Rhode Island School of Design Presents Objects May Shift at Salone del Mobile 2024

March 13, 2024

The student-designed and produced exhibition for SaloneSatellite in Milan, the result of an intensive studio course, is RISD’s first-ever global multidisciplinary presentation of work

PROVIDENCE, RI  – March 13, 2024 – Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is pleased to present Objects May Shift at SaloneSatellite (booth A10) from April 16–21 in Milan, Italy. For the first time in its history, RISD has brought together students from across multiple departments, led jointly by faculty from both Fine Arts and Architecture & Design, to design and produce a multidisciplinary exhibition for the international stage that explores our ever-evolving relationship to—and experience of—the domestic interior.

Co-directed by Anais Missakian (Pevaroff-Cohn Family Endowed Chair in Textiles) and Pete Oyler (Associate Professor, Furniture Design), Objects May Shift is the result of an intensive studio course called Topics in Exhibition. Variously a group critique, an idea accelerator, a collective curatorial experience, an expression of a single thematic idea in diverse media, and a workshop in which to formally refine visual and material concepts, the inaugural Topics in Exhibition course assembled 20 students from seven distinct disciplines – Ceramics, Furniture Design, Glass, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Interior Architecture and Textiles – to bring the global exhibition to life. From developing the conceptual framework to creating graphics and display to documenting the work, students worked in three teams – Identity, Graphics and Display – on all aspects of design, planning and execution. Read more about the course and the making of the exhibition.

A prompt to recontextualize the ordinary and find surprise in the unexpected, Objects May Shift is a curious and critical exploration of how our world and the ways that we inhabit it are changing. From graphic design to art, furniture and textiles, the exhibition foregrounds creative flux and transgresses disciplinary tradition. A variable typeface is scaled to excess, skewed and outlined; an upholstered seat inflates to become a wall; a cabinet is made from a dresser; and a woven Jacquard tapestry pairs AI-generated imagery with images of wealth, hoarding and trash. The exhibition is as imaginative and optimistic as it is sobering. Objects May Shift is a collaborative proposition that asks us to think boldly, to see more than what meets the eye and, perhaps most poignantly, to consider what may be.

“Our goal is to bring RISD expertise to the table and create a performative display that represents the institution as a whole, focusing on the collective versus the individual,” says Missakian. “When artists and designers with unique and deep disciplinary knowledge work collaboratively, complex questions arise, transcending singular fields–and the possibilities are endless.” Adds Oyler, “Art and design exhibitions have a long history of proposing new ways of living and of understanding our material, built world. As our world changes, artists and designers are working together to imagine new possibilities from our unique disciplinary vantage points. This student-designed exhibition, Objects May Shift, is a celebration of that disciplinary rigor and collaborative vision.”

“This is an incredible opportunity for RISD students and faculty to demonstrate, on a world stage, the benefits of the kind of cross-disciplinary education we prioritize,” notes RISD President Crystal Williams. “Given the role of art and design in helping us shape and understand the world and our role in it, we are thrilled to provide opportunities that allow students to gain practical experience in designing the future we will all live in.”

Visit shift.risd.edu for more information including artists’ statements and bios, Q&As with students, words from the faculty co-directors and high-res downloadable images by photographer Erik Gould.

For a directory of all RISD participation in Milan and Venice in April, visit alumni.risd.edu.

About Rhode Island School of Design
RISD (pronounced “RIZ-dee”) is a creative community founded in 1877 in Providence, Rhode Island. Today, we enroll 2,538 students hailing from 60 countries. Led by a committed faculty, they are engaged in 44 full-time bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and supported by a worldwide network of over 31,000 alumni who demonstrate the vital role artists and designers play in today’s society.

Beyond facts and figures, what is the spirit of this community? Through a cross-disciplinary curriculum of studio-based learning and rigorous study in the liberal arts, RISD students are encouraged to develop their own personal creative processes, but they are united by one guiding principle: in order to create, one must question. In cultivating expansive and elastic thinking, RISD seeks to activate a critical exchange that empowers artists, designers and scholars to generate and challenge the ideas that shape our world. RISD’s mission, at both the college and museum, is not only to educate students and the public in the creation and appreciation of works of art and design, but to transmit that knowledge and make global contributions. Visit risd.edu to learn more.

RISD contact:
Jaime Marland
Senior Director, Public Relations / RISD
401 427-6954