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Gifted Design Students Are Honored at Design-Center Celebration


New Bern, NC — Karunadhipathi Lihin Weera, a senior at Toronto’s Ryerson University, received the 2017 Contemporary-Modern Furniture Student Design competition’s $3,000 scholarship in the final hours of the New York Design Center’s “What’s New, What’s Next” event on September 14th.

Co-sponsors of this scholarship award were Cliff Young, Ltd., and the IFDA Educational Foundation, and the award ceremony was conducted in the Cliff Young showroom at 200 Lex. “We were thrilled to sponsor this exciting competition along with our partners at the IFDA-EF, who are doing great work to support the next generation of leading designers,” said Leslie Young Zarra, the Cliff Young CEO. “And mentorship has always been an important aspect of what we do at Cliff Young.”

The Sri Lanka-born award-winner brought to the event and put on display a fabrication of his actual design, which he described as “the interlocking of two stools that form into a table.” Made of lightweight polymer, it can be taken apart, put together and moved about easily. And, as he demonstrated, it’s also remarkably sturdy.

Also displayed in the Cliff Young showroom were images of the four runner-up projects, three of whose designers were present: Bryan Haberstroh, from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, and two students from Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, John Barton and Ben Bridges. The pair were accompanied by Brian F. Davies, Chair/Professor of Applied Design at Appalachian State, who beamed with pride that out of 65 entries from 24 colleges and universities, the designs by two of his protégés had been cited. Said Prof. Davies, “This competition provided a unique opportunity to showcase the passion and talent of Appalachian State’s program in the heart of the design community,” adding, “It was truly an incredible opportunity to participate and engage with the industry.”

Judging the competition were Leslie Young Zarra, president of Cliff Young, Ltd.; Caleb Anderson, Drake Design, NYC; Michel Boyd, SmithBoyd Interiors, Atlanta; Tori Mellott, Traditional Home magazine, Des Moines, IA—each of whom attended the presentation—plus Nancy Wolford, Ph.D., representing the Educational Foundation of the International Furnishings and Design Association, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2017.

1.  Competition winner Karunadhipathi Lihin Weera accepts a giant version of his $3,000

scholarship check  from Mervyn Kaufman, representing IFDA’S Educational Foundation.

2   An image of each of the four runners-up were displayed in the Cliff Young showroom during the day-long “What’s New, What’s Next” event at the New York Design Center.

3.  Winner of the 2017 Contemporary-Modern Furniture Student Design competition, Karunadhipathi Lihin Weera, shows how his two-piece molded-polymer table can be converted into two stools.

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