Undergraduates in Furniture Design embark on a course of study encompassing theory, skills, context, research and professional practices. Drawing from a rich tradition, they are encouraged to experiment and work with a wide range of emerging materials and technologies, developing individual voices through the process of making. The program emphasizes the principles and practice of furniture design as well as the social value of art, design and responsible citizenship.
Approximately 75 undergraduates in Furniture Design work in close proximity with a dozen or more graduate students, sharing respect and support for each other’s work. As practicing professionals, faculty mentors are also fully engaged with the development of each student’s work, offering constructive feedback and advice as skill levels advance and students become increasingly more fluent in expressing their ideas through the medium of furniture and related 3D objects.
In addition to working in the wood shop and other dedicated studio spaces on campus, Furniture Design majors are often invited to present work at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York and the Salone Internazionale del Mobile (International Furniture Fair) in Milan, Italy. These opportunities offer an invaluable introduction to the industry, along with exposure to some of the best furniture designers in the world. Furniture Design majors also have opportunities to create original designs for studio partners beyond the realm of furniture manufacturers, with recent projects completed for Swarovski crystals and Steinway pianos, among others.
Iliahi Anthony BFA 2012
Andrew Prioli BFA 2013
Stout BFA 2012
Benjamin Kicic BFA 2013
Alex Chow BFA 2014
Vivian Chiu BFA 2011
Vivian Chiu BFA 2011
In beginning the program, sophomores learn to achieve technical competency with a range of materials and their applications, and to develop design processes for evolving concepts through both models and built pieces. Juniors are encouraged to experiment in the course of researching new materials and technologies, various types of furniture and other 3D objects, and issues relating to the human factors of design.
In the final year, seniors focus on professional practices and create a final body of work that demonstrates a high level of understanding of the principles of furniture design while simultaneously expressing their own vision and aesthetic strengths.
All freshman applicants apply to RISD as opposed to a specific department and begin with a required year of Experimental and Foundation Studies. Students select a major midway through the first year but don’t begin those programs until sophomore year.
For more information or to begin the application process, visit the Apply page.
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