Fall 2018

  1. Advanced Furniture Studio

    This is a required studio for seniors that develops advanced theory and practice in furniture design. Projects include experimental seating design and an introduction to upholstery techniques. Seniors develop a Degree Project Proposal along with a project that explores and tests the proposal.

    Major requirement; Furniture majors only

    Registration by Furniture Department, course not available via web registration.

  2. CAD Modeling For Furniture Designers

    This course will provide students with a high level of competency and an increased sensitivity to the creative potential that CAD modeling presents to designers. Students will be introduced to the fundamental concepts and technologies of CAD using Rhinoceros. There will be expenses associated with outputting services (printing, rapid prototyping and/or CNC machining).

    Elective

    Permission of Instructor required. Course not available via web registration.

  3. Cabinets, Doors and Drawers

    This course will provide an opportunity for students to design and make cabinets of various types with doors and drawers. Students will learn the subtleties of casework and fitting doors, drawers and hardware. While a wide range of design approaches from very simple to complex will be encouraged, this course will be an especially good opportunity for those students who wish to explore advanced woodworking.

    Elective; Furniture majors only

    Permission of Instructor required. Course not available via web registration.

  4. Collaborative Study

    A Collaborative Study Project (CSP) allows two students to work collaboratively to complete a faculty supervised project of indepedndent study.

    Usually, a CSP is supervised by two faculty members, but with approval it may be supervised by one faculty member. Its purpose is to meet individual student needs by providing an alternative to regularly offered courses, though it is not a substitute for a course if that course is regularly offered.

  5. Design & Processes

    The junior studio expands and interprets the skills and concepts introduced in the sophomore studios. The primary focus of the semester is an experimentally based investigation of bending and forming techniques - molded plywood, bent lamination, steam bending, and vacuum-formed plastic. While focused on the use of wood and plastic materials, an experimental approach is expected in the studio. Students are encouraged to conceptually explore skills and materials to develop a personal design approach and studio practice. The semester culminates in a final design, in which students utilize learned techniques to create one-offs, objects intended for batch production or prototypes designed for production.

    Major requirement; Furniture majors only

    Registration by Furniture Department, course not available via web registration.

  6. Drawing Furniture 2-d

    Drawing for Furniture 2D will focus on the ways in which drawing can help generate, evaluate and communicate design concepts. Students will be introduced to the conventions and techniques of technical drawing for Furniture Design while pursuing experiments that supplement and challenge established practices. Focus will be on two drawing systems, orthographic and paraline projection, working by hand and with computers.

    Major requirement; Furniture majors only

    Registration by Furniture Department, course not available via web registration.

    Mayline Rental: $150.00

  7. Form In Metals

    In this junior studio students are presented with the idea of using metal to develop furniture forms. While the primary metal used to investigate form is mild steel, properties and techniques are also presented that apply to stainless steel, aluminum, copper, brass and bronze. Students become proficient in TIG welding, and are introduced to arc welding, spot welding, gas welding, brazing and soldering. Basic structural properties of steel are investigated through a series of short projects designed to inform students of the appropriate forms and applications. Basic and more advanced fabrication techniques, metal surface treatments, as well as metal finishing are also topics of class demonstrations.

    Major requirement; Furniture majors only

    Registration by Furniture Department, course not available via web registration.

  8. Graduate Furniture Design I

    This course concentrates on the exploration of personal design aesthetics and the development of furniture projects that exhibit a high degree of technical proficiency.

    Graduate major requirement; Furniture majors only

    Registration by Furniture department, course not available via web registration.

  9. Graduate Furniture Design III

    This course concentrates on projects that begin the thesis body of work. Advanced design and technical processes are continued as part of this process.

    Graduate major requirement; Furniture majors only

    Registration by Furniture department, course not available via web registration

  10. ISP Major

    The Independent Study Project (ISP) allows students to supplement the established curriculum by completing a faculty supervised project for credit in a specific area of interest. Its purpose is to meet individual student needs by providing an alternative to regularly offered courses.

    Permission of instructor and GPA of 3.0 or higher is required.

    Register by completing the Independent Study Application available on the Registrar's website; the course is not available via web registration.

