North America’s Largest Woodworking Event | Tuesday – Friday | August 20 – 23, 2024


The Management Committee of the International Woodworking Fair is pleased to announce Design Emphasis 2022, the industry’s most prestigious furniture design competition for college and university students. The competition will take place at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta, Georgia, August 23-26, 2022.

The Design Emphasis Showcase is a “must see” at the International Woodworking Fair. Furniture pieces designed and built by students from colleges and universities throughout the United States are on display at IWF. Over $10,000 in prize money is awarded and presented during a special ceremony on the show floor.

How the Competition Works

In May before the IWF show, students submit slides and a written description of their project to be selected in a pre-judging session. The finalists are invited to attend the Fair and to ship their furniture pieces to the Georgia World Congress Center for a final judging by a panel of industry experts the day before IWF begins. The winners will be announced and prize money presented at 3:30 pm on Tuesday, August 23, 2022 in the Design Emphasis Gallery in Exhibit Hall C.

Design Emphasis Seating Category Winner

2018 Design Emphasis Seating Category Winner

The competition recognizes and rewards advanced level designs in five categories:

  • Seating
  • Case Goods
  • Commercial/Office/Hospitality Furniture
  • Accent Furniture/Accent Tables
  • Design Creativity

A prize is also given for the Best of Show.  Due to the cancellation of the competition in 2020, this year’s competition will include entries from 2020. Check this page in the summer of 2022 to view all of the entries.

Schools Participating in Design Emphasis 2022:

  • Appalachian State University
  • Art Center College of Design
  • Auburn University
  • Bucks County Community College
  • Buffalo State
  • California College of the Arts
  • Columbus College of Art & Design
  • Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
  • Fox Valley Technical College
  • Haywood Community College
  • Hennepin Technical College – Brooklyn
  • Herron School of Art & Design
  • James Madison University
  • Massachusetts College of Art and Design
  • NC State University
  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • Savannah College of Art & Design
  • The Krenov School, Mendocino College
  • University of Hawaii-Manoa
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of New Hampshire
  • Vermont Woodworking School at Northern Vermont University

What the Judges Say about Past Competitions

“The caliber of . . . Design Emphasis entries was, unquestionably, the highest quality overall that I’ve observed over the past decade. These rising furniture designers delivered products developed with a keen awareness of today’s consumer lifestyle in outstanding execution. The attention to detail in the finished samples as well as the presentation boards are superb.”Jaclyn C. Hirschhaut, Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing, American Home Furnishings Alliance Design Emphasis Chair

“. . . Design Emphasis was a real showcase of the talent, fresh ideas and energy of the young people we need to move forward in the wood working industry. The thought, heart and soul they put into their presentations is the kind of work ethic and creativity that bodes well for our future.”Hank Long, Senior Vice President Merchandising and Design, Hooker Furniture Corp.

“Many of these students’ designs would be right at home in high-end showrooms. It’s reassuring to know that the future of furniture is in such capable hands!”Heather J. Paper, Senior Editor at Large, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles

For more information about Design Emphasis, call IWF at 404-693-8333, or email

Show Hours & Location

International Woodworking Fair
Tuesday - Friday
August 20 - 23, 2024

Tuesday - Thursday
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
8:30 AM - 2:00 PM

Georgia World Congress Center
285 Andrew Young International Blvd
Atlanta, GA 30313

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3520 Piedmont Rd NE #350, Atlanta GA 30305 | (404) 693-8333

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