2020 was a year of doldrums brought on by the global pandemic, but it was also a year where innovative companies like Jamie Stern Design devised ways to escape the doldrums while having fun. Headquartered in New Jersey, company colleagues convened over Zoom in March 2020 to explore ways to combat isolation and ease the stress of quarantine lockdown. The result was the inaugural Jamie Stern Rug Design Contest open to design professionals in the US and Canada. The contest is a ‘creative outlet’, says CEO Jamie Stern, that builds new relationships with clients and colleagues in the A&D (architecture and interior design) communities, but also (and most importantly he says) creates some much needed ‘fun’.
‘The first year of the contest was such a success that we decided to make it an annual event,’ says Stern. ‘Designers seek creativity, but it’s not always possible within the confines of many interior projects. Price, deadlines, and design restrictions can limit the creativity of interior designers executing product design, so this contest provides an outlet to ‘have your cake and eat it too’. What Stern refers to is the way in which they embed designers (not just competition designers, but any designer who wants to design a rug with Jamie Stern Design) start-to-finish in the rug making process. ‘ We put the designer into the factory to create the perfect design with CAD software, no-charge samples and ultimately the production of the rug. On time, on budget. The contest is a means for everyone, but especially early-stage designers, to test our “system” and to get crazy creative.’
A panel of judges (Deborah Lloyd Forrest FASID, Tina Lai, and Deborah Verderame AIA, ASID, LEED AP) will select 3 semifinalists from each region from which four Grand Prize winners will receive a hand-tufted 5′ x 7′ wool rug in their design with the option to include 20% bamboo silk. Their designs are added to the Stern product line with royalties awarded when their designs are commissioned.
Designer and illustrator Lance Trachier—Associate Creative Director of Dallas-based SWOON the Studio—was one of the Grand Prize winners in 2020. ‘The contest was a stellar experience for me that was both creatively challenging and very rewarding. It was such an honour to compete with amazing designers, artists and illustrators, and I felt so fortunate to be one of the winners. It is fascinating and humbling to see my design in production, and to experience the reaction to my design; it was even commissioned as a hand-knotted rug by a European client of Jamie Stern! I hope the new class of creatives generates inspiring and unexpected designs and I can’t wait to shop the new winners’ collection.’
If 2020 was the year of doldrums, Jamie Stern Design wants 2021 to be remembered as a year of joyful creative expression. And lest you need encouragement to enter the contest, Stern would like to remind you that ‘the contest is incredibly fun! Let the games begin!’
The deadline to enter the Jamie Stern Rug Design Contest is at midnight EST on Monday 10 May 2021. Visit https://info.jamiesterndesign.com/rug-design-contest-2021 for more information.