Bienenstock Interior Design Competition winner Victoria Smith.
Bienenstock Interior Design Competition winner Victoria Smith.
HIGH POINT, N.C. - Bienenstock Furniture Library has announced the winner of its annual interior design competition. Victoria Smith, an academic senior studying Interior Design at Virginia Tech, won a $5,000 scholarship and memberships to the ASFD and ASID professional associations. Virginia Tech was also given $1,000.
"The intention of these scholarships is to encourage and inspire the best and most creative minds and help them to develop their talents,” said Russell Bienenstock, president of the Library Board.
Entrants were given the following real world assignment: a client had just purchased two adjoining, three-story brick row houses dating to the turn of the century. The students were asked to combine the two units into a single art gallery that displayed the work of cutting-edge artists. The first and second floors were to be used for exhibiting art, hosting special events and serving as a community meeting space containing an office and catering kitchen. The third floor would be reserved for the couple's private residence. They also had to brand the edifice with a logo consistent with the purpose of the building.
"This project has truly sparked my creativity and encouraged me to understand the balance between designing an inspiring space, while maintaining the focus on the beauty of the art itself," said winner Victoria Smith.
Smith branded her project "MIN" using interlocking parallelograms of various widths in black and white. The underlying geometry of the existing building, created by the structural columns and walls, implies a series of cubes. Studying these cubes provided a sense of scale, proportion, and hierarchy that determined the design of the gallery and the apartment, said Smith.
The custom reception desk, made of recycled aluminum, is a nod to the works by Donald Judd and Sol LeWitt, who use steel or aluminum in their sculptures. While most of the space remains black and white, an accent of red enhances the space and stimulates the viewers. Red is symbolic of Donald Judd's paintings highlighted in the project. The use of recessed linear lighting throughout the gallery and the apartment enhances the geometry of each space and serves as a wayfinding element. See a full PDF here.
The second place winner was Meredith Fraga, from Virginia Tech. She receives a $1,500 scholarship to be applied to continuing education. The judges loved the thought out use of space planning and excellent lighting; enjoyed the color on the ceiling with the neutral walls. Her professor , Lisa Tucker, who was also the professor for the first place winner said, "Meredith is so deserving of this honor. She was surprised when her project was picked to be submitted for the competition and I suspect she was shocked to hear she had won second place. I am thrilled for her."
The competition received 39 entries from 10 colleges including: Virginia Tech, SCAD, Forsyth Tech, San Diego Mesa College, Randolph Community College, Appalachian State University, George Washington University, High Point University, University of Southern Mississippi and University of Central Oklahoma.
The Bienenstock scholarships are open to any junior, senior or graduate student enrolled in an accredited college design program and have awarded more than $430,000 in scholarship money. 
"Our founder, Sandy Bienenstock, advanced his long-standing desire to invest in the education and future of the furniture industry by establishing the Library itself and by initiating the Bienenstock Scholarships," said Russell Bienenstock, president of the Library Board. "The intention of these scholarships is to encourage and inspire the best and most creative minds and to help them to develop their talents. To that end, this is the fifth year we added a scholarship for interior design to our long-standing award in furniture design, creating two substantial national scholarships."


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