By Michael Adams
It’s always a thrill to judge student projects because so often you’re at the brink of a career that may turn out to be significant. It’s also often poignant, because if there are winners, there are also . . . those who don’t win. Both of those factors were in play a few weeks back when I sat on a jury for LG Hausys’ second annual Student Design Challenge. The competition invites young designers to create a product that demonstrates “solid surface innovations” that at the same time are compatible with the Aloft Hotels brand (Starwood was a competition co-sponsor). Entrants specified materials and colors from four LG Hausys Surface product lines. Judging was held at the Aloft in Lexington, Massachusetts, the first of that brand I’ve witnessed first-hand. I was incredibly impressed with the concept, design, services, and price point. (Across the veranda is an Element hotel, another Starwood success story. The two hotels are so symbiotic that they share a staff, so a face glimpsed at the front desk of Aloft may pop up in the lobby of Element.
The five finalists we chose (“we” being a jury made up of editors, architects, and Starwood design folk) were brought to Lexington, having been winnowed from 84 contestants. We chose three winners, whose product concepts will be fabricated and on display at the LG Hausys booth at the upcoming ICFF in New York. It was not an easy decision choosing three of the five, so we were particularly pleased that the sponsors announced that they would fabricate all five of the final entries. What was also impressive was the knowledge, poise, and enthusiasm exuded by the contestants.
Here they are, as well as their winning ideas, so take note: you’ll probably be seeing more of them in the future.