  11. ISP Non-major Elective

    The Independent Study Project (ISP) allows students to supplement the established curriculum by completing a faculty supervised project for credit in a specific area of interest. Its purpose is to meet individual student needs by providing an alternative to regularly offered courses.

    Permission of Instructor and GPA of 3.0 or higher is required.

    Register by completing the Independent Study Application available on the Registrar's website; the course is not available via web registration.

  12. Introduction To Materials and Process

    This course focuses on material and process investigations that lead to a higher degree of technical proficiency providing students with an expanded foundation on which to carry out their ideas. The content of the course emphasizes how exploration and application operate in both pragmatic and unorthodox ways and reinforces ideas of how critical making and material investigation can lead to innovation. The technical aspects of production and outsourcing will also be examined.

    Estimated Materials Cost: $150

    Graduate major requirement; Furniture majors only

    Registration by Furniture department, course not available via web registration.

  13. Paradigm Thinking Design Seminar

    Paradigm Thinking: How what we believe and think effects what we are able to perceive, imagine and therefore create.

    A Paradigm is a model around which we construct our understanding of the world. It determines what we believe and it determines what we think is real and valuable. A paradigm is important because it determines not only what we perceive, but also what we are capable of perceiving and the manner in which we perceive it. This class will address the fundamental concepts that underlie issues of Social Equity and Inclusion (SEI).

    In this seminar course, students will be encouraged to critically explore their own paradigms, to cultivate flexibility in the development of their paradigm and to embrace uncertainty in an effort to reach beyond current human cognitive limitations in dealing with the psycho/social manifestations that underpin societal inequality.

    There will be weekly reading and writing assignments, and a final essay chronicling the students' personal progress through the class. Instead of a final essay, students may choose to present a work of art or design that is indicative of their understanding of the course material.

    Estimated Materials Cost: $50.00

    Open to junior and above.

    Open to non-majors by permission of Instructor.

  14. Professional Internship

    The professional Internship provides valuable exposure to a professional setting, enabling students to better establish a career path and define practical aspirations. Internship proposals are carefully vetted to determine legitimacy and must meet the contact hour requirements listed in the RISD Course Announcement.

  15. Professional Practice and Portfolio

    This class will focus on professional presentation with regards to all aspects of your work including visual portfolio, artist statement, resume and clear articulate correspondence. With a basic understanding of what you are trying to achieve combined with a philosophy of how you will achieve it, this course will help equip you with the foundation to deal with the business of making a living from your art.

    Major requirement; Furniture majors only

    Registration by Furniture Department, course not available via web registration.

  16. Research Elective

    Students will research specific furniture themes and materials in a variety of contexts including external partnerships.

    Major required elective with adequate wood studio experience.

    Permission of Instructor required.

  17. Sophomore Design Methods

    This studio course introduces materials commonly used in furniture making and the foundation skills necessary to integrate them into furniture. Emphasis is on techniques, structures and materials properties. These are integrated with theoretical exercises that focus on design.

    Major requirement; Furniture majors only

    Registration by Furniture Department, course not available via web registration.

    Tool Rental: $150.00

  18. Textiles Transforming Into Furniture

    This research course focuses on the experimentation with soft materials utilizing techniques of textile construction to create functional furniture with structural integrity. This course will rely on teamwork between Furniture Design and Textile students to take advantage of each other's expertise in furniture making and textile construction. In the beginning of the course students will be introduced to examples of contemporary furniture design, which use soft materials in unconventional ways to create unexpected forms and experiences. Reading will be assigned that covers these contemporary examples in detail. Parallel to this students will be exposed to weaving and knitting techniques, but should also consider other techniques such as crocheting, knotting, basket weaving etc. Students are encouraged to alter these techniques according to their needs to discover unique design solutions. Additionally, students will be introduced to unconventional materials not necessarily associated with furniture to generate innovative results. Substructures constructed out of solid materials can be used to provide rigidity as well as glue/resin to reinforce soft materials. Since this course focuses on material research, students are expected to engage in sustained in-depth inquiry, which should be documented in a meaningful way throughout the entire process.

    Major elective

    Permission of Instructor required.

    Registration by Furniture Design and Textiles Departments, course not available via web registration.

