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Fall 2020

  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 Design majors only

    Registration by Furniture Design 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. Collaborative Study

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

  4. 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 Design majors only.

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

  5. 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 Design majors only.

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

  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 Design majors only

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

  7. Furniture Design Senior Seminar

    In this course we examine individual studio practices in depth through collecting, drawing, and writing. We approach writing as a mutable medium, one that can be built up, torn apart, cobbled together, patch-worked, polished, shined, exploded, and altogether constructed in a way that is not dissimilar to the way an object emerges in the studio. We examine the ways that writing as a part of making can spark ideas for visual work, enrich subliminal visual narratives, connect ideas that may seem disparate, collect a wide variety of sources in a small space, act as a place for reflection, and ultimately be an active and integral part of making. In the process, we will unearth themes that permeate students' artistic work in a way that forges future paths for creative exploration while protecting some of the mysteries that are particular to an embodied practice. Students will begin to develop a personal vocabulary that parallels the richly developed language of their visual work, laying the foundation for their Senior Degree Project.

    The primary aim of this class is for students to develop a better understanding of their own practice and its context through writing and archiving influences and inspirations, laying the conceptual foundation and establishing a specific theme for the spring semester Senior Degree Project Report.

    Major requirement; Furniture Design majors only.

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

  8. 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 seniors, fifth-year seniors, and graduate students.

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

    Open to non-majors pending seat availability and permission of Instructor.

  9. 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 Design majors only.

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

  10. 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 Design majors only.

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

  11. 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.

  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: $150.00

    Graduate major requirement; Furniture Design majors only.

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

  13. Junior Woodshop Skills Intentsive

    Intended for Furniture Design juniors (class of 2022), this class will provide important skills and training that were omitted by the 2020 COVID-19 campus evacuation. This course enables safe and competent work in the junior year, and will be organized in coordination with the core junior studios. Activities will focus on gaining practical experiences with machinery for woodworking, with an emphasis on safety and proper technique. This work will incorporate various shaping, joinery, and production techniques enabled by this equipment. Exercises will provide students with opportunities to apply course lessons and gain practice using relevant tools and techniques safely and effectively. Live demonstrations, and both guided and independent practice will be supplemented by remote activities wherever possible.

    Elective
    Open to juniors in Furniture Design only.

  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

    This course will prepare Juniors for life after RISD and the start of their professional careers. With a focus on discovering and articulating each individual's personal goals, students will develop strategies to put them on course towards a fulfilling, sustainable and growth-oriented career. Students will be engaged with many of the concerns a practicing designer faces, financial, social, legal and other-wise as they navigate the various industries, they derive their livelihood from. A primary concern of the course will be developing skills and materials that students can use in the pursuit of opportunities, including a resume and website. Additionally, guest speakers will provide students access to experts in relevant fields including: licensing, media and publishing, retail and legal.

    Major requirement; Furniture Design majors only.

    Registration by Furniture Design 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. Course is a required elective with adequate wood studio experience.

    Major elective; Furniture Design majors only.

    Also offered as TEXT-2523 for Textiles majors.

    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 Design majors only.

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

Wintersession 2021

  1. Big Box Vernacular

    Big Box Vernacular explores furniture design and construction through the lens of the materials and tools available in big box hardware stores. The course asks the question: what is vernacular furniture in an era of mass production, global distribution and consumer culture.

    Big Box Vernacular will embrace the limitations, or put another way, the opportunities, afforded by the virtual learning nature of winter session. Without access to RISD facilities, the beginning of the course will aid students in developing a workspace within their homes centered around the content and projects of the remainder of the course.

    The aim of the course is to have students design fine furniture with unfine means. Students will use resources available at the Home Depot, or other home improvement stores to design and build contemporary vernacular furniture and housewares. Demonstrations will include but not be limited to joinery techniques and explorations centered around these resources. The course work and demonstrations will be supplemented by lectures covering the work of designers and artists working with similar ideas, as well as the work created by the instructors while under strict stay-at-home orders during the Covid 19 pandemic in Spring of 2020.

    Estimated Materials Cost: $250.00

  2. Collaborative Study

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

  3. 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 survey nontraditional materials and review unconventional methods. There will be an emphasis on ergonomics including shaping, angles, and scale and how upholstery impacts comfort. This is a hands-on class where students will gain experience applying the techniques of upholstery.

    Estimated Materials Cost: $100.00

    Elective for majors; open to non-majors.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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. Exercises in sketching, model-making and various design strategies will aid in developing an understanding of materials and processes. Through a series of informative presentations, lectures, and short project assignments, students will explore the relationships between concepts, techniques and objects.

  6. 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.

Spring 2021

  1. Comprehensive Sustainability Thinking

    This research elective class will focus on the myriad opportunities for the sustainable practice of design. The somewhat humbling point of departure is the fact that many, if not all, of the problems we currently face are the direct result of previous "design solutions". There are numerous topics to cover under each of the following domains. Our aim is to expose students to meaningful comprehensive and anticipatory sustainability thinking. The focus of the class will be on the development of a comprehensive, operationally useful "sustainability lens" through which to evaluate design decisions as they are being made in hopes of avoiding the Law of Unintended Consequences on the front end, rather than seeking to simply design without regard for the potentially negative outcomes that require fixing on the back end.

    Material: The 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics, Material choice, material sourcing, life cycle analysis, the containment of entropy

    Economic: Full Spectrum Accounting. Bring all externalities back onto the balance sheet

    Life: Creating conditions conducive to life, Biomimetics: Learning from Nature not just about Nature. The preservation of biodiversity

    Social: How does your object contribute to the quality of life for maker and user and other organisms, as well? Appropriate human behavior in the biosphere

    Spiritual: An exploration of how students' work contributes to the "Great Work", embracing uncertainty and cultivating wonder

    Estimated Materials Cost: $50.00

    Open to juniors and above.

  2. 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 Design majors only.

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

  3. 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.

  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 Design majors only.

    Registration by Furniture Design 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 Materials Cost: $200.00

    Elective; Furniture Design majors only.

    Open to juniors and above.

  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 Design majors only

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

  7. Furniture Design Degree Project Seminar

    This course is the second half of the Furniture Design Senior Seminar begun in the fall semester. This seminar is a forum for discussion, research and writing that is coordinated with the parallel studio course and is intended to help seniors develop a theoretical and intellectual framework for their Degree Projects. The primary deliverable is the Degree Project Report. The seminar format will encourage the content to be student driven, based on their studio work and responsive to changing contemporary concerns. There will be assigned weekly readings including student selected texts and related short writing assignments to guide the discourse along with regular presentations of students' research and studio processes to guide the development of the longer writing that will constitute the Degree Project Report.

    The primary objective of the course is to provide a structured experience for seniors to develop coordinated skills in research and writing in a practice-based discipline. The underlying purpose of the course is to engage students in critical discourse regarding design thinking and new perspectives on design practice so that each student can communicate an informed and original point of view on their own creative practice. This seminar is intended to increase exposure to design theory and provide students with skills necessary to articulate an effective intellectual basis for their studio practice through writing, research and making.

    Major requirement; Furniture Design majors only.

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

  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 Design majors only.

    Registration by Furniture Design 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 and presentations, 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 Design majors only.

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

    Open to non-majors pending seat availability and 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 Design majors only.

    Registration by Furniture Design 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 Design majors only.

    Art History credit for Furniture Design majors.

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

    Restricted to Furniture Design majors in Spring semester.

  12. Lighting Design

    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

    Elective for majors and non-majors

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

  13. 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.

    Open to juniors and above.

  14. 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 Design majors only.

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

  15. 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 Design majors only.

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