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AACC Students Tie for First Place in Design Competition

July 20, 2011
Education/Business

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      Three Anne Arundel Community College interior design students tied for first place in the 2011 MADE: In America Washington, D.C. Furniture Design Competition, capturing the BEST: Made in America Award.

      The winning entries of AACC students Susan Wasilewski of St. Michaels, Nadia D. Vemuri Cataldi of Annapolis and Brandon P. King of Deale were showcased July 4 at the “Take Pride in America Celebration and Awards Ceremony” in the U.S. Capitol. AACC also was invited to display furniture design entries from another five AACC interior design students as part of the event, which focused primarily on the furniture manufacturers receiving awards from MADE: in America based in Washington, D.C., the not-for-profit educational organization and sponsor.

      Topping the awards ceremony, for Wasilewski, was the unveiling of her winning PHI chair design as fabricated by Bielecky Brothers Inc. of New York. In accordance with the competition rules, the top scorer was eligible to have their design executed by the 2010 BEST: Made in America award winner Bielecky Brothers of New York.

      The chair and the three first-place entries are on display now through August at “The All American Room” showcase at the Washington Design Center. The trio competed with peers from two- and four-year public and private universities in the competition. Cataldi created an elegant Hyannis Rocking Chaise and King crafted a space-saving Sky Box table outdoor table and chair series.

      Referring to the AACC submittals, MADE: in America chairman and CEO James DeLorbe commented, “The students’ designs are simply incredible.”

      The three winners and five AACC classmates were enrolled in the college’s “Interior Construction Detailing” class taught by Dimi Tangires of Easton, an instructor in the AACC Department of Architecture and Interior Design. A member of IDEC and an American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Allied Educator, Tangires serves as senior faculty adviser for the program and its student ASID chapter.

      Having established AACC’s interior design program based on real-life learning, Tangires is credited with winning and helping the students and the program win more than 30 state and regional awards and an unprecedented seven national awards in eight years.

      “I am so proud of my students and so proud to work for Anne Arundel Community College,” Tangires said. After attending the competition’s orientation session in February, she and her students agreed to take on the challenge of the design contest, implementing it into the curriculum despite the expanded workload for a 15-week course.

      “Professor Tangires did a remarkable job in integrating her coursework with the competition and her professionalism and academic course of study are second to none!” DeLorbe said. “Seasoned designers, industry executives and Merchandise Mart Properties officials all have expressed their praise for her program and her students, which focused a major spotlight on AACC.”

      In addition to the July 4 festivities, Wasilewski got to travel to the Bielecky Brothers’ New York factory to see her chair design come to life. The prototype of the chair, which could be sold worldwide, epitomizes Wasilewski’s design philosophy: good design + craftsmanship = happiness.

      “This is a historic moment in her career,” Tangires said. “Few interior design students have the honor of working with a prestigious manufacturer and seeing their own design become reality.”

      The five AACC classmates who saw their competition design entries on display at the event are Taylor E. Beck of Davidsonville, Kershell L. Ford of Arnold, Ana Laura Gonzalez of Laurel, Rose M. Hilgartner of Monkton and Tracy A. McGuinness of Annapolis.

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