    Also offered as TEXT-2523; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

Wintersession 2019

  1. Alternative Metals For Furniture Design

    This course introduces students to metalworking through exploration of the material properties and fabrication techniques of brass, bronze, copper, aluminum and stainless steel as raw materials for furniture making. Students will develop a familiarity with these materials through lectures, demonstrations and self guided experimentation. Through the lens of these additional metals, students will expand upon their metalworking skills vis-a-vis cold and hot forming, welding, riveting and smithing as well as a broad range of metal finishing techniques. Proficiency will be evaluated throughout the class through student samples and small projects. This course will culminate with the production of one highly resolved furniture object which utilizes one or more of the above metals as a primary material.
    Estimated Materials Cost: $150.00-$200.00

  2. Exploring Upholstery From The Basics To The Extreme

    This course will focus on the art of upholstery design. It will teach the basics of traditional techniques and materials; cover historic influences; and explore methods used in mass production. The course will also examine extreme upholstery and the use of nontraditional materials and unconventional methods. There will be an emphasis on ergonomics including shaping, angles, and scale and how upholstery transforms the frame and affects the user. This is a hands-on class and will include multiple upholstery projects culminating in a full-scale final project.

    Estimated Materials Cost: $100.00

    Upholstery Kit Cost: $50.00

    Elective for majors; open to non-majors.

    Permission of Instructor required. Course not available via web registration.

  3. Introduction To Furniture

    This course will be an introduction to the skills and techniques for furniture design. The primary focus will be on developing innovative concepts through drawing and model-making. Simple hand tool techniques and basic woodworking machinery will be introduced. Exercises in sketching, model-making and various design strategies will aid in developing an understanding of materials and processes, culminating in two substantial products. Through a series of informative presentations, hands-on lectures, technical demonstrations, and short project assignments, students will explore the relationships between concepts, techniques and built objects.

  4. Lightweight Structure

    Championed by utopian thinkers of the 20th century like Buckminster Fuller and Frei Otto, the idea of "doing more with less" has become ingrained in the development of new building systems. Design for vehicles, extreme environments, and sports have pushed the field of lightweight structures along, creating a vast array of new materials and building techniques. This course will examine lightweight structures through the lens of material research and exploration. Emphasis will be placed on developing assembly systems that are integral to the particular materials being explored. Topics introduced in this course will include but not be limited to tensile structures, space frames, pneumatic structures, tensegrity, frozen fabrics and the various form finding strategies associated with each. This course will also examine the various ways that this topic can be approached through both physical and digital model making. Computer modeling experience is preferred, but not required.

  5. Metals For Furniture Design

    This course is an appropriate introduction to furniture design in metal. The goal of this course is to introduce students to the basic techniques of metal fabrication as they apply to furniture design. Design issues will be resolved through a series of drawings and models and welding skills will be honed through several preliminary projects. Students will be expected to complete a piece of furniture.

    Estimated Material Cost: $75.00

  6. The Wooden Object

    Wood is a living material with time ingrained in its very fibers. It is highly malleable, yet it ultimately communicates what it can be as it moves and breathes over time. Wood has the potential to be crafted into the perfect tool, the perfect container, and the perfect object. In short, it is a material that has being.

    In this introductory course, we will be investigating the properties of solid wood through the making of a collection of tabletop objects. With demonstrations on wood turning, wood carving and the use of hand and machine tools, this class will help students discover the vast possibilities that wood has to offer as a material. Through the development of woodworking techniques and creation of a collection of small objects, we will explore the significance of the things we surround ourselves with. Students will be encouraged to develop ideas through the making of a turned mallet, a turned bowl, and a carved utensil. The final project is to design and create several keepsake objects that hold a significance to each maker and will be shown as a cohesive collection, incorporating either carved or turned components.

    Estimated Materials Cost: $75.00

Spring 2019

  1. Design & Processes

    The junior studio expands and interprets the skills and concepts introduced in the sophomore studios. The primary focus of the semester is an experimentally based investigation of bending and forming techniques - molded plywood, bent lamination, steam bending, and vacuum-formed plastic. While focused on the use of wood and plastic materials, an experimental approach is expected in the studio. Students are encouraged to conceptually explore skills and materials to develop a personal design approach and studio practice. The semester culminates in a final design, in which students utilize learned techniques to create one-offs, objects intended for batch production or prototypes designed for production.

