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Westphal Students Recognized in 2021 PMA Collab Student Design Competition

A person reclines on an organic-looking seating system composed of black nodules and tufts of blue fur

November 22, 2021

What does the next generation imagine for the future of design? Every year, university-level design students respond to a unique challenge that affects daily life as part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) Collab Student Design Competition. The best designs are showcased by the museum. The 2021 competition was held online, providing a unique opportunity for students to receive valuable feedback from nationally recognized industry leaders.

The inspiration for the competition this year was the work of celebrated designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, recipients of the 2021 Collab Design Excellence Award. Their work is the focus of the exhibition Circus: Bouroullec Designs, on view at the museum through May 30, 2022. The challenge for this year’s competition was to design a piece of furniture or an installation through the repetition of a single element.

Screenwriting & Playwriting senior Chloe Tolderlund won 2nd place for her entry of a seating system made of repeating elements, titled Groei.

Groei, which takes its name from the Danish word for “growth,” delighted the judges, who praised Tolderlund’s creativity, personality, and provocative aesthetic. 

Judge Ghislaine Viñas (Ghislaine Viñas LLC) said “You’ve designed something extreme. Some people are going to love it; some are going to say, ‘what is this?’ But that’s what design is all about.” Viñas also felt the design aligned perfectly with the competition brief, loved the use of materials, storytelling, and personality that was evident in the work and submitted competition materials.

During her acceptance, Chloe commented, “I hope everyone thinks it’s as gross as it is delightful.”

Along with Tolderlund, two Product Design students—Elliot Swigert ('23) and Brianna Swallow ('23)—were selected as finalists and received positive acclaim and informative feedback from Judges Melissa Shelton, (US President - Vitra) and Norman Teague (Norman Teague Design Studio).

Congratulations to Chloe, Elliot, and Brianna for their recognition and accomplishments among this talented group of emerging designers!