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Three UC Interior Design Students Are Finalists in Global Contest

Three UC students are among the finalists in a prestigious international design competition.

Date: 4/15/2013 12:00:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Provided by UC students

UC ingot   Three students in the University of Cincinnati’s top-ranked interior design program were recently named finalists in an international retail design competition sponsored by The Planning and Visual Education Partnership (PAVE). The contest is meant to nurture top talent, with industry professionals selecting the finalists from entries submitted from all parts of the globe.

The three UC finalists, all students in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), are
  • Catherine Murray
  • Micah Washington
  • Yuan Zeng
And they will find out this week – April 16 to be exact – whether they are winners of a $5,000 top prize or other prizes in the retail design contest with 12 finalist projects from throughout the United States and Europe as well as India – all successful design fixtures that are both functional and effective in merchandising a real-world headphone brand. (Each year, the contest presents a different retail design challenge. In this case, the competitors were asked to focus on retail trends, merchandising and materials while successfully communicating a specific brand to headphone users.)
Yuan Zeng's design
Finalist design by UC's Yuan Zeng.

The finalists’ work will also be displayed at a prestigious conference and trade show by means of full 3-D prototypes, including the two UC finalist designs by the three DAAP students (Murray and Washington worked as a team). These will be displayed April 16-18 at Chicago’s GlobalShop 2013, the premier trade show for leaders in the retail design industry. These prototypes were made from the finalists’ 3-D renders of their designs by Van Stry Design of Malden, Mass., sponsor of the “2012-2013 PAVE the Way 3D Design Challenge.”

Zeng, 23, a UC junior originally from Kunming, China, designed a six-foot tall, minimalist display case of clear acrylic that would enable headphone users to easily view and customize their device headbands, headphone cables and sound engines to match their own individual styles.

He explained, “The best part of the project was probably seeing the end result come together as a whole after quite a few sleepless nights, as we had very limited time to put the project package together. Then, being able to work with a manufacturer to bring our designs to life was also an exciting part of the project. It presented its own challenges going from paper to reality, but it was a wonderful learning process.”

Murray, 22, a junior from the Cincinnati suburb of Madeira, and Washington, 22, a junior from Toledo, Ohio, agreed. They created a display design inspired by the coloring, form and typography found in the current packing of Marshall brand headphones and did so in about two weeks time.
UC students' design
Finalist design by Catherine Murray and Micah Washington

Recalled Washington, “We had just finished our main studio project when we decided to participate in this contest as well. At that point, we only had two weeks to complete the project, so we had to work really hard to get to the design refinement we were looking for. We learned you can accomplish a lot within short time constraints, which can be very important in the real world of design.”
Said Murray, “The result is a fixture that’s cost effective and eco-friendly while also benefiting from Marshall’s predominate brand recognition.”

The three students created their contest designs in a fall semester retail design studio led by Brian Davies, associate professor in the School of Architecture and Interior Design (SAID), and Ann Black, SAID associate professor.
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