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The interior design Competition Studio at Harrington College of Design began this year with a challenging problem of large interior proportions: how to design a 14,000 square feet residence penthouse for the Trump tower in Chicago. The competition quickly began to create a buzz in the corridors of the school as teams of students and individual competitors tackled the problem and submitted their designs on Monday November 28th. Since 2002, the Harrington Studio under the direction of Constantine D. Vasilios AIA, NCARB, IIDA, NCIDQ has tackled real problems throughout the Chicago that range from band headquarters at the Metro, to housing developments and this year’s Trump tower competition.

The sponsor for the competition this year is award-winning designer John Robert Wiltgen, a 30-year veteran of the design industry who currently practices in the US and internationally. Mr. Wiltgen leads a highly acclaimed design team that has created extraordinary homes for clients in locales ranging from Chicago’s Magnificent Mile to LA’s fashionable Wilshire Drive as well as Acapulco, Toronto, the south of France and Africa’s Ivory Coast. Wiltgen embraced the idea of offering the Trump Tower penthouse project to Harrington College’s Competition Studio because it is an unprecedented, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work in an absolutely surreal space. While the level of living in the Trump penthouse space is beyond the realm of many, it is for some a very real world. This project created an opportunity for design students to see and work in that other world.

Wiltgen chose to sponsor this year’s competition class because he is a staunch advocate of education and believes that exposure to this type of experience is critical for those interested and involved in interior design. Also involved in the student competition is Sara Martens, Executive Director of the Trump Organization, who will be serving as the client. Together they visited the site and the classroom to provide students the reality necessary for the project.

This is the second project Wiltgen has offered Harrington’s Competition Studio, having previously presented an opportunity to design a penthouse at Emerald, a West Loop condominium where a green lifestyle is encouraged. Winners of the competition will be announced soon on December 13th at the Trump Tower, followed by their respective cash prizes being awarded, interviews and publication opportunities for all of those involved.

Photo courtesy SolarWind

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