Modular Light by Clark Morelia.

The Countdown Begins for Three Winners of Monmade’s One Green Product Design Competition to Bring their Products to Market

Three. Two. One.

by Reese Randall


May 5, 2021

Local designers are ready and eager to develop unique, environmentally conscious products — and Monmade makes it possible by bringing these regionally sourced, responsibly made artisan designs to market. Katie Schaible, Director at Monmade confirms this to be true as the organization announced the three winners of Monmade’s One Green Product Design Competition. "Although we could only select three products, every entry was well thought out and the competition was stiff,” says Schaible.

Introducing innovative products that encompass social responsibility, the winning products and their design teams have fulfilled Monmade’s intention for One Green Product Design Competition.

“The purpose is to support regional manufacturing and sourcing, provide durable, functional and scalable products, and inspire design teams to think outside the box for products that fill a local market-driven need,” explains Madeline Farina, Media and Promotions at Monmade. “What transpired were solutions that are not only made responsibly but use innovative materials and solve challenges with waste stream supply and recycling.”

The three winners include John Peña (Core Sample Bollard and Text Bollard), Transit Forge (TRANSITION Bike Racks) and Jocelyn Avila and Rob Hackett of Clark Morelia (Modular Light).

Peña, a multidisciplinary artist, illustrator and educator created bollards made from recycled aluminum, which is a material that can also be recycled at end-of-life over and over again without losing material strength. This reduces energy consumption in material production, as well as air and water pollution in manufacturing.

"I approach making public art through a rigorous investigation of the social and cultural history of spaces and places,” says Peña, “I frequently create opportunities for community engagement to enhance the collaborative nature of public art."

Greg Gehner, the metalsmith/blacksmith behind Transit Forge in Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania designed the TRANSITION bike rack. Constructed with low carbon steel with a high recycled content (steel is considered 100 percent recyclable at end-of-life), low VOC powder coating will be used for a very durable finish and safer for air quality. The bike racks encourage bicycle commuting and interaction with nature.

"I wanted the designs to be playful and show a shape progression that implies movement,” explains Gehner. “Sculptural designs enhance both existing and new architecture and add artistic elements to streetscapes, parks, residences and businesses."

Clark Morelia, a handmade leather goods manufacturer in Wilkinsburg led by Jocelyn Avila and Rob Hackett. The modular light fixture they created will be constructed using locally sourced walnut with an oil-wax finish. The light shade will be made from second-run leather with a water-based non-toxic contact cement developed for the leather shoe industry. An energy-efficient LED lightbulb is recommended, which will reduce energy consumption.

“The modular light was designed to form a connection between the user and the products that surround them providing flexibility, modularity and a variety of task lighting applications,” explains the Clark Morelia design duo. “The hope is the framework developed for the modular light could be expanded to fit a variety of applications with minimal extra material.”

As recipients of the competition, Peña, Transit Forge and Clark Morelia are awarded a grant to fulfill their design goals and to facilitate product development.

“We are looking forward to cultivating more opportunities for sustainable product development,” adds Schaible. “We want to showcase the world-class talent we have in our region."

To learn more about sourcing and integrating locally produced design into commercial and residential projects, visit

John Peña’s Core Sample Bollard and Text Bollard.
Sketch of TRANSITION Bike Rack by Transit Forge.
Artist, John Peña.
Greg Gehner of Transit Forge.
Jocelyn Avila and Rob Hackett of Clark Morelia.


Reese Randall writes bi-weekly stories for The Green Voice. She's also the contributing restaurant editor for IN Community Magazines and food stylist for GNC. To see more food, fashion, photos and videos, go to