California State University, Long Beach
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Design Majors Team Up, Selected as Finalists in 2011-12 PAVE the Way 3D Challenge

Published: September 29, 2011

A two-student team of Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) design majors—Ayako Otani and Kelvin Harly—is among 12 finalists in the 2011-12 Planning and Visual Education Partnership’s PAVE the Way 3D Challenge.

Otani and Harly will be in Las Vegas this week at the GlobalShop 2012 trade show, where the finalists entries will be on display. The top three winners will be announced, and the awards will be presented at the A.R.E. Design Awards ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 29. The first-place winners will receive a $5,000 cash prize, second place $2,500, third place $1,500, and honorable-mention selections will receive $500.

The PAVE the Way 3D Challenge gives students an opportunity to showcase their work internationally at a major industry event. College students enrolled in accredited store design, interior design, visual merchandising, and industrial design programs are invited to enter the contest.

In all, PAVE received 190 entries from 10 countries for this year’s event, but only 12 finalists were selected to move on to the next phase of the contest. The CSULB tandem will be competing for the top awards against design teams from such institutions as Miami University, Finland’s Kymenlaakso University of Applied Sciences, the Seoul National University of Science and Technology, Georgia’s Savannah College of Art and Design and New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology.

“This was the very first competition that I’ve ever participated in, so to actually get selected as a finalist was very exciting,” said Ayako Otani, who was born and raised in Japan before coming to the United States in 2006. It’s amazing when something that you’ve worked very hard for gets recognized, and I’m very appreciative for that.”

Harly, also a first-timer when it comes to the Pave the Way competition, felt the same way. “I didn’t even think I would place in such a competition, especially knowing that it was the first design competition I’ve ever applied to,” said Harly, who originally came from Jakarta, Indonesia, and moved to Fullerton when he was 10. “So when I received the email from PAVE, I had to double check my eyes that I was reading it correctly. Now that I know it’s a reality, my teammate Ayako and I are really proud of ourselves and just happy to be chosen and excited to see the result.”

This year’s PAVE the Way 3D Challenge called for students to design, develop, and construct a branded store fixture that was no larger than a 36-inch by 36-inch square footprint and 84 inches high. The fixture had to be able to morph from a compact protected unit when stored into a fully functional makeover station when in use.

Additionally, the makeover station had to feature a specific existing brand of cosmetics, and it had to communicate that chosen brand. Designers were able to choose any brand of cosmetics found in department stores or branded retail stores.

Once the finalists were chosen, they worked with B+N Industries—a designer and manufacturer of products for the retail, architectural and consumer industries—to create a prototype of their design for display at GlobalShop 2012, where they will be on exhibit for judging.

“One of the strengths of this department is the opportunity we offer students to build what they create. In this case, our students had the chance to oversee someone building their creation,” noted Wesley Woelfel, CSULB design instructor who ran the competition in his DESN 356 course—Advanced 3D Computer Aided Design. “This real-world quality reflects the pragmatic approach of the Design Department. The best way to express that approach is to have the students actually create what they come up with. By seeing it built, these students can come up with new ideas about how it can be made.”

Otani and Harly chose Shu Uemura, an international cosmetic brand from Japan, as the brand for its make-up station fixture. While researching the brand, they discovered that Shu Uemura products pay close attention to the materials and formula used, but what was more unique to the students was how the brand embraces art and employs it in their products.

“One product that caught our attention, and ultimately made our design, was their lipstick and its packaging,” Otani pointed out. “Shu Uemura’s lipstick is encased in a transparent container, which we interpreted as showing off what is most important to the product—the lipstick, celebrating what is inside by having a clear container. So, we wanted our makeover station to not only be a work station for the artist but to be a showcase that celebrates Shu Uemura cosmetics.”

According to Harly, research was a key to the team’s success as well as the choice of a partner for the project. “Starting a project like this is more than just creativity. It comes with a lot of research and surveys. (So,) we examined Shu Uemura’s current products, current store look, as well as its mission statement,” he explained. “I also chose my good friend Ayako (as a partner). Having a female teammate for this project I felt was a good choice, since she filled me in on how things work around the makeup process.

“After long hours and lots of suggestions from our classmates and teacher, we turned in the project as a presentation. Then we chose and picked our favorites and kept improving our idea,” he added. “We were pretty good at bouncing our ideas back and forth, but there some frustrating moments.”

Harly felt the project was selected as a finalist because of its style of presentation. The teammates also thought their unique design, which blends in with the look of existing stores, made sense. The judges, he said, in commenting on their design stated: “Very interesting design, nice presentation, rendering and concept.”

Woelfel believes Otani and Harly represent what’s best in CSULB’s design majors. “They are gifted, hard-working and always want to take a chance and push the limits of design. This particular project is one of the more unusual-looking designs. I think it works well,” he said. “Their recognition in this competition allows them to add one more line to their resumes that their competitors won’t have. Designers from all over the world will show up at this convention.”

Both Otani and Harly expressed their thanks to Woelfel and their classmates. “Professor Woelfel was a great help during this project,” Harly said. “He liked our idea and helped us to justify many things we had designed. He suggested many different options during each week for a progress check before we had to turn it in. Not only did Professor Woelfel help us, the class also gave us suggestions on what we could improve before we sent it to PAVE.”