Two teams of student designers from the Shintaro Akatsu School of Design (SASD) at the University of Bridgeport have won ParkFEST Furniture Design Competition by creating outdoor seating and other structures that will be used by the City of New Haven park system.
Sean Evelich and Josh Sikora, both 19-year-old industrial design majors, beat out more than two dozen teams, including professional designers and architects, and captured first place by creating a hybrid picnic table/bike rack/trash can.
Second place went to SASD interior design major Raeha Chung, 26.
ParkFEST was organized by the New Haven chapter of Architecture for Humanity, an international nonprofit that creates affordable habitats and structures for needy communities. Some of its current or recent projects include housing modules for individuals displaced by natural disasters in Haiti and Pakistan, as well as community centers, schools, and open spaces in Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Japan, and the United States.
The ParkFEST competition in New Haven invited designers to develop low-cost picnic tables, bike racks, and trash cans that were easy to build, sustainable, and most important, affordable up to $300. The three units could be built separately or as a hybrid structure.
Evelich and Sikora distinguished themselves because their composite-lumber furniture, which married the bike rack, picnic table, and trash can into a single piece, came as close to the $300 budget requirement as you can,” said Patrick McCauley, one of the competition’s four judges who is an industrial designer at Centerbrook Architects near Essex, CT.
“There were submissions you couldn’t make for less than several thousand dollars. But their design was the most practical. It also addressed the need for function, use of common materials, and ease of fabrication, which were important,” McCauley added.
Winning is always wonderful, but the real satisfaction, said Sikora, was the opportunity to work on something for the real world; that was great motivation.”