In the Spotlight

IDSA Members Among Winners and Jurors in IHA's Student Design Competition

Feb 20 2018 - 5:06pm

IDSA members are among the winners and jurors in the International Housewares Association's 25th annual Student Design Competition. All winners will be showcased at the 2018 International Home + Housewares Show on March 10–13 in Chicago.

Entrants redesigned a current housewares product to meet the needs of the future, or created a concept for a new product. Winning projects were selected for their innovation, understanding of production, marketing principles and quality of entry materials.

IDSA student member Caleb Blankenbaker (shown above) of the University of Illinois at Chicago won second place. The junior, who serves as vice chair of the IDSA Student Chapter at UIC, designed Arome Coffee Bean Roaster, which uses air to roast coffee beans safely and more efficiently. With its wireless connectivity, Arome provides complete control of the roast curve. 

Blankenbaker tells us that last year, he worked at the International Housewares Show, not far from the Student Design Competition exhibition. "Seeing the quality of work they produced inspired me to improve my skills and look for design opportunities for the home," he recalls. "This is the first time I've submitted work for a competition outside of school, so seeing the jury's reaction was really exciting for me, especially since they weren't there for the entire process."

He can't wait to see the public's first reactions to Arome and use the feedback to improve his project. He's also anxious to see the other winning projects.

The jury (shown below) included four IDSA members: Michael Kahwaji, jury chair of IDSA's International Design Excellence Awards 2018; Scott Shim, IDSA Board of Directors education directorJennifer Astwood, associate professor of ID at University of Wisconsin and Chris Gidwell, ID director at Midea/Eureka.

"It was wonderful to network and get insights from all of the colleagues on the panel who are from many different industries," says Astwood (shown above, far front left. "Even though we have diverse experiences, we come together and agree on the strongest work. We live in and play in a world of fuzzy problems, as several of the top projects showed."

"Judging was such a great opportunity," adds Astwood (shown below left, during jurying with Kahwaji, right). "It's amazing and inspiring to see the work of all the different schools. It's good to know that materials and manufacturing are a universal issue now being addressed by many schools."

The other top winners are:

  • Arizona State University graduate Lauren Emmerson, IDSA student chapter secretary, and senior Anastasia Miller, IDSA student chapter president, shared first place prize for Domi Care At Home Pap Test, which a woman can perform at home, then access the results and communicate with their doctors through the Domi Care app. 
  • Carleton University senior Ben Kaufmann also earned first place for BIO Water Distiller, which removes toxins, bacteria and heavy metals from drinking water, and was designed for the Canadian market where remote communities rely on potable water delivery because of contaminated water supply.

All winning concepts will be on display at the 2018 International Home + Housewares Show, which is expected to draw up to 60,000 attendees and 2,200 exhibiting companies from more than 145 countries.

"This competition has provided a valid platform for students to get professional feedback and get recognized for their design work," says Shim, who is shown below during the jurying process. "It’s also refreshing to witness diverse approaches and processes from different design programs. Very exciting indeed!" adds the professor of industrial design at University of Notre Dame.

Vicki Matranga, H/IDSA, is IHA’s design programs coordinator and manager of the Student Design Competition. "Many US professors assign the program annually to industrial design students because it's a real-world exercise and every entry receives feedback from two industry professionals. Students must identify user needs and opportunity spaces in the marketplace, research competitive available products, test models with users and consider production issues.”

This year, there were 217 entries from 29 schools—including universities in Canada, India and Israel.

Congratulations to the competition on marking its 25th year, and to IHA, which is celebrating its 80th year! Since the competition began in 1993, more than 5,000 college students have entered.