    Major requirement; Furniture majors only

    Registration by Furniture Department, course not available via web registration.

  2. Design For Production

    Long known as the "Beehive" of industry, Providence RI is one of the most diverse manufacturing hubs in the US. Although today's global market continues to absorb these resources, Providence has retained a highly skilled manufacturing center that is eager to work with the creative arts. This rare resource provides designers the unique ability to work locally with manufacturing re-sources from traditional lost wax casting to emerging manufacturing technologies such as laser cutting, multi-axis cnc, and rapid prototyping. Throughout the course we will visit manufacturing, marketing, and retail facilities to develop a working understanding of production processes and methods available to you and how best to effectively implement these resources into your work as a designer/artist. The studio course will conclude with each student presenting a finished production ready object in multiples along with supporting marketing materials. By approaching this class from a design, manufacturing, and marketing perspective students will acquire a practical knowledge of production strategies essential to the success of a designer today.

    Elective

    Permission of Instructor required.

  3. Design Seminar: Current Discourse

    This seminar is intended to help students develop a theoretical and intellectual framework for creative practice in object and furniture design. Its purpose is to engage students in critical discourse regarding current issues related to their studio work and experiences. While the seminar format will encourage the content to be student driven, inclusive of diverse identities and responsive to changing contemporary concerns, there will be a core set of established readings such as Baudrillard, Marx, Benjamin, Adamson, Dunne and Raby, Clark, Attfield, McDonough, Appadurai and others, which provide a scholarly frame of reference and informed point of departure. Students will be encouraged to explore under-represented and new areas of inquiry related to their discipline and to articulate an original and informed point of view. The course will include workshops in research strategies and writing related to design and students will be expected to apply these developing skills to weekly assignments as well as to one longer term project.

    Open to junior Furniture Design majors.

    Open to others pending seat availability and permission of Instructor.

  4. Drawing Furniture 3-d

    This course continues drawing and concept development techniques, sketching with three-dimensional models, mock-ups and prototypes. Working in several scales and levels of articulation, students will expand pre-visualization and detailing skills. Basics of 3-D computer simulation will also be introduced.

    Major requirement; Furniture majors only

    Registration by Furniture Department, course not available via web registration.

  5. Flexible Technology: Tension & Turning In Spindle-back Chair Design and Contruction

    Learn the theory of Windsor Chairs and how the use of wood in tension can create a chair like no other. This class will cover techniques necessary to the Windsor system of building while working through design decisions that will culminate in a completed chair. Students are encouraged to embrace process and parameters in a direct and hands-on manner. Through small projects, students will learn how to balance wood strength, aesthetics, joint strength and ergonomic considerations. These principles will be applied to a carefully considered, finished chair.

    Topics covered will include: selection of wood, turning, seat carving, complex radial layout, several types of joinery, and finish techniques.

    Estimated Cost of Materials: $200

    Elective; open to junior and above

    Furniture majors only

  6. Form In Metals

    In this junior studio students are presented with the idea of using metal to develop furniture forms. While the primary metal used to investigate form is mild steel, properties and techniques are also presented that apply to stainless steel, aluminum, copper, brass and bronze. Students become proficient in TIG welding, and are introduced to arc welding, spot welding, gas welding, brazing and soldering. Basic structural properties of steel are investigated through a series of short projects designed to inform students of the appropriate forms and applications. Basic and more advanced fabrication techniques, metal surface treatments, as well as metal finishing are also topics of class demonstrations.

    Major requirement; Furniture majors only

    Registration by Furniture Department, course not available via web registration.

  7. Furniture Design Thesis Seminar

    This graduate seminar is organized in parallel with the Graduate Furniture Design Thesis studio for the purpose of guiding the written thesis document. The goal is to provide students with a focused opportunity to map their thesis projects and to create the document that supports their studio practice and body of work known as the thesis.

    Open senior, fifth-year and graduate students.

    Registration by Furniture Department, course not available via web registration.

    Open to non-majors with Permission of Instructor.

  8. Graduate Furniture Design II

    This course explores advanced design processes and methods of construction. The evolution of a project through a complete design process is required including conceptual and design development phases.

