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College of Architecture, Planning and Design

Josef Lang Wins Monsters of Design


A study abroad experience helped a Kansas State University Interior Architecture & Product Design student bring home top honors in a "monster" of a design competition.

Josef Lang, fourth year Interior Architecture & Product Design student in the university's College of Architecture, Planning and Design, or APDesign, earned best in show honors for his chair design in the "Monsters of Design" competition, a part of Kansas City's annual Design Week. The competition is open to designers and architects within a 200-mile radius of Kansas City.

"Josef is a talented designer, a motivated leader and a well-loved member of the APDesign community. While I am always excited to see our students recognized for their talent, in Josef's case I am particularly pleased to see a wonderful person rewarded for his dedication,” said Tim de Noble, dean of the College of Architecture, Planning & Design.

Fifty applicants submitted designs for the event, with Lang, Bellevue, Neb., winning the top prize for his chair called "CR45."

"It was a great moment of validation," said Lang, who put in more than 1,000 hours of work into the design and its multiple prototypes.

"CR45" is a direct result of a summer 2013 study abroad experience in Copenhagen at the Danish Institute, Lang said. He studied furniture design under Flemming Steen Jesen, a Danish designer and practicing professional.

The name of Lang's design even pays tribute to Denmark.

"The 'CR' stands for cantilevered rod and the '45' is the country code when dialing Denmark — giving credit to the design's country of origin," he said.

The summer furniture studio class Lang was in split into four groups and students were challenged to design with only one specific material for the structure of their piece. Lang was given the solid steel category and from there decided to take a minimalist approach, designing a cantilevered chair.

The steel arches from the early industrial period of Western Europe inspired Lang's design. The arches maximized their efficiency by creating space frames that diagram the forces acting on traditional monolithic arched constructions. He used their trusses as a guide to create a space frame to compensate for the disadvantages posed by the geometry of the solid rod.

Since returning from Copenhagen, Lang has been making the "CR45" chairs by hand in his garage. His submission for "Monsters of Design" was based on the fifth prototype, but Lang says he is always looking for ways to make it a little better. He is currently working with a manufacturer to explore increased production of the chairs as interest in them is growing.

"A lot of credit is owed to the interior architecture & product design curriculum and mindset that equally values the conceptualizing of a design and physically realizing it as being equally integral components of what makes great design possible," Lang said.

Design Week is sponsored by a wide range of companies and organization and offers speakers, events, competitions and exhibitions, each showing a different facet of design.

Lang has been working with a manufacturer to produce these chairs and was recently contacted about moving forward with production. Lang is working on details and hopes to begin producing and selling the chairs shortly.