Students design bench for Boston waterway

Friday, March 15, 2013 - 10:18am
Western Today staff

Street Seat Design Competition 2013: Cleat

A team of six Western Washington University students are semi-finalists in the Street Seats Design Challenge, an Industrial Design competition sponsored by Design Museum Boston.

The museum announced the semi-finalists on Feb. 28.

The team from Western included Tianyi Geng (Issaquah), Sarah Burley (Olympia), Tyler Dawson (Friday Harbor), Blake Morton (Bothell), Cale Kaufman (Camano Island) and Colton Sanford (Camano Island).

The Design Museum Boston invited individuals and teams from around the world to design an iconic bench, or “street seat,” which would be installed in South Boston’s Innovation District. The goal of the challenge is to improve the livability of the urban area by using design, while being socially and environmentally conscious.

The team is one of 20 semi-finalists from over 170 entries from 23 different countries. Those who participated sent in designs that are sustainable, outdoor sidewalk furniture with a focus on reuse.

“They worked exceptionally well as a team, handled criticism well, and moved the design proposal forward each week with new iterations and improvements,” said Arunas Oslapas, Western Washington University professor of Industrial Design, and the students’ advisor for the competition. “I am not surprised that they made it this far.”

The team will build a full-size model of their design, called “Cleat,” and send it to Boston using grants from the contest’s sponsors. All semi-finalists will have their work on display around Fort Point Channel in South Boston from April to October 2013. The top design team will receive a $5,000 prize and two runner-ups will receive $2,000 when the three winners are chosen in April. To see pictures of the semi-finalists’ projects and learn more about the competition, go to

"Now, the real work begins as they fabricate a full-scale prototype and deliver it to Boston for the public to test and evaluate. If they do this part well, I have no doubt that they can win the competition and have their design produced and installed along the river front in Boston," said Oslapas.

For more information, contact Arunas Oslapas at