    Graduate major requirement; Furniture majors only

    Registration by Furniture department, course not available via web registration

  9. Graduate Furniture Design Seminar

    The graduate seminar is a forum for discussion and research outside of the studio setting. Through a series of topical investigations, lectures, presentations, and field trips, students will explore current design issues, professional practices, directions, and developments within the field, and other topics that will help to formulate the basis of the graduate thesis work.

    Graduate major requirement; Furniture majors only.

    Open senior, fifth-year and graduate students

    Registration by Furniture Department, course not available via web registration.

    Open to non-majors with Permission of Instructor.

  10. Graduate Furniture Design Thesis

    This course culminates the completion of the thesis body of works and accompanying written document.

    Graduate major requirement; Furniture majors only

    Registration by Furniture department, course not available via web registration

  11. History Of Furniture

    This course is an introductory survey of the history of furniture. An emphasis is placed on developing a methodology for understanding historical context and transferable critical thinking through furniture. The fundamental methodology presents furniture design as an expression of interdependent relationships involving technology, identity and culture. The course will include lectures, sketching, writing, discussion and exams as well as learning from direct observation of objects including many in the RISD Museum.

    Major requirement; Furniture majors

    Art History credit for Furniture majors

    Liberal Arts elective credit for non-majors pending seat availability and Permission of Instructor required.

    Restricted to Furniture majors in Spring semester.

  12. Lighting Design 101

    Lighting design is an ever-growing category of furniture and product design, constantly evolving alongside technological advances in available lamp hardware. This hands-on course is an opportunity for students to explore the various types of lamp options, including incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, and LED. Students are first provided with the technical skills and safety factors involved in creating and wiring a lamp, to adding more complicated items such as switches, dimmers, and hardware, and finally moving on to designing and creating a body of functional lighting pieces. We will cover various lamp typologies (sconces, floor lamps, table lamps, chandeliers, pendants, etc), as well as light as art through installation and sculpture. Students are encouraged to work in a variety of materials and scales, developing their designs from sketches, models, and renderings, to a fully realized object. Designs will evolve through in-class discussions, pin-ups, and critiques. This class will focus on the design and fabrication of lighting as an object in a space, rather than the lighting of a space.

    Estimated Materials Cost: $50.00 - $100.00

    Lighting Kit Cost: $130.00

    Elective for majors and non-majors

    Permission of Instructor required. Course not available via web registration.

  13. Senior Degree Project

    Seniors will complete their final portfolio works in this studio. Seniors will design and execute a final degree project. The degree project will be individualized according to student interest.

    Major requirement; Furniture majors only

    Registration by Furniture Department, course not available via web registration.

  14. Sophomore Design/practice

    This sophomore studio expands basic principles of furniture design and material skills, exploring how the made objects interact with the human body. Intermediate skills will be demonstrated and practiced as students further explore materials and their applications in design.

    Major requirement; Furniture majors only

    Registration by Furniture Department, course not available via web registration.

  15. Witness Tree Project

    Witness trees, as designated by the National Park Service, are long-standing trees that have "witnessed" key events, trends, and people in history. In this joint studio/liberal arts course, students have the unique opportunity to study and work with a fallen witness tree, shipped to RISD from a national historic site. 2018-19 location will be the Hampton National Historical Site in Towson, Maryland. The course will involve three components: 1) a field trip to the tree's site at the beginning of the semester; 2) classroom-based exploration of American history, memory, landscape, and material culture; and 3) studio-based building of a series of objects from the tree's wood, in response to both the site and students' classroom study. Overall, the course will explore both how material artifacts shape historical understanding and how historical knowledge can create meaningful design.

    Permission of Instructor required. Course not available via web registration.

    This is a co-requisite course. Students must plan and register for HPSS-S732. Students will receive 3 studio credits and 3 liberal arts credits for a total of 6 credits.

Departments

Apparel Design Architecture Ceramics Digital + Media Experimental and Foundation Studies Film / Animation / Video Furniture Design Glass Graduate Studies Graphic Design History, Philosophy + the Social Sciences Illustration Industrial Design Interior Architecture Jewelry + Metalsmithing Landscape Architecture Literary Arts + Studies Painting Photography Printmaking Sculpture Teaching + Learning in Art + Design Textiles Theory + History of Art + Design