Team from Global Design Firm HOK Takes Top Honors Annual at Tabletop Challenge Design Competition

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U.S. and British Design Teams Compete for Tabletop Design Honor

Design teams from all over the U.S. and England competed in this year's competition

Winning designers from HOK, Rachel McCaslin and Rachel Mongeluzo creating the winning design at this year's Tabletop Challenge Design Competition

On the winning design, HOK's Rachel McCaslin, “We were aiming to keep the design clean, simple, and elegant, while adding some sparkle and warmth. We saw the copper pot scrubbers and went with our gut.”

The Second Annual Tabletop Challenge Design Competition was held at the just completed International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show in New York. With a winning design incorporating products from every sponsor company, the design team from global design firm HOK of Rachel McCaslin and Rachel Mongeluzo showed that you can never have too many great tabletop products on your table. The Tabletop Challenge event is presented by the IHMRS Show and TabletopJournal and was hosted by TabletopJournal’s Dave Turner and Orlando designer Joemy Vega, a participant in the 2013 event. According to Turner, “This year’s Tabletop Challenge Design Competition was incredibly exciting…especially since we had such a diverse group of designers from all corners of the United States and the U.K.”

The Tabletop Challenge consists of teams of designers, using tabletop items provided by sponsoring hospitality tabletop companies, as well as additional mystery props, having 30 minutes to build their perfect tabletop. Then, there was a “People’s Choice” vote taken during the remainder of the show with all show attendees voting, with the winner being announced after the Show and being recognized on the IHMRS and TabletopJournal websites.

Showing that the mystery props often help steer the design direction, HOK's Rachel McCaslin, “We were aiming to keep the design clean, simple, and elegant, while adding some sparkle and warmth. We saw the copper pot scrubbers and went with our gut.” The winning design included metal pot scrubbers, jewelry, and fine silk scarves as props. The winning team from HOK took the top spot in a closely contested voting over last year’s winner Tina Delia and her team from Delia Designs in Philadelphia.

Coming from all regions of the U.S. and England, the other competing designers in the event were the team of Jodi Barnett and Daniela Maniezzo of Design Group Carl Ross from Los Angeles, Jennifer Campbell of Foda Design in Atlanta, and Karin-Beate Phillips of British European Design Group from Surrey, England

The Tabletop Challenge Design Competition was sponsored by the world-class tabletop companies of Steelite International, Rosenthal/Sambonet, Safelite/Norex, Eastern Tabletop, Hospitality Glass Brands, and Verterra Dinnerware.

About HOK
HOK is a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm.
Since their founding in 1955, HOK has used design to enrich people’s lives and help organizations succeed. The company’s 1,600 people collaborate across a network of 23 offices on three continents. HOK’s mission is to deliver exceptional design ideas and solutions for their clients through the creative blending of human need, environmental stewardship, value creation, science and art. HOK’s design solutions result from a collaborative process that encourages multidisciplinary professional teams to research alternatives, share knowledge and imagine new ways to solve the challenges of the built environment.

About TabletopJournal
Tabletop Journal ( started in mid-2011 as a digital publication dedicated to the world of hospitality tabletop category. TabletopJournal quickly has become the premier source for the information on the best tabletop products, people, and places used in the hospitality industry and now reaches 70,000 readers monthly in all corners of the world. In addition, subscribers to TabletopJournal’s outbound BULLETIN newsletter come from nearly all continents.

About IHMRS Show
The 98th annual International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show ran through Tuesday, November 11, 2014, at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Following a full-day of conference and networking activities on Saturday, November 8, the IHMRS featured three full days of exhibits from Sunday, November 9, through Tuesday, November 11. The market presented nearly 700 exhibitors and attracted some 18,000 industry professionals. It was co-located with Boutique Design New York (BDNY), featuring 325 manufacturers, designers and representatives of furniture, lighting, wall coverings, fabric, seating, accessories, artwork, carpet and flooring, materials, bath and spa, and tabletop. BDNY ran through 4pm, Monday, November 10.

IHMRS is sponsored by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), the Hotel Association of New York City, Inc. (HANYC), and the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association (NYSH&TA). BDNY is a joint venture of AH&LA, HANYC, NYSH&TA and HMG (Hospitality Media Group). Both shows are now under new management by HMG.

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