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K-State Today

August 29, 2022

Interior architecture and industrial design students named winner, finalist in international design competition

Submitted by Thom Jackson

Two students from the department of interior architecture and industrial design in the College of Architecture, Planning & Design were given top honors at the JANUS et Cie International Student Design Competition.

Ian Reimschisel, Bel Aire, a 2022 master's graduate in interior architecture, was named the inaugural winner of the 2021 Global Student Design Competition: "Urban Playground." Zachary Spearman, McPherson, a fifth-year graduate student in industrial design, was a finalist.

The competition was hosted by JANUS et Cie, an international furniture manufacturer, and Populous, a Kansas City-based architectural design firm. The two K-State students joined three other finalists at NeoCon, the world's leading platform for commercial furniture design, in Chicago on June 13 for the announcement of the competition's grand prize winner.

The students were challenged to design a furniture product for the perimeter participants of an urban playground used year-round. The five finalists were selected by an international jury of furniture industry professionals and architects that included Giulio Cappellini, art director of Cappellini. As a finalist, Spearman and the interior architecture and industrial design department each receive $1,500. Reimschisel, as the grand prize winner, receives $3,000 for both himself and the program.

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

"The brief that JANUS et Cie 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."

In parallel, 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 universal design concept into the entire playground environment," Kim said. "It is exciting to see the outstanding work he has done recognized by the award."

"We are proud of both of these students," said department head Nathan Howe. "Their work is exceptional and exemplifies the very best of what our two disciplines offer, industrial design with Zachary and interior architecture with Ian. It was a great showing of K-State talent, and having Ian win it all was the perfect cap on a great year!" 

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