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International Focus on Furniture
Misha Kahn's Twintex table rests on a web of recyclable composite fibers.
From chairs that play
on the notion of over-permed hair to lighting that
evokes the narrow slot canyons of the American Southwest, new works by RISD Furniture Design majors are expected to attract plenty of attention at the 2011 International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York City this weekend. The dozen undergraduate and graduate students selected to participate in the high-profile professional confab are showcasing pieces that directly address
issues of sustainability while pushing the boundaries of design.
Composites, the RISD show features benches, tables, chairs and light fixtures made with Twintex®, a flexible glass-fiber filament
impregnated with polypropylene. The hybrid material, an advanced composite that
hardens through a reversible heat treatment, offers an environmentally
friendly alternative to conventional composites, which rely heavily on
resins that can’t be recycled. By contrast, Twintex products can be recycled by
separating the polypropylene and glass-fiber through heat.
Wrapping and layering the
material around wooden molds, students experimented with the malleability of the material to create stretched or
sunken forms that are sculptural in nature, but also reference domestic
crafts such as knitting and embroidery. Misha Kahn BFA 11 FD says that his table, supported by a web of Twintex, was “inspired by a scene in Entrapment in which Sean Connery makes Catherine Zeta-Jones climb through a web of yarn.”
Jiwon Choi BFA 11 FD used the advanced composite to create a chandelier she calls Light Scribble. “Inspired by scribbles on
paper, I used this industrial material to design a luxurious hanging light – a
chandelier that combines decorative line
work and functional light into one,” she says. “Since Twintex
becomes rigid when heated, it provides a structure for the light fixture while
still looking like a three-dimensional drawing in the air.”
Eun San Ernie Lee BFA 12 FD, on the other hand, experimented with the properties of Twintex to create a feeling of “fluffiness” in his playful Perm Chair. “When heated, the melted polypropylene creates slippery fibers that droop and end up looking like loosely curled hair,” he says.
By presenting their work at one of the leading professional forums in the field, students gain invaluable experience in interacting with buyers, gallery representatives, industry specialists, experienced designers and the general public. This type of engagement with professional practice and exposure to various aspects of the furniture design industry are a cornerstone of the pedagogical approach in the department.
The ICFF runs from
May 14–17 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, 655 West 34th
Street in Manhattan.
tags: Furniture Design
Recyclable Composites: press release / more imagesAt the Furniture Fair, Sustainable Furniture Gets Playful (New York Times)
Rich, Brilliant, Willing - winners of this year's new designer award
(Theo Richardson 06 FD, Charles Brill 06 FD, Alexander Williams 06 FD)
, public engagement