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Rhode Island School of Design's Department of
Furniture Design to Present Immaterialize
at International Contemporary Furniture
Students to Showcase Work at the Javits Convention Center, New York City
May 16-19, 2009
Providence - Leave your
assumptions at the door and expect the unexpected when the RISD Furniture
Design Department presents Immaterialize
at the 2009 International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF). Rhode Island
School of Design’s contribution to this year’s ICFF showcases furniture and
products that emphasize specific qualities of materials rather than their most
Material, a fall 2008 studio course taught by Assistant Professor Lothar
Windels, the designers each chose to work with a single material of their
choice. The materials were not necessarily associated with furniture, and also
not necessarily as structural as wood or metal, which are typically used for
building furniture. A hands-on investigation with their chosen material gave
each student an understanding of its properties and performance as they
prepared to use it to develop a piece of furniture or a product.
“Students explored their selected materials
by taking them beyond expected contexts through a rigorous research and
development process,” noted Windels. “The use of one material and one
fabrication process was encouraged, though a secondary material could be used
as a means of ensuring structural integrity and appropriate detailing.”
Throughout the semester, students developed a series of models that helped them
execute final functional prototypes for the show. “Each design reinterpreted
its material to make meaningful objects that evoke uplifting experiences,
thereby transcending its materiality without denying it,” Windels said.
The works in this exhibition should be viewed
as prototypes of thought. Although some could be mass-produced, the main focus
is to open new paths for designing furniture and to display objects that help
us to question our preconceived notions about products and materials.
Immaterialize will be on view
at booth 1273, and will feature nine student pieces:
· In Of
the Skin, Micaelan Davis [MFA 2009]
went beyond the typical application for rawhide to fold and mold water-soaked
buffalo hide into a sturdy, beautifully organic table with a warm, amber glow.
· In Supple,Chelsea Frost [BFA 2009] transformed
everyday packing material into a surprisingly appealing set of household
pillows by making multiple silicone rubber castings of bubble wrap and
attaching zippers to provide support. The zippers also allow the pillows to be
packed flat and then assembled into their 3D form on arrival.
Folz [MFA 2010] created a sturdy, fully functional table, fittingly called 100% Wax, first by casting industrial
wax, and then pouring liquid wax over a bed of wax still in bead form to create
a textured surface.
· Made of a minimum of 40% post-industrial
recycled material, the Flow Chair by Jennifer Tran [BFA 2009] evolved from
trial-and-error when heating 3form’s Varia Ecoresin to a malleable state and
then quickly forming it by hand. Evenly spaced grooves provide a bold, graphic
contrast to the undulating, organic shape of the chair.
· Inspired by the idea of making a stable
structure using a process known for its softness and flexibility, Ruth Fore [MFA 2009] experimented with
crochet stitches to create Crochet
Crochet, a spherical wire form, with loops growing from small to large
gauges. Roughly 3,000 feet of aluminum wire went into the finished piece, which
was then anodized to improve its strength and stability.
· After researching the use of feathers in
decorative arts, Andrew Mau [BFA 2009]
created a breathtaking bowl called Perch,
an unglazed porcelain piece that stands on a base of quills and supports an
intricate array of tightly layered, beautifully colored pheasant feathers
lining the interior. Each heart-shaped feather is precisely trimmed to provide
a consistent natural color and to emphasize the contrasting interior and
· In Loofah
Ankle Boot, Ian Horowitz [BFA 2009]
explores applications of non-manufactured fabrics in footwear, demonstrating
that luxury and environmental consciousness can go hand in hand. For the ankle
boot, two-ply construction with quilted reinforcement throughout the upper
ensures durability, with each shoe constructed of dried vegetables and a small
block of poplar wood.
Split Seat by Isao Takezawa [BFA
2009] is made of vegetable-tanned leather, which gains structural integrity
when soaked in boiling water and dried. The stool is composed of three
identical pieces that were sewn together after the hardening process, with the
rigidity striking the ideal balance between comfort and sturdiness; the
combination of a traditional technique and a contemporary design approach opens
up new possibilities for the material.
· Pour is
a series of teacups and saucers made entirely of molded liquid plastic by Elisa Werbler [BFA 2009]. The forms
were created through a succession of pours against a mold, each one using a
different color to create not only an organic dripping effect but a clean,
layered cross-section as well. Contrast is central to the pieces: the free-form
drips play against the neat cross-section, and the glossy surface of the
exterior contrasts with the matte interior.
Sponsored by Metropolis magazine, the 21st annual International Contemporary
Furniture Fair will be held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New
York City from May 16–19, 2009. More than 600 exhibitors from 31 countries will
fill the 145,000 square feet of exhibition space with the latest in design and
manufacturing of contemporary furniture, seating, carpet and flooring,
lighting, outdoor furniture, materials, wall coverings, accessories, textiles,
kitchen and bath for the residential, home/office and commercial markets. More
than 25,000 attendees are expected, ranging from interior designer to
architects, retailers, designers, manufacturers, representatives, developers
and members of the general public.
Department of Furniture Design
RISD established its Department of Furniture Design in 1995 to support and
promote research and design education in the field. Through curricula that
combine craft and production skills with history, theory, research and
professional practices, the department’s undergraduate and graduate students
explore contextual issues, integrate new technologies, and address such contemporary
concerns as sustainability and human interface design. RISD’s Furniture Design
Department also serves as an international resource for promoting dialogue
within the field and for connecting designers, manufacturers, studio artists,
curators, critics and scholars.
Through their diverse successes, the
department’s many accomplished graduates showcase the outcomes of an education
that underscores not only the principles and practice of furniture design, but
the importance of self-awareness and responsible citizenship.
Island School of Design
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has earned a worldwide reputation as the
preeminent college of art and design in the US. Today, with more than 26,000
alumni, RISD enrolls 1,926 undergraduates and 426 graduate students from the
United States and almost 50 countries, offering degree programs in the fine
arts, architecture, design disciplines, and art education. 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 or our.risd.edu.