Formica launches annual FORM Student Innovation Competition

The theme of the 2023 FORM Student Innovation Competition was Maximalism. The Grand Prize Winner was the Voluta by Tom-Eliott Monette.

CINCINNATI — Formica Corporation opened its 2024 FORM Student Innovation Competition. Now in its seventh year, this annual competition invites architecture and interior design students in the U.S., Canada and Mexico to showcase their creativity through original furniture designs that feature Formica Brand products. 

Entries will be accepted Sept. 6, 2023, through March 8, 2024. Competition submissions can be emailed to [email protected]. For more information, including complete competition details, resources and rules, visit formica.com/studentcompetition.

This year, Formica reflects on 110 years of Formica with a challenge that asks students to submit a color rendering and project statement of a furniture design that interprets "newstalgia" — a trending aesthetic that blends retro and vintage design with a fresh, modern take. Through their design, students are asked to use their creativity when defining what "newstalgia" means to them, bridging classic with new.

Within their designs, students must include two or more Formica Laminate patterns and at least one color of FENIX Innovative Materials. Each entrant will have the chance to win cash prizes and national recognition, including the opportunity to have their work showcased at NeoCon 2024, the leading design event for commercial interiors. The competition is open from Sept. 6, 2023, through March 8, 2024, with winners announced in May 2024. A distinguished panel of industry and design professionals will judge the student submissions. 

"Each year, we continue to be impressed by the sheer creativity and innovative thinking of the next generation of designers," said Meghan Howell, North American design and creative director at Formica Corporation. "This year's competition feels especially significant as we reflect on our 110 years of design, and we're excited to see how students bring the influences of these decades into their designs."  

The grand prize winner will receive a $2,000 cash award and their design will be fabricated and displayed during NeoCon 2024 in Chicago. The second-place winner will be awarded $1,000 and the third-place winner will receive $500. The top three winners also will be invited to attend NeoCon as guests of Formica Corporation for the opportunity to network with industry professionals and get a taste of the design community.

Inspired by design legends
Now in its seventh year, the annual FORM Student Innovation Competition continues to grow as more students submit their inventive and thought-provoking designs.

The current iteration of FORM is inspired by a challenge Formica held in 2008, when the company invited design greats — including Jaime Velez, Zaha Hadid, Michael Graves, Bernard Tschumi and Massimo Vignelli, among others — to create works of art from Formica Brand products. Their designs, which ranged from domestic pieces to conceptual sculptures, were then exhibited at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati.

In the spirit of the original challenge, the 2024 FORM Student Innovation Competition invites the next generation of designers to express their creativity in these original furniture designs, showing attention to detail, inventive design and a unique point of view. 

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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).