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Industrial design students conceive a winning workstation


BLACKSBURG, Va., Jan. 29, 2009 – As a first-year graduate student and a third-year undergraduate student in industrial design, Joseph Kauffman and Phillip Padilla designed a workstation that won third place in The Design Institution's International Designer's Workstation Competition 2008.

Their creation, which they developed under Mitzi Vernon, associate professor of industrial design in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, was the only U.S. submission to place in the competition.

Padilla, of Shelton, Conn., and Kauffman, of Forest Hill, Ky., now second-year graduate and fourth-year undergraduate students, respectively, named their workstation Digital Docker.

The workstation provides industrial design students with the necessary tools and technology to shift between hand and digital media. The design includes a large-format Cintiq™ tablet, which is shared by a team of two designers to produce digital sketches and edit hand sketches. It is easily transported and displayed via a glass cylinder and caster wheels. A locking storage core slides freely left or right along a track beneath the desk, allowing the designer to sit anywhere. The workstation would be manufactured using powder-coated carbon steel, which is corrosion resistant, strong, and easy to fabricate and recycle.

The competition was focused on designing the ideal workstation for the designer of this new century, and was juried by a panel from Italy, Spain, France, and Germany. From the onset of design as a discipline, designers (interior, graphic, textile, architectural, industrial, and others) hammered out their projects using a work table, a drawing table, or a desk. In the 21st century, the computer is the main tool for sketching design. The emerging needs of today’s designers -- together with the global, cultural, and technological changes -- demand a new up-to-date workstation.

Padilla and Kauffman’s design was also exhibited at The Oporto Show in Portugal in June. The Oporto Show is an international manifest of design, interiors, and architecture for furniture, lighting, and fabrics.