Over 100 students at Virginia Tech (VT) in Blacksburg, Virginia USA, have once again demonstrated their creativity. The competition, launched by Naef for the 6th time, came to a close in April with the awarding of prizes to the three best entries. The students from the Faculty of Architecture and Design were given the task of designing a play object, or toy – primarily made of wood – and producing a prototype. The professors of VT made a pre-selection, so that finally 20 works were presented in an online conference. The young designers each presented their work in a two-minute pitch. The Naef team jointly evaluated the works and drew up a ranking list. The votes of the Virginia Tech faculty were also taken into account before the top three were chosen. The jury was most impressed by the objects created by John Freeland, Tommy Rowlings and Jenny Huang. Congratulations! The three students received a cash prize and a chance to have their product made by Naef. So far, two games, Sphaera and Circino, have made it into production this way and continue to be very popular.
The collaboration with Virginia Tech has been in place since 2008, and we reported on how it came about in a 2017 news article. The competitive project is much appreciated by both parties. At VT, hands-on work is a high priority. Students in the Faculty of Architecture and Design can put what they have learned into practice in spacious workshops and tinker with their own ideas. The competition offers a concrete goal, namely to produce a game of good quality, with as many functions as possible. This is both challenging and motivating for participants.
We at Naef are happy about the diversity of the products. It teaches us to be open to new ideas and to look at the works with an open mind.
We thank the organizers, especially Christopher Pritchett, and the students from Virginia Tech for their excellent commitment.