Desiree, NBC5 Street Team
Thursday night, three lucky designers and finalists of Basil Hayden’s Tastemakers Design Chicago showcased their work at Crimson Lounge. Sponsored by Basil Hayden Bourbon, Out Magazine, Chicago Home and Garden Magazine, and celebrity designer Nate Berkus, emerging designers were asked to design an item from four categories: fashion, furniture, artwork and interior design. However, the competition stipulated that designers’ pieces reflect the inspiration of Basil Hayden bourbon.
The three finalists were Brian Lump – coffee table, Rion Stassi – chandelier, and Sarah Tranum – chair. While Lump and Stassi’s unique designs assumed the bourbon’s bold color and sophistication, Tranum’s chair resembled its smooth and warm taste, with sleek lines and round, rocking edges. Stassi’s design, however reminded me of a lamp I’d hang at the ranch as its eight dark wooden arms curved in the formation of antlers. And Lump’s coffee table, while chic and simple, reminded me of an item sitting at an old boyfriend’s studio—again, dark wood, but it’s body the shape of a surfboard, or even a body board. However, Tranum’s chair, while modern and different, is definitely an item I could envision in my study, in the living room, and, perhaps in my bedroom.
But alas, I was not the only one voting. That’s right; attendees were given the power to choose the Grand Prize Winner. While Berkus chose the three finalists, we were given some bourbon for the evening to consider the items a final time. To make the decision more challenging, the charismatic Berkus explained that while the finalist would win $10,000, this competition wasn’t about the money. We were about to change the trajectory of someone’s career. Forever. Wow, what pressure.
Ultimately, Rion Stassi’s chandelier won the heart of the people and the competition. Congratulations to Stassi and to all the designers for their hard work and dedication to their craft. While there could only be one winner, all talented designers clearly have a bright future ahead of them.