John Dunnigan

Schiller Family Endowed Chair in Furniture Design Professor of Furniture Design
Image
RISD faculty member John Dunnigan
BA, University of Rhode Island
MFA, Rhode Island School of Design

on sabbatical academic year 2023–24

John Dunnigan is a designer, maker and educator. His studio work has been shown in more than 100 exhibitions, including 10 solo exhibitions, and is included in such private and public collections as the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the National Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. Dunnigan’s furniture has been featured in dozens of publications, such as The New York Times, Newsweek and The Boston Globe and in books and catalogues, including New American Furniture. He was a partner in DEZCO Furniture Design LLC, a company dedicated to sustainable practices in design for mass production.

Dunnigan has been a member of the faculty at RISD in the Departments of Industrial Design, Interior Architecture and Furniture Design and previously served as interim dean of the Division of Architecture + Design. He is a former Mellon Fellow in the RISD Museum and currently holds the Schiller Family Endowed Chair in Furniture Design.

Academic areas of interest

  • Practice-Based Research: Designing and making furniture through Dunnigan Studio. Pursuing practical solutions to oblique problems.
  • Scholarship: Researching, writing and teaching about furniture as an expression of the interdependent relationships among culture, technology and identity. See “Thingking,” The Art of Critical Making: Rhode Island School of Design on Creative Practice (Wiley, 2013).
  • Design Research: Designing furniture for large-scale production that promotes sustainable manufacturing and responsible business practices through partnerships in DEZCO Furniture Design LLC and Dunnsome. See Sage Collection and Haystack Collection.
  • Entries on Lilly Reich and Charlotte Perriand, Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History (Oxford University Press, 2008).
  • Phaidon Design Classics (Phaidon Press, 2007), Vols. 1–3, entries 035, 254, 262, 371, 418, 505, 534, 597, 881.
  • “Undercover: On Upholstered Furniture,” Gallery NAGA, Boston, MA, 2005.
  • “Understanding Furniture,” Studio Furniture, The Furniture Society, 1999.
  • “A History of Bentwood,” RISD Museum of Art, Providence, RI, 1984.

Courses

Fall 2024 Courses

FD 2581-01 - FURNITURE DESIGN SENIOR SEMINAR
Level Undergraduate
Unit Furniture Design
Subject Furniture Design
Period Fall 2024
Credits 3
Format Seminar
Mode In-Person
Start date
End date

FD 2581-01

FURNITURE DESIGN SENIOR SEMINAR

Level Undergraduate
Unit Furniture Design
Subject Furniture Design
Period Fall 2024
Credits 3
Format Seminar
Mode In-Person
Start and End 2024-09-04 to 2024-12-11
Times: W | 1:10 PM - 4:10 PM Instructor(s): John Dunnigan Location(s): Washington Place, Room 237A Enrolled / Capacity: 15 Status: Open

SECTION DESCRIPTION

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.

Majors are pre-registered for this course by the department. Enrollment is limited to Senior Furniture Design Students.

Major Requirement | BFA Furniture Design

Image
RISD faculty member John Dunnigan
BA, University of Rhode Island
MFA, Rhode Island School of Design