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August 25, 2015

Grad wins bronze award in international design competition

Grad wins bronze award in international design competition

Geemay Chia adds IDEA award to her list of honors

Geemay Chia ’15 is making headlines again. This summer the recent Industrial Design graduate was recognized as a bronze winner in the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)’s 2015 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) competition for her already award-winning Clean Mate, a hybrid walker, seat, and caddy for cleaning products.

Chia’s product – designed to make it easier for people with limited physical capabilities to perform housework – was judged amongst 1,700 entries submitted by design students from the United States and almost three dozen other countries in the thirty-fifth annual IDEA contest.

The IDEA Jury, led by Chair Matthew Marzynski of IDSA, met in June at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan to judge the 621 IDEA finalists. “When we look at a design, we’re not just looking at what’s trendy or fashionable at the moment. We have the context of that history of that long line of designers that came before us…. That collective knowledge exists within IDSA is kind of like a living treasure,” Marzynski said.

“Getting recognition through IDSA for my work is a huge honor,” Chia said. “It is already a great privilege to be able to have my work judged by the leading experts in design, but finding out that both of my entries that I entered made it to the finalist round and that Clean Mate won bronze was just amazing.”

In addition to Clean Mate, Chia entered a furniture piece she designed for MOCA Cleveland in fulfillment of a class assignment. Titled Impression, the piece was a seat made from geometric pillars of foam and designed to be as visually compelling as the museum’s new building in Cleveland’s Uptown neighborhood.

In March, Chia took second place for Clean Mate in the International Housewares Association’s Student Design Competition, competing against 245 entries by students from 34 colleges. She traveled to Chicago to present her design at the 2015 International Home + Housewares Show. Upon her return, she was interviewed by news anchor Russ Mitchell on Cleveland's NBC affiliate station WKYC.

In April she was named one of the top five student designers in the U.S. by IDSA, which granted her its Student Merit Award for her body of work. The Student Merit Award selection process began at the college level in January, when faculty members chose their top talent to be college-wide Student Merit Award winners. All college winners advanced to their respective IDSA district design conference where they competed for the district title. Chia was chosen as the top student in the IDSA Central District.

She beat semifinalists from Carnegie Mellon University, The Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, Columbus College of Art and Design, College for Creative Studies and other large and prestigious programs in the IDSA’s Central District. Chia was the fifth CIA student in the last decade to receive the Student Merit Award.

“For a starting designer, having my work recognized starts to make all the difference between student work, and work that is more professional,” said Chia.

Associate Professor Dan Cuffaro, chair of the Industrial Design Department, added, “Geemay excels in every part of the process, from gaining insight and developing concepts, to refining and implementing a final product. She has worked hard over the past four years and has developed her own approach, which results in strong and innovative work.”

View the IDEA winners here.

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