DWR 16th Cork Chair Contest Winners (and 24 Great Submissions)

dwr 16th cork chair contest

For the past 16 years, high-end furniture store Design Within Reach has held an annual cork chair contest. To enter one has to create a miniature chair using only the foil, label, cage and cork from no more than two champagne bottles. This year’s DWR 16th Cork Chair Contest Winners have just been announced and here they are are along with 24 terrific submissions that caught our eye!

DWR 16th Cork Chair Contest Winners

DWR Cork Chair Contest Winners

The deadline for submissions was January 5th and prizes were awarded in four categories: Most Original, Best Likeness, the Tiny Bubbles Prize and the Pommery Prize. If a chair resembled a design that already exists, it was automatically be placed in the Best Likeness category.


cork chair contest winners 2019

The judges for this year’s DWR Champagne Chair Contest were DWR Founder Rob Forbes, designer Lucia DeRespinis and the founders of Egg Collective, Stephanie Beamer, Crystal Ellis and Hillary Petrie.

All three winners this year had never entered the contest prior.

First Place winner, the Crescent Chair by Bruce Hirschman:
The judges were drawn to the simplicity of Bruce’s chair and its beautiful shape. “I’ve never seen a chair like this,” Forbes said. “It’s so friendly, like a koala bear.” Petrie of Egg Collective praised the chair for its high level of craftsmanship, and DeRespinis noted that the chair “is as much about subtraction as it is about addition.”

First Place winner, the Crescent Chair by Bruce Hirschman
First Place Winner, Crescent Chair by Bruce Hirschman

Hirschman kept his design to one material but employed many tools, including a jeweler’s saw, X-Acto knife, drill press, grinding burrs and belt sander. Figuring out how to shape cork was his biggest challenge. “It’s not the easiest of materials,” he said. “My process was the traditional sculpture method: just remove everything that is not the sculpture.”

Second place winner, the Bubbly Chair by Zach Martin:
The wavy elements of Martin’s chair earned it the nickname “Memphis” amongst the judges, who compared it to the work of the Memphis Group. There was some debate over whether the chair would be comfortable to sit in, but designer DeRespinis said she’d like to have a set of them for her dining room.

Second place winner, the Bubbly Chair by Zach Martin
Second Place Winner, Bubbly Chair by Zach Martin

Zach used cutters, a little saw and super glue to make his chair, the greatest challenge breing getting the legs and back to look straight while also being wavy.

Third place winner, the Piper Beach Chair by Jeffrey Burke Whitten:
The judges praised Whitten’s chair for its geometry, wit and use of graphics. “Having grown up on the beach, I’m a fan of folding chairs,” Forbes said, “and my only complaint about this chair is that I wish it folded.”

Third Place Winner, Piper Beach Chair by Jeffrey Burke Whitten
Third Place Winner, Piper Beach Chair by Jeffrey Burke Whitten

Whitten’s tools were a needle-nose pliers and scissors, and the inspiration for his comfortable-looking chair was the thought of sipping champagne at a beach resort in the South of France.


Submissions by Alvaro Lucena, Rebecca Bartlett, Tony Parker and Mary Chimenti:
DWR cork chair contest winners

Submissions by Nicholas Baker,  Gregory Elkin, Heather Rose and JINA

tiny chairs made from corks

Submissions by Lindsey Dorn, Rob Metzgar, Lindsay Wilkinson and Michelle Ford
DWR 16th cork chair contest submissions

Submissions by Angelo Manzano, Shannon DeCock, Emily Cring and Caralea 
cork chair contest

Submissions by Jonathan Marcus, Liane Fuji, Gil Segal and Alison Brummer.
chairs made with champagne corks

Submissions by Victor Quý Uy Viễn, Brie Dumont, Christian LaVigna and Jared.
handmade miniature chairs

For those who want the contest particulars:

MOST ORIGINAL: This is your chance to impress us by creating a chair unlike anything we’ve ever seen. That might mean it’s crazy cool or shockingly simple, but either way it has to be authored by you, not borrowed from another designer from the past or present. Note: We get a toilet chair every year, and it never wins – think outside the outhouse.

BEST LIKENESS: Celebrate your passion for a chair that already exists in the real world by creating your own miniature version. Whether it’s an Eames Lounge Chair or an Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair or some other fabulous classic, dazzle us by creating the best likeness of the chair you love.There were tons of great submissions this year

Most Original:
1st place: $1,000 DWR Gift Card
2nd place: $750 DWR Gift Card
3rd place: $500 DWR Gift Card

Best Likeness:
Grand Prize: $1,000 DWR Gift Card

Tiny Bubbles Prize:
$250 DWR Gift Card
Winner will be randomly selected from all entries

The Pommery Prize:
Our Official Champagne Partner will award a jeroboam of Champagne Pommery Brut Royal to its favorite chair made using any or all of the materials (except glass) from no more than two (2) Pommery brand champagne bottles.

all images and information courtesy of Design Within Reach