Waterloo University students win an honourable mention at the Formica 2020 Student Innovation Competition

Science - Formica 2020 Graphic by Candice Cheng

Canadian students take the lead at the Formica 2020 Student Innovation Competition, among the highest ever recorded number of participants across North America.

Johanne Levesque, Marketing Director at Formica Canada, was “particularly delighted that students from our country distinguished themselves this year to obtain the two first places and an honourable mention.”

UW students, Matthew Lam and Benjamin Ma, were among those selected for honourable mention at the competition for their joint desk and chair design “Duality.” Their design combined nature and technology, following this year’s theme of “Blurred Lines.”

“Entering competitions really helps us gain experience, and it’s important in the design field to get our names out there,” Ma, a second-year student at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, said.

Concerning the importance of being recognized in the design field, fellow architecture student Lam shared that “being more involved in the design community outside of school is something I am always looking to do.”

Moving forward, Ma described the duo’s hope to “explore different avenues of design – not just the architecture.”

A record number of 150 submissions from over 40 universities, colleges and cégeps were considered for the top prize of $2000 and an exhibit at NeoCon 2021 in Chicago.

Among the panel of judges for the competition were celebrity interior designers and television personalities – Vern Yip and Leanne Ford.

The winning design was the “Origami” desk by Alexandra Clément, an interior design student at Cégep de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec.

Renee Hytry Derrington, international design lead at Formica Group and co-judge, complimented Clément’s design, stating that it “beautifully showcases the intersection of nature and technology through its use of nature-inspired patterns and functional features.” 

Clément is the first Canadian to take home the winning prize at the Formica competition, and her design will be showcased at NeoCon 2021 from June 14, 2021, to June 16, 2021, at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago.

Jacob Ethier from the Université du Québec à Montréal took home the second-place prize of $1000 for his “Post Industrial Bookshelf” design. The third-place prize was awarded to Jessica Reid from Oxford, New Jersey for her design titled “G Table.”

The Formica Student Innovation Competition is held annually by Formica Canada Inc. and is open to all architecture and design students. The theme for the Formica 2021 Student Innovation Competition will be “Design for the Next Generation” and applications are open until March 12, 2021.