Arts & Culture

UK Grad Wins National Furniture Contest


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 24, 2009) − Recent graduate Rebekah Schaberg from the University of Kentucky College of Design took first place honors for her furniture project, "Swell," in the production/contract category of the Association of Woodworking Furnishings and Suppliers’ (AWFS) national Fresh Wood competition for students considering a career in woodworking.

The biennial furniture competition is held as part of the AWFS®Fair, an international trade show featuring all products and supplies for the woodworking industry that brings together the entire home and commercial furnishings industry, including manufacturers and distributors of machinery, hardware, lumber, construction materials and other suppliers to the furniture makers, cabinet manufacturers and custom woodworkers.

The 2009 Fresh Wood Student Competition attracted 165 entries from 49 different post-secondary and high schools in the United States and Canada. As winner of the event, Schaberg received a $1,000 cash prize and a certificate of merit. AWFS also covered shipping and the majority of travel and hotel costs to bring the students and their teachers to the fair.

Judges, ranging from woodworkers to educators, retail and trade companies,  reviewed entries based on the design, innovation and quality of presentation, the use of materials, methods and processes, the functionality and achievement of design intent and craftsmanship and quality. Special awards in the competition were sponsored by and Rikon Tools.

Schaberg's winning piece "Swell" combines both contemporary and modern design. The piece is comprised of two orthogonal slabs compressing two organic planes on the top and bottom, thus forcing the planes to 'swell' out from the slabs above and below. The bent planes are made of Baltic birch plywood, while the top and bottom slabs are plywood covered in white plastic laminate. The legs of the piece are chromed steel capped at both ends by chromed steel discs.

Schaberg was excited with the furniture design win on many levels. "Swell" had previously won an in-school furniture contest held by a furniture design studio led by Professor Leonard Wujcik. She decided to enter "Swell" in the national competition to see how her winning piece would compete with the best entries of other U.S. schools.

"The recognition of our school as a top institution means more than an individual prize," said Schaberg. "I have always thought that the education offered by the University of Kentucky College of Design is fantastic. Though we do not have the Ivy League status or facilities, our ideas and resourcefulness are valuable qualities. I will be happy if this award brings attention to the opportunities the school can provide."

Schaberg, a native of Paducah, Ky., is the daughter of Julia and Mark Schaberg. She earned her bachelor's degree in architecture from UK in 2008 and a master's degree in architecture in 2009. 

At UK, Schaberg served as both a teaching assistant and a research assistant at the college and was the recipient of the Dean's Prize for Architecture in 2008 and 2009. She also took advantage of many of the unique studio programs the School of Architecture offers, one of the primary reasons Schaberg chose to study at UK.

"I chose UK as my school because of the incredible travel opportunities that the architecture program offers," noted the alumna. "I have been all over the world studying different cultures and urban spaces."

Schaberg recently moved to Norway, where she took a position with Space Group Architects in Oslo.

"I will hopefully be able to stay in Norway for several years," added Schaberg. "I am excited to learn more about Scandinavian design concepts. They are quite different than what I have experienced in the U.S."