Haywood Community College Professional Crafts Wood recent graduate Samantha Mallard and current student Brandon Skupski won the Design Emphasis contest at the International Woodworking Fair held in August.

Design Emphasis is an awards program geared toward offering design students an opportunity to demonstrate not only their talent but also originality before a judging panel of furniture industry designers, manufacturing and retail executives, and members of the trade press who have design-oriented backgrounds. Design Emphasis is widely acclaimed as the foremost furniture design competition for students and offers design students a unique opportunity to demonstrate their talent and originality before a judging panel of furniture industry designers, manufacturing and retail executives, and members of the trade press who have design-oriented backgrounds. It also provides a unique chance to experience an international industry trade show, make important career contacts and exchange ideas with other students from around the nation.

Out of 150 entries from design schools across the country, 50 were selected as finalists in the following categories: Accent Furniture/Tables; Commercial/Office/Hospitality; Case Goods; Design Creativity and Seating. A team eight judges reviewed each project based on the following criteria: design, manufacturing, marketability and workmanship.

Mallard was announced winner in the Commercial/Office/Hospitality category with her Courting Chair. Brandon Skupski claimed top finish in the Accent Furniture/Tables category for his X-Flat Table.

In addition, HCC student Noah Fiorentino was a finalist in the Accent Furniture/Accent Tables category for his Coffee Table. Mallard was a finalist in the Seating category with her Stretch Chaise and Skupski was a finalist in the Commercial Office, Hospitality category for his Passing Through Bench.