The Birth of a Competitive Spirit

Inspired by India
Today I take inspiration from the beautiful country of India. But before I discuss the how and the why, let me reminisce for a minute...

It seems like only yesterday I was roaming the halls of FIT, wondering if all my hardwork during the semester would result in one of my projects gracing the display cabinets along the corridors of the interior design department.  A project displayed not only meant a great sense of accomplishment but that others beyond your classmates and professor would get to experience your laborious efforts of the semester.  And while that was never a real motivation for me to work my ass off on all my assignments, it was definitely the icing on the cake flavoured A or A+.  So yea, I did pretty well at school and got my fair share of display time, but nothing compares to the real world or even a real design competition, where not only money or credit is involved but actual implementation, production, and PRESS - the holy grail of most deisgners!

I recently came across the Project U Design competition created by BIOH® Polyols.  The competition, open to furniture design students at the Savannah College of Art and Design, allows students to enter their own upholstered chair design, keeping in mind it may eventually be manufactured using the company's BIOH® product. In my opinion, the competition is excellent for three reasons:
1) the winning design will be chosen by us, john public. A great example of crowdsourcing at work in the furniture industry.  I suggest you get your vote heard by visiting here)
2) the winner will receive $1,000 plus royalties from sales, as the winning chair will be put into production by Century Furniture. Woohoo! The student gets PAID!
3) the chair will have internal components that are ECO-friendly: the BIOH® polyols and the suede upholstery. The use of BIOH® polyols soy-based ingredient in the foam component replaces some of the typical "not so friendly" oil-based polyols components often used in foam.  According to BIOH® Polyols, the suede is manufactured using recycled materials in a process that both reduces energy consumption and CO2 emissions substantially.  Now aint that special!?!
One of the entrants! Photo from
After careful scrutiny of the entrants' renderings, I would have to say the Alifair chair by Ryland Quillen featured above speaks to me the most.  It has a good sense of proportion and is substantial enough for a guy but with sensual lines that could appeal to a woman.  Which brings me back to where I started, India, and the inspiration piece for my vignette: the Janya pillow by Hammocks & High Tea:
Please be sure to check out all the gorgeous products by this in-demand design company: Hammocks & High Tea
The "Janya" print is inspired by henna artwork, an incredibly beautiful organic tattooing technique that's artistically and intricately applied to the hands and feet of brides during Indian wedding ceremonies:

With Hammock's & High Tea's simplified version in mind, I considered the following pieces beautiful compliments to the Alifair and my Indian inspired vignette theme.
1. Metal drum side table from Weylandtz 2. San Miguel Lantern from Serena & Lily 3. Toss up between lamb hair pillow from West Elm or sheep skin throw  4. Hammocks & High Tea Janya pillow and 5. the San Diego footstool, also from Weylandtz 
So go team Ryland! Let's get this baby into production so I can develop this vignette further and build a complete living space around this theme :)

To wrap up though, I want to jump back to competitions as incentive.  Considering the potential of winning a competition myself, I did contemplate staying on another 2 years beyond an Associate's to get a Bachelor's degree in interior design (in addition to the 50 million degrees I already have).  Of note, you are only eligible for the interior design competitions at FIT in your 3rd and 4th year.  In the end I decided that competitions were less important to me than getting my shingle hung, projects really implemented, and the euphoric satisfaction of design actualization and completion.  Three years later, that feeling of accomplishment has not diminished, it's still there at the end of each project.  The difference is that the feeling has become a bit more elusive as I now continually seek the "ultimate wow"...when that feeling of "I cannot top that!" floats in mind...the feeling I once felt in school at the end of each semester as I passed my project in the hallway.  I am my own competition.

anishka for idi