Last month we reported on the opening weekend of the new Hatch Live tournament—a sort of Cut+Paste-like competition with the end goal of having a unique, manufacturable design. Well, after a month’s worth of tournament weekends, this past weekend saw the championship round between talented designers Wil Rodriguez-Joglar and Nelson Ayala as they battled out a unique and original lamp design in front of a live audience. With $4000 cash money, a ‘Designer in Residence’ exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, and a personal portfolio review and brunch with former Editor-in-Chief of Surface Magazine Dan Rubenstein, the champion will most certainly have something to rightfully brag about for the next few months. We had a chance to catch up with the lucky champ to hear more about their experience after competing through the entire tournament, as well as advice for the next round of competitors in the next tournament.

And the Winner is…Wil Rodriguez-Joglar !

WilHatch Live Winner Wil Rodriguez-Joglar

SS: Congratulations! What was the most challenging competition in the entire tournament and why?

WRJ: Thank you! I would say the final round (lamp design). I found out what the category was 4 hours before the competition and it was quite a challenge to come up with a design that fast. Then you have to figure out how to model it and make it look as polished as you can within the competition’s time frame, that is challenging too…but it is all stressful and fun.

Wil_Finals2Wil’s Winning Lamp Design

Nelson_Finals2Nelson’s Runner-Up Lamp Design

SS:Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

WRJ: I was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico by a family that, although not designers, were always sketching up furniture and other elements that could improve our home. To this day, I think that they are talented and have a sophisticated eye for design without attending design school.

I earned my Bachelor Degree in Environmental Design from the School of Architecture at the University of Puerto Rico. Since my junior year of undergrad, I have had several opportunities to work on a variety of “hands-on” projects; from building models and furniture to building solar-based houses that competed in the 2007 and 2009 Solar Decathlons in Washington, D.C.

Through these experiences, I developed a strong interest in the functionality of design and its aesthetic integration with structure. To further my education in both fields, I attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to pursue a dual Master’s degree in Architecture and Structural Engineering. The dynamic balance between concept and function that I discovered through my studies continues to influence my approach and perception of design today.

“I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to work on projects with very diverse scales and different challenges; which I believe is a good background for the challenges encountered on Hatch Live”

SS: What is your background as a designer and how did it help prepare you for Hatch Live?

WRJ: I moved to New York shortly after finishing school, to continue enhancing my practice of design. I joined forces with Ruben Hernandez, a fellow architect and old friend from undergrad, to start our own “design laboratory” practice called WRRH. We describe it as a laboratory since we explore design challenges of various scales through diagnostic and experimental means.

I also worked as a Senior Designer at Archi-Tectonics, where I was involved in design, documentation & construction stages on several local and international projects. And I am currently a part of the BKSK Architects family, where I have… “become an indispensable team member for projects involving advanced computation to develop and ‘test design’ concepts.”

I believe that design surrounds us, and that every design starts with a simple question or challenge. Throughout the years I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to work on projects with very diverse scales and different challenges; which I believe is a good background for the challenges encountered on Hatch Live.

“It’s a great exercise that boosts your adrenaline and gets your brain working fast”

SS: Do you feel like performing in front of a live audience helped sharpen your CAD skills?

WRJ: It definitely helps you improve your speed and apart from the live audience you also have the time frame, which just makes it more challenging. It also helps to sharpen your “quick thinking” skills. Having people look at your design process, but also curious on how you edit or suggest what you feel are improvements to your opponent’s design is a great exercise that boosts your adrenaline and gets your brain working fast.

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SS: After competing in every event and now winning the tournament, what advice do you have for the next round of competitors? How can they better prepare themselves to model in front of a live audience?

WRJ: Tough call, everybody has their own process, but I would recommend to establish a clear idea/concept and go face your opponent with a clear design in your mind. It doesn’t have to be very polished as long as you have a clear direction. For the live audience, just make sure that you know the software well and are able model things using different tools and commands. Nerves can make you forget commands and knowing more than one way will help express your ideas faster.

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Nelson+WilFriendly Competitors Nelson Ayala and Wil Rodriguez-Joglar

Congratulations to all the talented designers who entered. If you or somebody you know might be interested in the next tournament, keep your eyes peeled over at the Hatch Live site.

(Images via Hatch Live)

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