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Collab, the group that supports the modern and contemporary design collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will hold its 18th Annual College Student Design Competition at the Museum on Monday, November 15, 2010. This year’s competition will be held in conjunction with the exhibition Alessi: Ethical and Radical (November 20, 2010 – April 10, 2011) celebrating the innovative products developed by the Italian manufacturer, many of which resulted from collaborations with architects.

“The student work is always fresh, striking, and full of surprise, ” said Roberta Gruber, head of the Fashion, Design & Merchandising department in Drexel’s Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and the organizer of the Competition. “These young people represent the future of design and they are inspired by the same muse that informs the achievements of Alessi.”

The college student challenge is to design a tabletop accessory set that includes at least four pieces. The products should have a central design and must be mass reproducible. All entries are due at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Seminar Room by 9 a.m. on November 15. For complete instructions, see, call (215) 763-8100 or e-mail .

Alessi has long been an inspiration to young designers, particularly because of the company’s renowned collaborations with architects like Philippe Starke, Frank Gehry and Robert Venturi. Design students participating in the competition come from area colleges including the University of the Arts, Drexel University, Philadelphia University, Moore College of Art & Design and Rochester Polytechnic in New York. Each year about 75-100 students compete, from which three top winners and two honorable mentions are selected. Winners receive cash prizes.

“The competition offers students an opportunity to explore real-life experiences with regard to designing and creating a variety of products or graphic imageries,” said Gruber. “They also interact with the judges, who are professionals in the design industries, giving students access to companies and potential job opportunities. Winning these prestigious awards from Collab and the Philadelphia Museum of Art can be an exceptional line item on a student’s resume.”

This year’s judges are home goods designer Harry Allen; Carla Diana from Smart Design; Richard Kratchman from Kitchen Kapers; Diane Minnite from the European Decorative Arts department at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and Diane O’Donnel, sales agent for Alessi.

Student work will also be presented during the Alberto Alessi Design Excellence Award event on Nov 20, 2010 at 7 p.m in the Van Pelt Auditorium of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Student tickets for the lecture by Mr. Alessi will be available for $15. For information, call the Museum Ticket Center at (215) 235-7469.

Collab is a collaboration of design professionals and enthusiasts supporting the modern and contemporary design collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A volunteer committee founded in 1970, Collab is dedicated to enriching the Museum’s Modern and Contemporary Design collections with outstanding examples of mass-produced and unique designs, and to making the collections accessible to the general public, students, and the design community. Now among the most important in the country, the design collection of more than 2,500 objects ranges from furniture to ceramics, glass, wallpapers, lighting and functional objects. Join Collab:

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We are Philadelphia’s art museum. A landmark building. A world-renowned collection. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.

For additional information, contact the Communications Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art phone at 215-684-7860, by fax at 215-235-0050, or by e-mail at The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call (215) 763-8100.

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