Academics

Furniture Design

A Furniture Design student works on a chair inside the department studios

Furniture Design at RISD offers an intensive immersion in materials research and exploration in the process of making furniture and objects. Students investigate some of the most important questions facing designers today—from how to take advantage of changing technologies and new materials, to how to respond to variable economic conditions and evolving lifestyles.

Degrees offered

BFA

4-year undergraduate degree

MFA

2- and 3-year graduate degrees

In the studio

Furniture Design majors are encouraged to experiment with a wide range of materials and approaches while focusing on human factors and sustainable, responsible design.

Featured stories

Celebrating a New Generation of Design Talent

W highlights Objects: USA, featuring the work of alumni Tanya Aguiñiga, Simon Haas, Misha Kahn, Joyce Lin, Adam Silverman, Katie Stout and David Wiseman.

Challenging Conventions

Furniture design icon Giulio Cappellini encourages RISD students to study the history of design so they can reinvent established forms.

Singular Designs Now Online

2020 graduates of RISD’s BFA and MFA programs in Furniture Design showcase solid work in online exhibitions.

Student work

Furniture Design students collaborating in the workshop

Furniture Design graduates go on to become thinker/makers who follow a variety of paths, from launching their own businesses making furniture and/or other objects to working as commercial product designers, teaching, running galleries and more.

Alumni at work

Tanya Aguiñiga MFA 05 | artist/maker

Raised in Tijuana, Mexico, Tanya Aguiñiga now lives in Los Angeles, where her work is informed by border experiences and infused with cross-cultural influences. She sees furniture as a way to translate emotions into 3D objects, tell stories through color and touch, and encourage people to reconsider the objects they use every day. Aguiñiga, whose work has been exhibited from Mexico City to Milan, actively works to combine furniture design and community activism, as seen in her 2018 project AMBOS, which featured artists collaborating in real time on either side of the US/Mexico border.

Rich, Brilliant, Willing BFA 06 | studio principals

After graduating all the same year, Theo Richardson, Charles Brill and Alex Williams repurposed their own last names to launch a NYC-based design studio called Rich Brilliant Willing. Since then they have made a distinctive mark in the design world by creating desirable products that are both disarmingly simple and totally user-oriented. In doing so, they have also earned broad critical acclaim, winning the ICFF Best New Designers Award and making Forbes’ list of the top 30 Under 30 design talent.

Katie Stout BFA 12 | artist/furniture designer

In her studio practice, Katie Stout creates playful furnishings that reflect her own personality and pop aesthetic. “I think it’s a reaction to growing up in a vanilla suburb where every other house was exactly the same,” says the furniture designer, who has shown work in Milan, Miami and NYC as well as on the cover of New York magazine. In 2015 the Brooklyn-based artist won the first Ellen’s Design Challenge TV competition, earning a reputation as a playful, audacious risk-taker who stands out on a national stage.

concept drawings for Furniture Design projects