Audrey Kirk, a third-year industrial design student, took third place along with two others at the Student Design Competition sponsored by the International Housewares Association last month. Kirk did a redesign of a traditional corn broom that caught the judges’ eye. As a result, she will receive $1,000 and an all-expense paid trip to the 2014 International Home & Housewares Show in Chicago to present her idea. Outside of her design work, she works as a French tutor for the language department.
Question: Where are you from?
Answer: I am from Owen Sound, a small town in Ontario, Canada.
Q: What brought you to RIT?
A: I came to RIT for the exceptional and well-rounded industrial design program. Since arriving, the program has gotten nationally ranked and has been increasing in popularity.
Q: Why did you decide to study industrial design?
A: I chose to study industrial design because I have always been interested in creating. Industrial design blends artistic creativity with problem solving, research and logic to make new and better products. Almost everything around us has been designed and it thrills me to see my ideas become real objects. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.
Q: What has been one of your favorite memories from your time at RIT?
A: I will always remember my freshman 3D design class with Amos Scully. I met many of my friends in that class. I remember the critiques that took hours just talking about the form of one blob of plaster versus another, but I learned so much from that.
Q: Why did you decide to enter the Student Design Competition?
A: I entered the International Housewares Association Student Design Competition because we were encouraged to do it as part of a class project.
Q: What was the competition like?
A: For the competition, we had to design a housewares-type product by first identifying user wants and needs in the home then ideating solutions through sketching and model making. Once we designed a product, we made a process book that demonstrated it as well as the research and testing behind it. The book is what got entered into the competition where it was judged in rounds by the judging panel.
Q: What was your winning design?
A: My design is called Maize. It is a redesign of the traditional corn broom. It pairs a durable aluminum frame with a replaceable and sustainable natural bristle packet. The design eliminates the hand winding process of corn brooms, making it easier to produce. The handle is shaped for comfort and is able to hang for storage.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about the trip to Chicago?
A: Going to the housewares show in Chicago is a great opportunity for me to meet professionals in the industry. I think it will be a really valuable experience.
Q: What are your plans for after graduation?
A: After graduation I would love to design furniture and other house goods. I value sustainability in all of my designs and would like to work for a company that supports that.