Appalachian student wins prestigious furniture industry award

Appalachian State University senior Ryan Decker, an industrial design major from Hendersonville, has won a Pinnacle Award, the furniture design industry's most prestigious honor.

The Pinnacle Awards are given by the International Society of Furniture Designers and presented in 18 home furnishings categories during the industry's annual fall trade show in High Point, N.C. Decker's “Warden of Wallop Park” cabinet earned top honors in the “student” category. He led a strong field of finalists that included Appalachian senior John Lalevee of Raleigh, also an industrial design major. This year's award winners were announced Oct. 15. Also honored was Appalachian alum Wilson Keel 15’, who currently leads engineering and design at Charleston Forge.

Decker's award gives the university back-to-back winners in the student category. Walter Mingledorff ‘18 took top honors in 2017.

Decker said the inspiration for his winning cabinet came from the classic forms of bargueno desks of the Spanish Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries.

“They are small, portable chests of drawers, some with religious iconography painted on the drawer faces,” he said. 

Decker, who received a Celia Moh Scholarship for the 2018-19 academic year, chose to study applied design at Appalachian because he felt it was an exciting balance between creativity and problem-solving while still being a good application for his passion for 3D modeling.

“This has evolved into a platform to create functional art, to see my digital designs come to life and learn materials and processes that will be helpful well outside of the program,” he said.

Winning a Pinnacle Award and spending time at the High Point Market has given Decker confidence in any career he pursues in the furniture industry.“It is a very comforting validation that I can create work for myself and my tastes and others will still enjoy it,” he said. “It makes me want to push myself and my work further and continue pursuing what I truly love, regardless of what is currently trendy, marketable or desired.”

by Caroline Lubinsky

About the Department of Applied Design 

One of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Department Applied Design at Appalachian State University fosters excellence in design education, design research and professional placement. The department balances theoretical and pragmatic approaches while exploring an awareness of impact through design decisions on the global community. Faculty focus on a holistic approach to creative problem-solving by integrating sustainability and ethical responsibility in teaching and practice. The department offers bachelor’s degrees in apparel design and merchandising, industrial design and interior design. 

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.

Decker's cabinet, “Warden of Wallop Park,” received top honors in the Pinnacle Awards, presented annually by the International Society of Furniture Designers. Photo courtesy of the International Society of Furniture Designers.
Published: Oct 26, 2018 1:17pm