Erica Brooks, of Baltimore, Maryland, a senior interior design major in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, was the winner in a recent interior design competition sponsored by the Bienenstock Furniture Library. 

She will receive $5,000 to continue her studies in interior design and a one-year student membership in the American Society of Interior Designers and in the American Society of Furniture Designers. Brooks will be awarded her prize during the 2015 High Point Market in April.

The Bienenstock scholarships are open to any junior, senior, or graduate student enrolled in an accredited college design program. Twenty-three students from 10 colleges and universities submitted entries to the 2015 competition, which was juried by a distinguished panel of design professionals in the furniture industry. Brook’s design was selected as the winner from a field of five finalists.

Entrants were asked to complete a design for a complex including an art gallery on the first two floors with a third floor being a residential space and create a design plan for the entire complex.

When asked about her winning design “LineUp.” Brooks said, “My inspiration came from the artist that I chose to display in the space, Julien Bouillon. I derived my concept from his work; that lines divide space and texture defines them. 

Competition judge June Anderson commented, “It is very imaginative and smart to use a live existing artist in the presentation. This design produced a sales and marketing environment for the art.” Judge Brianne Verstat commented, “This plan is technically and aesthetically pleasing. It has a great mix of materials, while allowing the artwork to be the main focus. The design is open, airy, and modern.”

Students from Virginia Tech’s interior design program, part of the School of Architecture + Design in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, have a history of success in national and international design competitions, including the Bienenstock Furniture and Interior Design Competition, which was also won by a Virginia Tech graduate student in interior design in 2013. The program itself is currently ranked No. 2 in the South, tied with Auburn University, in the annual DesignIntelligence Survey. The program ranked No. 5 in the nation for 2014.

Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library, a worldwide center for research, design, and collaboration, holds the world’s largest collection of rare and significant books on the history and design of furniture. Founded in 1970 and endowed by the Bienenstock family, the library is devoted the advancement of knowledge about design, furniture, interiors, architecture, textiles, finishes, and constructions. Since 1984, the library has awarded more than $390,000 in scholarships to students in hundreds of colleges and universities.



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