Calhoun, Ga. -- Durkan, the hospitality flooring brand of Mohawk Group, is now accepting artwork submissions for the dscvr Student Design Competition, its annual hospitality design contest. Sponsored each year by Durkan and NEWH, the dscvr program exhibits the talent of designers in the hospitality field and contributes toward the education of future designers within the industry.

“The dscvr competition is a wonderful collaboration with NEWH where we get to discover and mentor the next generation of hospitality design talent,” said Elizabeth Bonner, creative design director for Durkan. “Through this program, we hope to show students the breadth of opportunities available, especially as they relate to flooring design and space planning.”

dscvr is open to college and university students who are members of NEWH, which offers free student membership. College faculty within interior design programs are encouraged to implement the competition as part of their curriculum.

“dscvr keeps the industry moving with a fresh, young twist on design. It also makes students think about the continuity of flooring design throughout a project,” said Shelia Lohmiller, executive director of NEWH. “The Durkan and NEWH partnership is key because it molds together what students need most: opportunity, networking, experience and funds for college.”

Brianne Brooks, Utah State University senior and 2018 grand prize winner, had never considered flooring design as a career path before the dscvr competition.

“Being a part of this contest, membership in NEWH and then getting to go to HD Expo and meet different designers while adding to my portfolio will help me make important connections as I start my career,” she said. “dscvr really helped me see something that I am good at. In some of my projects this year, I have been able to incorporate some of my own original carpeting and wallcovering designs. I encourage everyone to participate because the competition provides great opportunities and really helps you to see your worth as a young designer.”

Brooks’ winning concept, “Cosmos,” was inspired by space exploration and the drama of the contrast between bright colorful nebulae and the dark void of the universe. After winning the competition, Brooks was able to use her scholarship money to help with textbooks, other tuition expenses and LEED Green Associate certification while taking part in an unpaid internship last summer. She will graduate in May 2019 with a degree in interior design and is now considering a career in hospitality design.

In the decade since its inception, dscvr has generated several success stories. Meg Turner, the contest’s grand prize winner in 2017, now works for Durkan as a field designer. Her first hospitality carpet collection, Symbiotic, will launch later this month.

For the competition, student designers will submit concepts for flooring in standard ballroom and pre-function settings that are created as separate components but coordinate with one another, with the number of colors not to exceed 12. Entrants are encouraged to view the floor spaces as blank canvases that become one large design. Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of Durkan associates and be judged based on concept, presentation and market feasibility.

“It’s always interesting to see how the design trends that make their way into colleges and universities correlate with what we are seeing in the professional field,” said Bonner. “We receive entries from students at all levels of graphic design. We’re looking for designers who can utilize their tools in the best way possible at the level they find themselves—it really doesn’t have to be complex to be a viable entry.”

The talents behind the top two submissions for 2019 will be awarded trips to Las Vegas to attend HD Expo, May 15–17, 2019, where one grand prize winner will be announced during the show. First place will receive a $2,500 NEWH scholarship from Durkan. The second-place winner will also be recognized with an award and $1,000. Designs from the top three finalists will be on display in the Durkan booth at the hospitality design trade show. Durkan will promote and catalog all winning designs.

Entries for dscvr may be submitted through Friday, March 15, 2019. All entrants must begin their submission by using the form available online. Only one entry per person is allowed, and entries cannot be returned. Additionally, professional carpet designers, including freelance designers commissioned by a carpet manufacturer or a staff designer for a carpet manufacturer, are not eligible.

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