RISD Furniture Design Presents 'FACE to FACE' at the 2015 International Contemporary Furniture Fair

April 22, 2015

Rhode Island School of Design’s (RISD) Department of Furniture Design is pleased to present Face to Face: Searching for Authentic Experiences at the 2015 International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York City. RISD’s contribution to this year’s ICFF showcases objects that encourage direct communication in a world dominated by electronic devices. Some of these pieces work with technology to enrich experiences, while others form a peaceful oasis free from technological interference. Taken as a whole, they promote meaningful human interactions that create authentic experiences.

International Contemporary Furniture Fair
The Javits Center | 655 West 34th Street, NYC
May 16–19, 2015
open to the trade on Saturday + Sunday, 10AM–5PM and Monday, 10AM–6PM
open to the trade + the public on Tuesday, 10AM–4PM

RISD Department of Furniture Design’s Face to Face at BOOTH #2754

“Humans inherently depend on one another both physically and psychologically, and the objects featured in the Face to Face exhibition explore concepts that relate to the proliferation of technology in our lives,” said RISD Department of Furniture Design Associate Professor Lothar Windels, who led the studio by the same name. “Through this work, students explore the contradictions of technology today – the way it enables humans to communicate over long distances, but can also create feelings of loneliness and disconnection.”

Throughout the fall 2014 semester, students developed a series of models that helped them produce final, well-executed prototypes for the show. Although some could be mass-produced, the main focus is on opening new paths for designing furniture and objects that help us question the impact of technology on human interaction.

Face to Face features pieces by six students:

Emre Bagdatoglu MFA 2016 | Permalink
materials: quartersawn white oak, brass hardware, mechanical music box, Nexus 7 tablet screen
Permalink ties the video chat experience to a lasting object and reduces its interface to a simple, tactile gesture. The boxes are sold in pairs, with the buyer expected to keep one and give the other to a significant other. Permalink is activated when one of the users opens his or her box and alerts the other user to engage via the mechanical music box inside. The only requirements for the system are a shelf, electricity and WiFi.

Ross Kellogg BFA 2015 | Transit Folding Chair
materials: European beech, stainless steel
Inspired by small apartment living, the Transit Folding Chair provides a comfortable, attractive alternative to the standard folding chair. Stripped down to essentials, it focuses the user’s attention on simple details and connections.

Linus Kung BFA 2015 | Privacy/Curiosity
materials: powder-coated steel, acrylic cube, nylon rope
Privacy/Curiosity explores the longing for privacy in public spaces, playing on the paradoxical relationship between the urge to express one’s identity through social media and the desire for privacy. The piece allows the user to conceal his or her identity behind a tinted acrylic helmet while peeking out at others and the surroundings. At the same time, the user’s presence is exaggerated by a giant metal stand that leaves the body fully exposed.

Mayela Mujica MFA 2016 | Illume Table Light
materials: glass shade, nickel-plated brass, stainless steel, sinker cypress wooden base, electronic components
The Illume Table Light encourages two people to share a moment of direct interaction once they set their two phones on its wooden charging base, which turns on the light. While the phones are charging, a soft light facilitates uninterrupted conversation.

Sam Newman MFA 2016 | Shellfone
materials: printed stainless steel, soaped white oak
Shellfone replicates the calming auditory phenomenon produced by holding a seashell against one’s ear, offering a moment of quiet attention amid the noise and distractions of daily life.

Kevin Saxon BFA 2015 | +1 Chair
material: quartersawn maple
The +1 Chair finds balance via the weight of two people working together for a common cause, thus encouraging a relationship of trust. The minimal amount of interaction and communication needed to sit securely emphasizes the power and value of face-to-face versus social media exchanges.

About ICFF®
With more than 700 exhibitors and 32,000 attendees from around the world, ICFF is North America’s premier global design showcase for contemporary interior furniture, seating, carpets and flooring, lighting, outdoor furniture, materials, wall coverings, accessories, textiles, kitchen and bath, and fabricators. The 27th annual ICFF runs from May 16–19, 2015, at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Visit icff.com for more information.

About RISD’s Department of Furniture Design
The Department of Furniture Design educates students in a broad range of design study areas delineated as FORM – furniture, objects, research and materials. Students develop conceptual and realization abilities by designing and building with real materials and at full scale. Through a sequenced curriculum, they investigate emerging challenges presented by new technologies, materials, economic and ecologic conditions, along with changes in societal patterns.