The entries for 2022's Design Within Reach Champagne Chair Contest are in, and they're as impressive as ever. In this annual competition, aspiring designers turn champagne corks into tiny chairs. Many of these prototypes features such skillful construction that it can be a bit shocking to see a nearby cork or quarter for scale.
A peek through the #dwrchampagnechair hashtag on Instagram reveals a consistently stunning attention to detail. In some of our favorite examples, designers provide a behind the scenes peek at their process. Some posts include videos of their full construction, while others show off the materials they used. While some designers just use the cork, others incorporate the wire and foil in their tiny chairs as well.
Judges will award prizes based on the designs' originality and resemblance to existing chairs by Design Within Reach. The four winners will receive gift cards ranging from $750 to 1,000. While only a few will win, each valid entry contributes to a good cause. Herman Miller Cares has donated $50 for every submission to Office Hours, an organization supporting BIPOC designers.
Design Within Reach will announce this year's winners on January 27th. In the meantime, check out the Instagram slideshows for our selection of entries below:
Designer Hyungjin Yoo's entry includes a fun time-lapsed process video on the second slide demonstrating how they carved out the cantilevered creation.
Industrial designer Amanda Huynh decided to tackle recreating designer Doshi Levien's Uchiwa Lounge Chair using a clever steaming technique. Hunyh writes in her Instagram post that she "steamed and pulsed the corks in my blender before adding the cork upholstery to the champagne foil shell. Parts are held together with pins I made from the champagne cage."
Entrants of the champagne cork competition mustn't forget the foil casing can come in handy too! Contra Design Studio uses the material for their entry to create wicking for their recreation of Pierre Jeanneret's Capitol Complex Chair.
Perhaps one of our favorites, designer Irina V. Wang has come up with a very clever technique to create this dowel effect on this chair submission—check out slide three and you'll notice the use of a hole punch on the champagne cork's cross-section, allowing Wang to glue together the pellets in a cylindrical fashion.
From what we've seen of entrants, it appears this is going to be a tough decision for the judges! We look forward to seeing who will be taking home the glory come January 27th.