On April 14, the Georgia Tech School of Industrial Design partnered with the Museum of Design Atlanta—recognized in the Southeast by its distinguishable devotion to all things design—to host the competition.
Upon receiving an invitation from Georgia Tech, Auburn’s industrial design team placed first out of eight teams.
The competition was influenced by an underground movement involving the art of IKEA product hacking, or using ready-to-assemble IKEA products to build completely different and personalized products.
The team consisted of industrial design juniors Robert Patterson, Kathleen Chang and Richard Patterson and sophomore Josh Hanson.
Each team was given a wooden IKEA chair product design and asked to use the materials to make a product of their own design by altering its function and appearance.
Hanson said the team began by sawing the chair in half and worked diligently to completely re-configure it, creating a decorative lamp.
“It was kind of like one of those top designer shows on Bravo,” Hanson said.
Along with Auburn University, Georgia Tech and SCAD-Atlanta also participated. Coca-Cola and Info Retail, a strategy and design agency based in Atlanta, also participated.
“It was cut-throat competition and we barely made it to the end, but it was an overall great team experience and I made several new friends,” Hanson said.
“It was fun, had a great time. Fast paced, but not too serious at all really,” Guzman said.
The competition required the teams to use the entire chair to design a different and personalized product other than a chair, using only cordless tools within a three hour time constraint.
“We brought a socket, some wiring, a light bulb and as many different types of fasteners as we could, like screws and even zip ties,” Guzman said.
Other competitors produced designs such as a his-and-her razor scooter by Coca-Cola, who brought their own wheels, and an art easel by SCAD. A guitar, as well as another type of lamp, was also created by other opponents.
“When we started, they told us they were judging based on aesthetics and craftsmanship, whether we used all the materials in the chair, and usability,” Guzman said. “We only had three hours, so we planned what we were going to do with the materials for most of the time, and it all got thrown together in the last fifteen minutes.”
The planning and preparation paid off for the four who took away the prizes, which included year-long memberships to the Museum of Design Atlanta, a set of informational design books, and souvenir tee shirts.
“I spoke with one of the judges after, and he said that he liked the way that we made our design not look like a chair,” Patterson said.
“He said that all the other designs resembled chairs and that ours was the only one that really deconstructed the design.”