Five Years and Counting: Hines Student Tops Bienenstock Furniture Competition

"Siva Afi" chair design garners first-place
recognition for its unique form and feasible design

by Symone Daniels • March 28, 2023

University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design students have struck gold again at the annual Bienenstock Furniture and Interior Design Competition. Industrial design (ID) student Mariana Anzures received first place in this year's furniture design category for her chair Siva Afi. Hosted by the Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library, the major competition highlights Bienenstock's commitment to education and the furniture industry.

Anzures named her project Siva Afi after a traditional fire dance from the Samoan Islands. Her chair design tells a story about the raw beauty of nature through its exploration of form and movement.

"I was deeply inspired by the shapes dancers make with their bodies and the movement of a flame dancing in the wind," shared Anzures.

Hoping to create a seamless transition while maintaining a strong structure, Anzures molded the main piece of the chair from three separate parts. Through prototyping, she discovered how to make all three pieces using the same mold, allowing for more feasible and efficient manufacturing. The experience taught Anzures much about material capabilities, manufacturing processes, and the possibility of design.

Left to right: Anzures producing the chair prototype

Anzures is honored to join the ranks of Hines College industrial design students to have achieved success in the annual Bienenstock Furniture and Interior Design Competition before her. 2023 is the fifth year UH students have ranked at the competition's top.

"We are one of the few industrial design programs requiring students to build their designs," explained Anzures. "I am always impressed by the work UH students produce for this competition every year."

Anzures believes that the ID program has pushed her and many other talented students to accomplish extraordinary work, making her proud to contribute to the program's legacy. She credits her studio professors, Min Kang and Jeff Feng, for their mentorship during the project and impressing upon her the importance of telling a story through her final submission.

Top to Bottom: Movement and shapes created by dancers inspired the chair; renderings of the design

Feng is proud of Anzures and other students' inspiring achievements and their driven spirit of pursuing excellence in design. He understands the accomplishments made by the students are a testament to their experience in the program.

"The continuous success in the Bienenstock Furniture Design Competition demonstrates the program's national competitiveness and the creative potential residing in every student," said Feng. "It manifests a unique and effective innovation framework forged in this design studio."

In September 2023, Anzures will travel to New York for the Bienenstock Future Designers Summit. She looks forward to visiting other creatives and learning from industry professionals across the country.


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