Jul 02 2020

Virtual Design Challenge Finalists and Winners

Michael Drolet

July 2020 – KingsHaven, Taylor King and Woodbridge Furniture announced today the semi-finalists, finalists and grand-prize winner of the partnered design brands’ summer 2020 Virtual Design Challenge. The frontrunners and winner earned their recognized and winning accolades, respectively, after having participated in the challenge’s month-long competition to create virtual designs of luxurious, Parisian-inspired living spaces.

The contest was officially announced April 29, 2020, on Facebook. Co-creators KingsHaven, Taylor King and Woodbridge Furniture conceived the Virtual Design Challenge to inspire and support the design community during social distancing and scaled-back business caused by the COVID-19 virus.

Participating designers were tasked with creating Paris-style living rooms, using their choices of 13 different light fixtures from KingsHaven; upholstery from Taylor King; and dining and occasional furniture from Woodbridge Furniture. There was no budget limit for creating the virtual rooms.

The interior designers were given until June 9, 2020, to submit their virtual layouts using Google Docs or PowerPoint presentations. The style and spatial inspirations for their design submissions were based upon a Paris-influenced interior schematic provided by Diana Parrish Design and Photography. Thirty-three interior designers submitted completed projects for the Virtual Design Challenge.

Interior design industry professionals and enthusiasts voted online to choose the grand-prize winner, Michael Drolet, of Drolet Designs. His design theme showcased a mix of pattern and texture and was inspired by a recent trip to Paris. The winning design featured KingsHaven’s Fleur Chandelier and Montparnasse Hexagon Pendant; Taylor King’s Abby Swivel Chair, Yates Sofa and Vendue Chair; and Woodbridge Furniture’s Madeline Cocktail Table and Vashon Cabinet.

Michael Drolet Virtual Design Challenge Submission
Scene from Michael Drolet's Virtual Design entry
© Michael Drolet

Drolet, as grand-prize winner, will be awarded $750 cash, $750 in product credits from the sponsors, and $750 for a donation to the charity of his choice.

Preceding the voting period to elect the winner, 10 semifinalists were selected by the Virtual Design Challenge’s internal judging panel, comprising one representative from each of the contest’s three sponsor-companies. Five finalists were then selected in a second round of judging by renowned interior designers Lauren Leiss and Tobi Fairley. The grand-prize winner was ultimately determined by industry professionals, fans and followers through online voting. Voting to determine the winner took place during a 24-hour period.

The finalists, not including the grand-prize winner, were Lindsay Wells Suntag, of Lindsay Wells Interiors; Mary E. Sica and Lea Taliercio, of Dwayne Bergmann Interiors; Angie Gardeck, of New Perspective Design; and Erika Pereira, of Ikigai Goa.

The five semi-finalists who did not qualify for the final round included Becky Rose Grinwald, of Becky Rose Design; Kelcey Huff and Tracy Schlegel, of Waterlily Interiors; Anna Kucera of Gracious Living by Design; Kaitlynn Darvid, of KM Designs; and Nicole Forina, of Nicole Forina Home.

The five finalists had their conceptualized designs brought to life through creative watercolor renderings by Danae Designs.

All 10 semi-finalists, including the five finalists and grand-prize winner, were awarded with a private Zoom cocktail and networking party with Leiss and Fairley.

“While all designers’ submissions were highly innovative and showed much effort, the finalists’ and Michael Drolet’s winning design demonstrated exceptionally creative presentations, use of products and well-designed floor plans,” said Lauren Wylonis, founder, chief executive officer and lead designer of KingsHaven.

“The overwhelmingly positive response to the contest solidified our desire to foster creativity and develop relationships during this otherwise distanced time, and many contestants thanked us for providing an opportunity to focus on something fun and stimulating”,” said Cass Key, creative director with Woodbridge Furniture.

“The enthusiastic response and participation from the design community across our country and around the world is inspiring. It's especially comforting to see this collaborative spirit prevail in these challenging times. Congratulations to the finalists and thank you to everyone who participated.,” said Del Starnes, president of Taylor King.