04 Mar Senior Nicole Norris ‘racks up’ international design prize

Nicole Norris, a senior majoring in industrial design, won second place and $2,000 in the 2017 Student Design Competition sponsored by the International Housewares Association.

Her design, Wrinklerack Compact Ironing Station, combines a mirror, ironing board, and clothes rack for sleek décor and storage. Wall-mounted for stability with a support tube that also functions as a shoe rack, Wrinklerack includes hooks for hanging clothes and an iron storage shelf with a built-in power outlet. Easy to maneuver for all ages, the board lifts smoothly into position and can be adjusted to three heights.

“My inspiration for Wrinklerack was my displeasure with the current ironing board experience,” Norris said. “I found it unnecessarily difficult and annoying for an object that one might use quite often, so I set out to find a better solution. Too often, we settle for the current experience of a product just because that’s how it’s always been (ironing boards have had the same general form and experience since the 1800s). But we can apply design thinking here to help ‘elevate the everyday’ as I like to say.”

Norris is currently in New York completing a product design internship with Fisher-Price. Part of the Little People brand team, she’s helping design toys that stimulate children’s learning and emotional intelligence.

Norris will exhibit her Wrinklerack design March 18-22 at the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago, where she hopes to find a manufacturer for the product and network with prospective employers.

Norris attended high school in Aldie, Virginia, but has lived all over the world because her dad is in the military. She graduates in Fall 2017.

“I’m thankful to the industrial design program at Virginia Tech for giving me a great environment to develop as a designer,” Norris said. “From the resources to the familial atmosphere of support, it has been the perfect home away from home for professional and creative growth.”

Learn more about Norris and her work on her website, here.