Furniture Projects

This year, our furniture pieces presented at Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2015 have been chosen from two Art Center Topic Studios: Craft Work and Confronting Comfort. Topic Studios are advanced design studios created for upper-term students to explore the different areas within the field of environmental design. These classes assist students in developing their individual interests within the field and help to build their personal voice as they move through their educational experience.

Although the specific content varies from term to term, Studios often focus on topics like furniture design, lighting design, residential design, retail design, hospitality design and branding strategies. These studios often explore ideas relevant to current trends in the field. Topic studios may be held as funded educational projects in which corporations sponsor the class and participate side by side with students and instructors to simulate real world design projects.

Environmental Design Topic Studio: Craft Work / Objects for Living
Faculty: David Mocarski and John Ford

Many different trends are currently driving furniture and fixture design. We have witnessed the growing relationship between craft and modern design. Once two separate disciplines far removed from each other, they are now strongly influencing each other. Materials, making practices, processes and manufacturing are blurring boundaries and creating new opportunities for crossover object design. Appreciation of materials and making is driving a new focus on home furnishings. Increasing interest in other areas of living such as Slow Food, Farm to Table and the Makers Movement are turning a sharper eye to what is purchased for use in the home. Home is our sanctuary. It is where we decompress from the world. It is where we make connection to family and friends. The furniture and fixtures we surround ourselves with have to perform and reflect the experiences we expect from our homes. Issues of comfort, performance, interactivity and community can be greatly elevated by strong choices of materials, surfaces, proportion, mobility and flexibility. As designers, it is our role to identify design opportunities for how the experience of home can be enhanced.

Environmental Design Topic Studio: Confronting Comfort
Faculty: David Mocarski and Nolen Niu

This semester we will explore the many interpretations of humanity’s ideas and definitions around “What is comfort?” Comfort as a state of being relaxed and feeling no pain; “he is a man who enjoys his comfort”; “she longed for the comfortableness of her armchair.”

To explore this area of interest we must ask many questions: Has our idea of comfort or comfortable changed over the decades? How do we judge, measure and insure comfort? What benefits does it provide and what areas of improvement could there be? As culture evolves, how do style, trend and history inform how we think and what we feel about comfort? Does something have to be soft to be comfortable? Is it the way something looks or is it the ergonomics of the actual sit that informs our impressions? Which drivers provide physical benefit and which are only a myth of history and culture? Do we need comfort and why do we need things to be comfortable? What role does comfort play in our day-to-day lives? Does comfort have a style or is it a state of mind? Over the course of the semester we will be asking, exploring and investigating the many questions and needs of the role of comfort in our contemporary culture.