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Wilsonart, a world-leading provider of engineered surfacing solutions, hosts a design competition held at a different school every year. The program is comprised of a sponsored class, where students learn how to design and build a chair, and the competition itself. For Wilsonart’s 14th Annual Student Chair Design Competition, “Wood, Trees and the Forest” was the theme that inspired the students from the Maine College of Arts to create six one-of-a-kind chairs using patterns from the Wilsonart Laminate Collection.

There was one winning designer and five runners-ups from this year’s program. Joseph Goodwin was this year’s winner for his design “Tool for Translation,” which turns the complex pop icon of the chainsaw into a chair. The chair represents competing ideologies in politics and debates because it poses the question, where does the tree’s life end and where does the chair’s life begin?

Holey Blue by Kincaid Pearson is an abstract representation of being in the woods and looking up at the night sky, with branch-like silhouettes surrounding the user to create the sense of being isolated in the forest.

Oxide by Dan Trottier was inspired by the hap chance of Trottier finding a broken plastic Adirondack chair in the forest. This somewhat poetic cycle – of a chair that was inspired by the mountains, mass produced, domesticated, and then returned to the forest to decay – moved Trottier to design an angular abstraction of this inspiration.

L ‘Dor V ‘Dor (From Generation to Generation) by Naomi Russo represents the moment a tree falls over in the woods. That tree may not fall straight to the ground but, instead, is held up by generations of other trees surrounding it. This idea applies to a line of generations of people as well.

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Ascend by Jason Haskel mimics the interaction you have when climbing a tree with its varying heights representing the different heights of branches and tree trunks.

Please, Sit by Daniel Iwasko was inspired by Iwasko’s experience sitting at the base of a tree with roots that formed the perfect backrest. He wanted to recreate that feeling in the form of a chair design.

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