KCAD Alumni Shine on Furniture Industry's Biggest Stage

Posted October 25, 2023 in Product Design, Alumni

Eight graduates of Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) have emerged as winners in the 2023 International Society of Furniture Designers Pinnacle Awards, recognized since 1995 as the highest honor for designers in the home furnishings industry.  

At a gala held during the fall High Point Market in High Point, N.C., the largest home furnishing industry trade show in the world, 21 total awards were presented to independent designers and in-house design teams.   

This year’s KCAD-connected winners continue the college’s longstanding track record of alumni success in the awards—and legacy of leadership in the furniture design industry. Eight of the 15 members of the ISFD Board of Directors are KCAD alumni, while numerous others hold senior design and leadership positions throughout the industry.   

“We are proud to see our graduates go on to be trendsetters and change agents who are producing some of the industry’s finest work while guiding it into the future,” said KCAD professor Gayle DeBruyn, who chairs the Collaborative Design and Master of Arts in Design programs and teaches furniture design in the Product Design program. “From our roots as the design talent pipeline that helped make Grand Rapids Furniture City, USA to our widespread influence across the global industry that is furniture design today, we have always been a school that teaches students not only to make, but to innovate and lead as well.” 

Alumna Annina Fremgen ('19, BFA Furniture Design), lead designer for Caracole Home, was the evening’s biggest winner with two solo awards and one team award to her credit. Fremgen took top honors in the Bedroom–Luxury category for the Caracole Classic Bedroom collection and repeated the feat in the Dinning-Luxury category with the Caracole Classic Formal Dinning collection. 

A bedroom full of brand new furniture
(above): Caracole Classic Bedroom collection designed by KCAD alum Annina Fremgen; (below): Caracole Classic Formal Dinning collection designed by Annina Fremgen (images courtesy of Caracole Home)

a dinning room full of new furniture


Fremgen was also part of the Caracole team including fellow KCAD alumni Christopher Sandomenico ('01, BFA Furniture Design), director of product development for Caracole, and Thor Taber ('08, BFA Furniture Design), an independent designer, that won the coveted Major Collections award for the Caracole Modern Principles Whole Home collection. 

a collage of new furniture place in various spaces within a homeElements of the Caracole Modern Principles Whole Home collection, designed by a team featuring KCAD alumni Annina Fremgen, Christopher Sandomenico and Thor Tabor (image courtesy of Caracole Home)

Doug Rozenboom ('94, BFA Furniture Design) is president of A.R.T. Furniture / Jonathan Charles Fine Furniture. He was part of the A.R.T. team that won the Home Office category with the A.R.T. Furniture Portico Home Office collection.

a bookcase
Bookcase from the A.R.T. Furniture Portico Home Office collection, designed by a team including KCAD alum Doug Rozenboom (image courtesy of A.R.T. Furniture/Jonathan Charles Fine Furniture)


Doug Krieger ('92, BFA Furniture Design), vice president of merchandising and design at Sauder Woodworking, and independent designer Nicole Kujawa ('17, BFA Furniture Design) were part of the Sauder team behind the Sauder Woodworking Coral Cape Coffee Table, winner in the Occasional Tables–Broad Appeal category. 

A coffee table made of glass and golden looking metal
Sauder Woodworking Coral Cape Coffee Table, designed by a team feauring KCAD alumni Doug Kreiger and Nicole Kujawa (image courtesy of Sauder Woodworking)


Laura Niece ('03, BFA Furniture Design), senior designer for Otto & Moore, collaborated with company President Dudley Moore and independent designer Miranda Kerr on the Universal Furniture Miranda Kerr Home Luxury Occasional Tables, which won in the Occasional Tables-Luxury category. 
 

A woman in a sleek floral print dress poses next to an end table
Tables from the Universal Furniture Miranda Kerr Home Luxury Occasional Tables collection, designed by a team featuring KCAD alum Laura Niece (image courtesy of Universal Funiture/Miranda Kerr)


Hayden Westers ('20, BFA Furniture Design), product design and development manager for Jonathan Charles Fine Furniture, was part of the team from the company that created the Jonathan Charles Water Pelagic Cast Metal Bar, winner in the Occasional Storage category. 
 

A white cabinet with metal feet
Jonathan Charles Water Pelagic Cast Metal Bar, designed by a team including KCAD alum Hayden Westers (image courtesy of A.R.T. Furniture/Jonathan Charles Fine Furniture)


KCAD alumni Scott Coley ('92, BFA Furniture Design), Joe Dunaske ('20, BFA Collaborative Design), and Jake Hanson ('23, BFA Furniture Design), were among those nominated for Pinnacle Awards.
Coley is the owner of D. Scott Coley-Designs, while Dunaske, a furniture designer, and Hanson, a product engineer, are both part of the team at L & JG Stickley.  

 
More information on the ISFD Pinnacle Awards can be found at isfd.org.  

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