Bienenstock Furniture Library names 2019 furniture design winners
March 7, 2019 | 3:05 pm UTC
John Lalevee's winning design was described as having connectors with a modern industrial feel.

HIGH POINT, NC -- Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library board of directors announced the winners of two design competitions, awarding $5,000 scholarships to scholars to continue their studies in Interior Design and Furniture Design.

In addition to $5,000 awards, recipients were given memberships in the ISFD and ASID professional associations. Their schools will receive an additional $1,000 to fund academic programs. The Bienenstock scholarships are open to any junior, senior or graduate student enrolled in an accredited college design program. The Library has awarded more than $450,000 in scholarship money to date.

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and the International Society of Furniture Designers (ISFD) are official sponsors of the competition providing creative project ideas and assisting in the judging process. The library hosts this annual competition and funds the scholarships. This is an annual competition and a new contest will be announced in May of 2019.

Entrants were asked to design an aesthetically pleasing chair of original design from any material or combination of materials. Instructions were "to create an offering that could be marketed to the residential and/or contract trade. The chair is to be visually stunning, appropriate for manufacturing, fiscally feasible, and suitable within the constraints of mass production."

There were 32 entries from 7 different colleges. Colleges represented included: Weber State, Kendall, SCAD, Appalachian State University, University of Central Oklahoma, University of Idaho, and the University of Houston.

Speaking of John Lalevee's winning design, Dudley Moore, representing the ASFD and chairman of the High Point Market Authority noted, the "connectors have a modern industrial feel." Judge Scott Coley remarked, the design is a "Unique twist on mid-century modern."  Judge Royale Wiggin commented, "it has an urban vibe to it."

Lalevee named his piece Cromulent. The etymology of the word comes from a humorous, neologism coined by Lisa Simpson in a 1996 television episode of The Simpsons and has since become part of contemporary lexicon. It was originally used to describe a dubious or made up word, term, or phrase that is entirely plausible because it makes logical sense within existing language conventions. An internet search reveals it has come to mean acceptable or normal; excellent, realistic, legitimate or authentic.

According to Lalevee, "Cromulent was designed to advance the mid-century modern ideal of using materials for what they are good for; truth to materials. Wood is strong linearly, but joinery exposes the natural limits of wood and its directional grain. Aluminum is strong in every direction but weighs significantly more than wood. Cromulent uses wood for straight sections and aluminum for angled joinery, utilizing each material where it can serve the structure best. All of the complexity of the chair is in the brackets, cut by a CNC mill, allowing the wood pieces to be formed using conventional woodworking tools. Simplicity was at the root of this project, and simplicity I feel is the root of good design."

The second-place winner was Dymon Johnson, from University of Houston. He receives a $1,500 scholarship to be applied to continuing education.

The distinguished panel of judges for Furniture Design were: Dudley Moore, Jr. Otto & Moore; Scott Coley, D Scott Coley Designs; Royale Wiggin, Thayer Coggin; Danny Davis, Davis Furniture; Richard Frinier, Richard Frinier Design Studio; and Charles Sutton, Charles Sutton Design.

Winning entries can be viewed on the Library's website at


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Karl Forth

Karl D. Forth is online editor for CCI Media. He also writes news and feature stories in FDMC Magazine, in addition to newsletters and custom publishing projects. He is also involved in event organization, and compiles the annual FDM 300 list of industry leaders. He can be reached at [email protected]