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Award Winning Student Design to be Unveiled at ICFF


NEW YORK – Wilsonart recently named Esin Arsan from Pratt Institute as the winner of its 2010 “Wilsonart Challenges”... student design competition. Arsan’s winning entry, the 142 (“One for Two”) Chair, is a single piece of seating that was inspired by the ideas of joining two elements or people together. This chair could accommodate a single or a pair of sitters. The idea came from the designer’s desire to create a nurturing environment that brought people together and made them feel safe.

The competition challenges students to design (and build) a functional chair that incorporates the iconic form of the Wilsonart Laminate chip. Using two shades of red, Arsan created a visual twist that embraces the sitter. The form of the chair resembles a giant “X,” which itself is a symbol for a hug. This X wraps around the back of the sitter “to give them a pat on the shoulder.” This “pat” is intended to make the users feel understood, accepted and supported. To Arsan, a hug is a gesture that simultaneously conveys empathy and sympathy. 

In order to emphasize the hosting of two separate identities with the affinity to be perceived as one, two different shades of solid red laminate (Port and Hollyberry) from the Wilsonart laminate selection are used as the finishing material. The hole of the Wilsonart sample chip is used as a visual design element; the hole looks like it is holding the two main elements together, giving the impression of two long overlapping laminate strips.

Arsan is a foreign exchange student from Turkey. She received her BFA in Interior Architecture and Environmental Design from Bilkent University. After graduation, she worked as a freelance designer for a year and started a Master of Science degree in Industrial Design at Middle East Technical University. In 2008, she became a Fulbright Scholar and moved to United States to restart her Masters degree in Industrial Design at Pratt Institute. She now lives in Brooklyn and has recently started to work on her thesis project. Her graduate studies are also supported by the P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship.

The award-winning entry and our runners-up entries will be displayed during ICFF at the Wilsonart Contract Booth and on

About Wilsonart Challenges…
Wilsonart sponsors the “Wilsonart Challenges”… student design scholarship program to foster the careers of emerging furniture designers in North America. Each year, this competition challenges students at a designated design school to create a unique chair that incorporates the iconic shape of the Wilsonart Laminate sample chip. In Winter, 2008, Wilsonart selected the Industrial Design Department at Pratt Institute to host the challenge. The competition is in reality a semester-long course taught by professors Mark Goetz and Tim Richartz, both accomplished industrial designers, and Grace Jeffers, design historian and materials specialist. The students were taught about laminate; its history, technical capabilities, current market trends, and sustainability issues as well as the history of chairs as decorative art forms. Throughout the course of the semester, concepts were generated, discussed and refined through a series of exercises and critiques. A jury selected the winner and finalists on the last day of class.

Wilsonart Laminate is manufactured by Wilsonart International, based in Temple, Texas, and is a part of a decorative surfacing portfolio, including, Wilsonart® Solid Surface, Wilsonart® Flooring and Wilsonart® Adhesives. For more information about Wilsonart Laminate or any Wilsonart product, call (800) 433-3222. Consumers can also visit and professionals can visit

Pratt Institute offers undergraduate and graduate programs in industrial design, both with strong ties to industry through corporate-supported programs and internships. Pratt's industrial design students are taught by faculty members who are all professionals in the field, many of whom are principals at world-renowned firms. Together, teachers and students at Pratt explore, challenge, and redefine the forms and inventions with which we live. Pratt industrial design students develop a clear understanding of aesthetics, creating objects and experiences of enduring value and meaning that embody respect and sensitivity for others and their environment. For more information, go to