Bright Design Challenge Winners Announced

The National Association for Surface Finishing California Chapters, in conjunction with the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, has just completed the 6th annual Bright Design Challenge. This year’s competition introduced students to the impact of decorative finishes in our everyday lives and challenged design students to create unique, one-of-a-kind consumer items utilizing an element of surface finishing.


The winning projects focused on innovative products such as interactive sculpture lighting fixtures, decorative metal briefcases, environmentally efficient pavers, kitchen utensil collections, and flatware.
The final five designs were then chosen by a select panel of industry leaders that included:

  • Wesley Turnbow, MFASC Board President
  • Ray Lucas, MFANC Board President
  • Jean Marie Saidler, NASF Director of Communications
  • Wendy Adest, Instructor, Art Center College of Design
  • Valerie Mitchell, Professional Jewelry Designer

Program participants represented not only the U.S., but several countries, including Canada, Japan, and Taiwan. Of the 16 participants, five students were awarded scholarships. These included:


Bernard Mitchell, a transfer student from San Francisco, was this year’s recipient of the first place $5,000 tuition scholarship award. Mr. Mitchell was inspired by the metal explorations lessons that took place early on in the course. His passion is environmentally responsible design, which he clearly demonstrated in his project representing eco-friendly decorative pavers.


When asked how he views his future, Mitchell stated, “My long term goals are to continue to design with sustainability as a focus … I want to thank everyone for their support and value all the advice and direction I received throughout the design process.”


Second through fifth place scholarship awards were granted to:

  • Krista Humphrey
  • Hiroshi Sakura
  • ChenFu Hsieh
  • Kira Song

All the participants presented a similar curiosity about the uses of various forms of surface technology and a desire to create something new and beautiful. Additionally, all the students said they plan to continue learning and to pursue careers in which they will use the knowledge and hands on experience they acquired during the Bright Design Challenge.
This is not unusual for Bright Design Challenge students. The vast majority of past scholarship winners have developed successful careers in the surface finishing industry and are true assets to their chosen professions.


The NASF Bright Design Challenge takes place each Fall in California, and again in the Spring, with the College of Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan. Both sessions invite students from around the country to think beyond traditional design theory and bring out their very best creative spirit in developing “next generation” engineering and design solutions.


Students work within strict, realistic guidelines and focus on specifics such as utility, design, marketability and serviceability. Time management skills play a strong role in this intense competition due to the tight project deadlines in the six week competition.


The 2016 Spring Session of the Bright Design Challenge will begin in January with the College of Creative Studies in Detroit, with more announcements on new developments in the Detroit program coming in the new year.
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