Collab 2014 Student Design Competition

October 31, 2014 | From our Friends, DesignPhiladelphia

2014 Student Design Competition Tour and Reception
COLLAB AT PMA  | East Balcony and Granite Hill

The challenge for the 2014 Collab Student Design Competition is to create a chair or seating for the home that incorporates new design materials or technologies inspired by Vitra. Held in conjunction with the exhibition Vitra—Design, Architecture, Communication: A European Project with American Roots (November 22, 2014–April 26, 2015), a juried selection of student designs will be exhibited on the balcony of the Museum's Great Stair Hall from November 18 to 21.

The Collab Student Design Competition is a remarkable annual event held in conjunction with the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The competition brief is always linked thematically to that year's Collab Design Excellence Award recipient. For the past twenty years, the event has been an exceptional opportunity for students to experience the rigors of competition and have industry leaders from around the world judge their work. In addition, students interact with colleagues from other universities and institutions, exposing them to an array of design approaches.

The 2014 Competition Brief: Diversity

The 2014 Collab Student Design Competition will take place on Monday, November 17, 2014. This annual event is held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and provides a unique opportunity for regional university design students to experience competition outside the classroom and to receive valuable feedback from nationally recognized industry leaders. Each year’s competition is thematically linked to the work of the annual Collab Design Excellence Award honoree, a world-class individual recognized as having made significant contributions to the field of design.

The 2014 Collab Design Excellence Award honoree and the inspiration for this year’s Collab Student Design Competition, is Rolf Fehlbaum, Chairman Emeritus of Vitra, the Swiss office furniture company founded by his father. Fehlbaum made Vitra one of the most innovative design firms in the world, not only for its products, but also for the architecture of its own buildings and its unique commitment to education. A visionary patron of architecture and design, Fehlbaum created Vitra Edition in 1987 to develop experimental furniture in limited editions with leading contemporary designers such as Ron Arad, Philippe Starck, Ettore Sottsass, Shiro Kuramata, and Borek Sipek. In 1989 he founded the Vitra Design Museum to house his collection and archives of furniture, material studies, and documents, and to promote research and programs about design. Fehlbaum has received numerous honors and awards, including an honorary doctorate from London’s Royal College of Art.


Vitra recognizes that the twenty-first century home environment is a productive and diverse space in which inhabitants play, learn, cook, eat, relax, converse, and work. Their furnishings accommodate these diversities and work within the context of multiple settings.


Students will be challenged to design a chair or seating, which fits into the context of the home and incorporates new design materials and/or technologies. It must be functional and convey a specific style statement. Students must also include a presentation board that describes their research and process, includes the basis for their design as it addresses domestic living; and incorporates a collage of images that defines the space the chair/seating will fit in.

The competition is open until November 13: click here to learn more!

More about Collab

Collab is a collaboration of design professionals and enthusiasts supporting the modern and contemporary design collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A volunteer committee founded in 1970, Collab is dedicated to enriching the Museum’s collections with outstanding examples of mass-produced and unique designs, and to making the collections accessible to the general public, students, and the design community. Now among the most important in the country, the design collections of more than 2,000 objects range from appliances and furniture to ceramics, glass, posters, wallpapers, and lighting.

Photo Courtesy of PMA Wooden Dolls, designed 1963 by Alexander Girard. Made by Vitra GmbH, Basel, Switzerland. Solid fir, hand-painted (Lent by Vitra)

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