Student Design Competition Raffle

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As part of our design course, the class participates in the annual Student Design Competition. This is a team project wherein students are asked to design an original piece of furniture in response to a unique theme they have been given. Students present their proposals to a panel of industry professionals who choose the finest piece. The winning design is then built in our shop and raffled off to the public at our year end show, the proceeds of which are returned to the winning team as the Fine Woodworking Design Competition Scholarship.


2022 Competition Winners

The Process Bench

This year’s chosen theme was Transformation, and was adjudicated by renowned designer-makers Garret Hack, Yuri Kobayashi, and Micheal Peckovich, as well as Peter Flemming, head of the furniture program at Sheridan College, and Erica Strom of Nelson-based Spearhead Timberworks. The winning project, The Process Bench, was designed and created by Matthias Crooymans, Keegan Irvine, Josh Adams, and Juliette Stephens.

This year teams were given the challenge of using only a single 10ft Pin Oak slab to use for their design. The process Bench met the design challenge by representing the transformation process from the raw Pin Oak slab into a hand carved Windsor chair. 

In order to engage the viewer in the design and construction of the Process Bench, the live edge slab transforms over the length of the seat into a refined and detailed Windsor chair, pairing the comfort and design of the Windsor's classic spindle backed seat beside the slab that it was carved from. The unfinished 'slab' side is the metaphorical beginning of the piece, designed in appearance to follow the shape and form of the original Pin Oak slab, paying homage both to the tree itself as well as to the tradition of live edge slab furniture, notably crafted by George Nakashima. This transformation from one side of the furniture making process to the other not only provides a portrait of how the piece was made, but also displays the evolving nature of furniture design throughout history, pairing elements of two distinct styles that have both survived and evolved on their own over the centuries into a single piece that puts on display the history that it contains.

The Process Bench is made a single Pin Oak slab locally sourced from the Blaylock Mansion, just outside of the city of Nelson BC, and finished with Osmo Oil.

55"L x 21"W x 28"H

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2021 Competiton Winners

Lapis Lazuli Chair

The chosen theme of the 2021 competition was Sculptural Furniture, and was adjudicated by renowned designer-makers Michael Fortune, Wendy Murayama, and Kelly Parker, as well as Jon Binzen of Fine Woodworking Magazine, and Dan Rempel of Nelson-based Spearhead Timberworks. The winning project, the Lapis Lazuli chair, was designed and created by Jasper Belliveau-Thompson, Madelaine Nelson, Mat Becotte, and Rianna Walser.

Lapis Lazuli met the design challenge by representing the sculpting process. A combination of both natural and man made form and material, combined with bold and organic colours creates juxtaposition that reflects both permanence and impermanence. While this chairs design may seem futuristic, Lapis Lazuli is historically significant as a rare and precious stone. The rarity of this pigment contributes to the cubes paradox between artificial and organic. Though the design of this chair may seem harsh and angular, the organic forms of the seat have been sculpted to provide a comfortable, relaxing form.

Lapis Lazuli is made of solid birch, and finished with authentically genuine crushed Lapis Lazuli pigmented epoxy.

32"L x 32"W x 28"H


2020 Competition Winners

Sappy Bench

The chosen them of the 2020 student design competition was Emotion. The winning design, Sappy Bench, was designed by Evan Smith and the D.W.E.M. Team, and was a response to the timely theme of Emotion.  

Sappy Bench is a response to the 2020 Design Challenge theme of Emotion. It plays visually with our concepts of feeling, with its steam bent arcs representing an abstract smile or frown. It also beckons you to become grounded for a moment. Happy, sad, smiley, frowny, this bench stays with us through the turbulent ups and downs we all face and, as an entryway bench, it warmly welcomes you home or bids you a fond farewell. During construction it was aptly named the Sappy Bench, for its blending of emotions (happy/sad) and for its stunning elm sap wood slab.

Sappy Bench is made of steam bent Elm sourced locally from the Blaylock Mansion, finished with Osmo Top Oil.

53"L x 17"W x 17"H

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