For the second consecutive year, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) was asked to manufacture the Pinnacle Award trophies for the American Society of Furniture Designers’ annual design competition. The wooden, custom-designed trophies are crafted by students in SVHEC’s advanced machining center.

Drawing on its long-standing relationship with the college’s Department of Sustainable Biomaterials, SVHEC asked Professor Robert Bush for help in developing custom packaging for the trophies. Bush advised two of his students — Stephanie Smith and Tyler Matusevich — as they designed and produced a packaging system attractive enough to serve as a presentation box but sturdy enough to withstand the hazards of shipping.

Smith and Matusevich’s design is not only functional but highlights and complements the trophy. Made of corrugated fiberboard, the box’s unbleached exterior surface pairs well with the wooden trophy, while its bright white interior reflects light onto the trophy. A cleverly designed insert holds the trophy in place. Rounding out the design are aspen wood shavings that serve as fill material and a closure of burlap ribbon, reflecting the natural products often used for furniture and the creative nature of furniture design.

“This project is an example of the ongoing and increasing collaboration between the department and SVHEC,” Bush said. “It was a fun and educational opportunity to work together. We look forward to future collaborations.”