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K-State Today

May 19, 2022

Interior architecture and industrial design students named finalists in national design competition

Submitted by Thom Jackson

Ian Reimschisel, fifth-year graduate student, and Zachary Spearman, fourth-year graduate student, in interior architecture and industrial design within the College of Architecture, Planning and Design are finalists in the 2021 Student Design Competition: Urban Playground. The competition was hosted by JANUS et Cie, an international furniture manufacturer, and Populous, a Kansas City-based architectural design firm.

The students were challenged to design a furniture product for the perimeter participants of an urban playground that is used year-round. The two K-State students will join three other finalists at NeoCon, the world’s leading platform for commercial furniture design, on June 13 in Chicago for the announcement of the competition’s grand prize winner.

"We are proud of both of these students," said Nathan Howe, department head and associate professor. "Their work is exceptional and exemplifies the very best of our two disciplines, industrial design with Zachary and interior architecture with Ian. We wish them both the best of luck moving forward in the competition." 

The five competition finalists were selected by an international jury of furniture industry professionals and architects.

Assistant Professor Kendra Kirchmer and Instructor Richard Thompson collaboratively led the furniture design studio structured around this competition.

"The brief that JANUS issued and the story of Olivia Bloomfield, the 2021 champion, was quite inspiring and drew attention to an underserved user group within urban playground settings," Kirchmer said. "Ian is a focused and dedicated student with a tremendous capacity for empathy. He used this to his advantage throughout the project to develop a sensitive and innovative design response."

Assistant Professor Byungsoo Kim guided an independent study with Spearman that was also structured around this competition.

"Zachary put tremendous efforts into the outcomes to present the integration of the universal design concept into the entire playground environment," said Kim. "It is exciting to see the outstanding work he has done recognized by the award."

As finalists, Reimschisel, Spearman and the Interior Architecture and Industrial Design program each receive $1,500.