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Furniture Design Majors Tie for First Place in Inaugural Competition

Posted June 28, 2012 in Student


Klise Manufacturing, a Grand Rapids-based manufacturer of wood mouldings and decorative accents, has announced the winners of their first student design competition. Tied for first place were two students from Kendall’s Ornamentation Class, lead by Instructor/Designer Monty Simpson.

This competition challenged students to identify and combine several decorative lineal wood moulding designs from the extensive Klise design library to create new aesthetic options to complement various style categories.

The students selected design patterns without limitation to specific market application, but with an emphasis on design details that would complement the more popular design trends of Shaker, Mission and Transitional styles.

“We were thrilled with the high level of creativity and detail in the designs submitted,” said Phil Tomasello, National Sales Manager of Klise. “Monty Simpson has brought students in to tour the plant for years, which is a great experience, but Klise wanted to do more. We thought it would be appropriate to give the students an opportunity to create—and they gave our staff some great ideas as to how our products can be applied to not only furniture, but our other applications, that range from kitchen cabinetry to luxury yachts. They came up with ideas we hadn’t even thought of.”

Tomasello continues, “We were hard pressed to pick a first and second place winner given the broad scope of the competition, so we came to a conclusion that the top two designs submitted would share a tie for first place honors.”

Senior Jake Blok designed a decorative moulding combination to complement Mission Style furniture. He is also a finalist in Atlanta, GA’s annual International Woodworking Fair 2012 Design Emphasis Award competition. Blok was the only student entering seven different projects, each one an outstanding finalist. In 2011, his junior year, Blok was a recipient of the Celia Moh Scholarship, which is presented to outstanding Furniture Design students for the remaining years of their college experience. In addition, the American Society of Furniture Designers named Blok the first place winner of the Student Design Challenge 2011.

Senior Susannah Dirkse created a decorative moulding combination to complement the Shaker style. “I wanted something light and fresh, but not too decorative or too ‘fluffy.’ They asked us to put our design into context, so I chose wainscot. I can envision my design being used in the design of a Shaker-style home.” Dirkse entered the competition to get more experience working in a variety of styles and under a deadline, as well as to build her resumé as she prepares to enter the job market upon graduation in 2013.

Tomasello added, “For decades, Klise and Kendall have had a great relationship which was fostered by furniture design and manufacturing that had once brought Grand Rapids into national prominence. This initial student competition with Kendall has been terrific, and I’m confident that our future design competitions will help further expand the creative possibilities and understanding of unique design elements and their applications.”

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