Richard Frinier Design Scholarship First Recipient Announced

“Participating in the competition was a life-changing experience. Developing the collection helped me grow as a designer and learn a lot about the casual furnishings industry. I am really thankful to ICFA and Richard and Catherine Frinier for bringing me to Chicago and making me a part of such a big event. Richard and Catherine helped me meet some amazing people from the industry at the Merchandise Mart and I hope they keep changing lives every year!”   ~ Chhavi Kashyap

Richard Frinier, Chhavi Kashyap

The International Casual Furnishings Association (ICFA) announced that Chhavi Kashyap, a graduate student at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), was named the first recipient of the Richard Frinier Design Scholarship endowed annually by the esteemed designer and his wife and partner, Catherine, to support the next generation of designers. “Chhavi’s designs showed us a strong sense of creativity, personality and relationship of design in our outdoor environment illustrating the emotional impact it has on all of us,” said Frinier. “She expressed her personal outdoor experience together with her passion for design to become the winning entry.”


Kashyap submitted a collection of printed, woven and embroidered fabrics for cushions, hammocks, umbrellas, and daybeds. “Traveling from India to Savannah was a big cultural change. My long walks around the city helped me adapt. I was a stranger, finding beauty in every little thing. The wild berries and tree bark textures inspired me and made my connection with nature even stronger. I combined organic and geometric forms with color blocking to give my designs a bold and textural look,” she said.

“We established the scholarship program with ICFA to raise the level of awareness of the casual furnishings industry as a viable opportunity for young designers as they begin their careers, and to welcome new creative perspective to our industry,” said Frinier. “We led a team of industry professionals that judged the applicants on a range of criteria including innovation, originality, aesthetics, material performance, finishes, colors, social context and marketability. Chhavi’s ability to articulate and demonstrate her creative vision, story, form, function, purpose and possibilities was superior. In my design work, my mantra is to always be authentic, relevant and memorable. Chhavi illustrated these attributes throughout her presentation.”


“Directly or indirectly my work is mostly inspired from different aspects of nature,” said Kashyap. “We have an inherent connection to the natural world, yet we are living increasingly urban and digital lifestyles farther removed from natural habitats. Even a short time spent close to nature can result in an improved sense of wellbeing. Designers are increasingly responding to this ‘nature deficit’ by using natural elements and themes to enhance everyday life. I chose a color palette that emphasizes green and blue hues that I believe have a therapeutic quality and promote healing, and textural elements that replicate or mimic nature, creating a rich, indulgent feeling.”


“We were impressed with the level and range of talent demonstrated by all the 2018 scholarship applicants,” said Jackie Hirschhaut, ICFA Executive Director. “We announced the scholarship by contacting university design professors and asking them to encourage their students who have shown interest or talent in this area to participate.” As the winner, Kashyap was awarded a $2000 stipend plus airfare and lodging for a two-night stay in Chicago during Casual Market Chicago. She will also spend time with Richard Frinier, top ICFA officials, and industry mentors. “I am so excited to meet someone so experienced and famous,” said Kashyap. “I want to know everything about his inspirations, career journey, favorite product category, opinions on current trends and advice for me as a beginner.”

Frinier hopes that Kashyap, and those who are awarded the ICFA/Richard Frinier Design Scholarship in subsequent years, aspire to a career where “she can move forward and collaborate with others in an environment where her originality, ideas, and talents will be appreciated and encouraged to grow. When she graduates from SCAD, we hope she will consider using her creative skills in the casual furnishings industry, where what’s new and what’s next is always needed and appreciated.”

This year’s winner of the Richard Frinier Design Scholarship was vetted by an esteemed judging panel that included American Institute of Architects member Rachel Oleinick of Northworks, American Society of Architects member Brad McCauley of Site Design Group, International Interior Design Association member Valerie Jardon of Box Studios, Christian Narkiewicz of the Chicago Athenaeum, Stephen Elton of Brown Jordan and Catherine and Richard Frinier.

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