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Island School of Design to Present Principles of Nature at 2010 American Craft Council Show
Students Showcase Original Work at the Baltimore Convention Center, February
RI – Students from the Furniture Design and
Jewelry + Metalsmithing departments at Rhode Island School of Design [RISD]
will present Principles of Nature at
the 2010 American Craft Council [ACC]
Show in Baltimore, MD. RISD is one of two colleges nationwide invited to
showcase student work in the ACC’s School-to-Market
exhibition at the Baltimore Convention Center from February 23–28, 2010.
fall 2009 studio courses, taught by Assistant Professor of Furniture Design
Lothar Windels and Visiting Assistant Professor of Jewelry + Metalsmithing Lola
Brooks, student designers drew inspiration from structures and systems in
nature. In-depth investigation of the way plants and animals grow and function
helped reveal the underlying principles that enable natural structures and
systems to perform specific functions so successfully. By abstracting these
principles, students in each department were able to apply them to creating
innovative furniture, jewelry and other products that are as efficient and
elegant as nature itself.
crucial for students to understand that examples from nature can and should act
as inspiration to solve functional problems, following the principles of
biomimicry,” Windels notes. “Formal explorations inspired by the beauty of
nature were also valid, but were not the focus of these courses. The key was
nonlinear investigation – students could either start by identifying a product
with a specific function and look to lessons from nature that are applicable,
or observe how nature solves a specific functional problem and work from there
to design their own piece or product.”
in Jewelry + Metalsmithing also explored natural structure, pattern, systems
and form as they worked to design pieces with the complex structure yet simple
beauty and functionality typical of the natural world. “Jewelry students were
primarily inspired by the many formal issues they came to understand through
close observation of natural phenomena like cellular structure, surface
pattern, texture, color and form,” notes Brooks.
studios, students kicked off the semester with a visit to RISD’s Edna Lawrence
Nature Lab, a unique RISD resource that offers hands-on access to more than
80,000 specimens, including shells, feathers, seedpods, skeletons, insects,
plants and live and preserved mammals. Throughout the semester, students
developed a series of models that helped in executing final prototypes for the
show. At the end of the fall semester a faculty jury selected the pieces to be
exhibited in Baltimore.
RISD STUDENT WORK at ACC:
- By studying the
structure of leaves, Frank
Cresencia [BFA 2010 FD] designed a Corrugation
Bench that allows rainwater to run off its surface naturally, just as
it does from the surface of plants.
- Like a duck’s webbed
feet, which contract during a forward stroke and expand into a paddle as
its legs move backwards, the Expandable
Chair by Christopher Johnson [BFA 2010 FD] collapses
to save space and opens to provide functional seating.
- Lui Kawasumi [BFA 2011 FD] created his Stretched Bowl by mimicking the
mechanism that allows snakeskin to expand when a snake swallows large
- Inspired by the
articulate joints of a praying mantis, Eun Seung Koo [BFA 2010 FD] designed her Gesture Lamp so that the light source can be moved with ease
in every direction.
- M Quinn [BFA 2011 FD] looked to the
layered plates of abalone shells in designing Urban Armor, a piece of flexible, lightweight sport gear that
redefines protection as a form of fashion.
- Careful study of the
mechanics of birds’ claws inspired Ekin
Varon [BFA 2010 FD] to create Perching
Travel Hanger, which hooks onto a railing while it is being opened for
ease during traveling.
- Misha Kahn [BFA 2011 FD] designed Nest Rocker to be as cozy, quirky
and adjustable as the swallows’ nests that inspired it.
- Margaret Hinge [BFA 2011 J+M] made her Pinecones necklace from paper-thin
copper flashing connected around an inner core and gathered into small
clusters, much as they would be found growing on a tree.
- Inspired by the way
birds build nests using intertwined elements, Esther Kim [BFA 2011 J+M] created Nest Architecture, a necklace that underscores the elegance
and beauty of combining seemingly random elements into a tightly built
- Zoë Wendel [BFA 2011 J+M] constructed her Rabbit Skeleton Necklace from
laser-cut brass, combining a sense of beauty and whimsy in linking the
pieces together with the seamless movement of animal joints.
- For her Spider Web Necklace, Wendel recreated the delicate
interplay between form and negative space, discovering how beautifully a
silver web can drape over the torso.
American Craft Council sets high standards for its wholesale shows, which
attract buyers from throughout the world, making this is an unparalleled
opportunity for students to gain first-hand experience in installing and
exhibiting work, and interacting with the public. In addition to RISD, the ACC
invited Savannah College of Art and Design to contribute work to the annual School-to-Market exhibition, which is
aimed at helping students to bridge the gap between the classroom and the
marketplace for sculptural and functional craft. As the largest event of its
kind in the county, the 34th annual American
Craft Council Show in Baltimore will feature work by more than 700
Click here to visit Photo Gallery of Furniture Design
Click here to visit Photo Gallery of Jewelry and
Metalsmithing Student Work
Rhode Island School of Design
Island School of Design (RISD) has earned a worldwide reputation as the
preeminent college of art and design in the United States. Today, with more
than 26,000 alumni, RISD enrolls nearly 2,000 undergraduates and 400 graduate
students from the U.S. and almost 50 countries, offering degree programs in the
fine arts, architecture, design disciplines and art education. Academic
programs include research and design initiatives, the exploration of art
criticism and contemporary cultural concerns, as well as international exchange
programs. Each year hundreds of prominent artists, designers, critics and
cultural leaders visit RISD’s Providence campus. Among its many prized
resources is The RISD Museum of Art, which houses a world-class collection of
art objects from Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, and art of all periods from
Asia, Europe and the Americas, as well as the latest in contemporary art. For
more information, visit www.risd.edu