

FENIX NTM | KitchAnn Style

Despite its many features, it seems that it’s Fenix NTM’s matte anti-reflective surface, depth of color (especially black) and soft-to-the-touch feel that has designers flocking to it.FENIX NTM | KitchAnn Style

Homeowners and facility managers seem to love it because it is self-healing. To repair a scratch, just place a damp paper towel over the affected area and pass over the scratch with a hot iron. Your countertop will look brand new again.

FENIX NTM | KitchAnn Style

FENIX NTM is available in the following sizes and thicknesses:
4200 x 1600 mm: 0.9, 1.2, 10 and 12 mm.
4300 x 1850 mm: 10 and 12 mm.

About Arpa:
Since 1954 Arpa Industriale has been designing and manufacturing panels with very high quality HPL technology for the most diverse applications: from architecture to interior design, from healthcare to shipyards, from transport to hospitality, from retail to kitchens.

Arpa’s American showroom is located in SoHo, the artistic and creative heart of New York City, the center for contemporary excellence. Arpa’s unique products and colorful collections on display are in this 7,500 square foot showroom center.

Integrated Sinks add Luxury to Laminate Tops

integrated acrylic sink | Kitchann style

In recent years laminates have begun to look rich and luxurious with textures and the appearance of depth.

Integrated Sinks add Luxury to Laminate Tops

Now, with an HD® Sink from Wilsonart, you can complete your top with an undermount sink and have the look and performance of an integrated sink previously only available with expensive solid surface and stone countertops.

The new HD® Sinks, available in two colors and five styles, provide more options for homeowners who are looking for affordable luxury in a tight economy.

Integrated Sinks add Luxury to Laminate Tops