Last Friday we had the honor of visiting a graduate class of students at RISD with Meaghan O'Neill of Treehugger. The students were concentrating in different areas, but there was a majority of jewelry, furniture and graphic designers among them. The topic at hand was "What the hell is a blog?" and (really) how do young designers get out of their shells and hook into the greater design community both for marketing and inspiration.
The morning ended with a tour of the new student dorms in downtown Providence (very cool) and a first hand peak at the new dorm furniture designed by RISD professors. It has a sort of Mid-C Modern feeling to it and is very nice. It's very durable (for dorm use), and all of it is multi-functional and fits together with the other pieces in various ways. The bed is super cool with the way it can be positioned two ways (with more room underneath or less), and you have to wonder why no one has done this before. In addition, "the materials consist of bamboo, beech, sustainable 100% recycled polyester fabrics, and a new form of medium-density fiberboard made with non-toxic binders." We were told that all of it will be sold retail in the future.
Thanks to Ann Hudner and Katie Sheptyck, we received these beautiful images of the rooms and the furniture. All the info on them is below the jump. Enjoy.
RISD Faculty Members Design Innovative Green Furniture Line for New Student Residence Opening in September – Manufacturer to Market Collection Later This Fall Providence, RI – When over 500 students move into Rhode Island School of Design’s (RISD) new residence at 15 Westminster Street in downtown Providence this weekend, they’ll have some of the most sought after apartments in the city. The building itself — a converted historic bank with breathtaking views of Providence — is extraordinary. Inaddition, each room will be outfitted with furnishings designed by a team of RISD faculty members in Furniture Design. Known as DEZCO furniture design llc, the team consists of John Dunnigan (RISD MFA ’80 Industrial Design), Rosanne Somerson (RISD BFA ’76, Industrial Design), and Peter Walker. Together they have created Sage — a line of furnishings that not only meets the highest aesthetic, safety, and functional standards, but also uses sustainable materials. Manufactured by Massachusetts-based Adden Furniture, Inc., the line will soon be available for purchase by other institutions. This unprecedented collaboration came about when Brian Janes, RISD’s Director of Residence Life, went to Somerson, Head of the Furniture Design Department, for advice on how to go about choosing furnishings for the new residence. Based on her knowledge of the field, Somerson concluded that nothing on the institutional furniture market met RISD’s needs and suggested designing something new. Given the go-ahead, DEZCO got to work. In April ’04 DEZCO partners first discussed what was important to them individually as designers and how the furnishings could represent RISD’s values. “We thought about flexibility, innovation, elegant design, and most importantly sustainability. We really wanted to model good design and good design practices for our students,” said Somerson. DEZCO’s research and planning yielded furnishings that make use of contemporary, ecologically sensitive materials with a minimum of visible hardware or mechanisms, emphasize longevity and ease of repair, and are economical and efficient to manufacture. By early fall, DEZCO unveiled prototypes to a campus design review committee consisting of RISD faculty, staff, and students, whose feedback influenced the final designs. “Projects like this can help RISD utilize its own pool of design talent to address campus needs in a uniquely direct way,” Dunnigan says. “As faculty, we are able to respond to the needs of the community, demonstrating responsible design practices and offering tangible proof of our capabilities here at RISD.” The next step was to find a regional manufacturer — DEZCO was committed to supporting local business. They selected Adden Furniture, Inc., a 30-year-old company based in Lowell, Massachusetts with a reputation for quality and service. To complete the project for the September opening of RISD’s new dorm, DEZCO turned to Bergeron Enterprises of Assonet, Massachusetts for assistance manufacturing the soft-seating pieces. Recognizing a broader need, Adden is manufacturing not only RISD’s student residential furniture; the company has developed a new market segment, Virescent Furniture and Seating for Living and Meeting, which will widely market both the Sage line and an array of sustainable furnishings, beginning this fall. The Sage line includes a desk, chair, dining table, coffee table, end table, single bed, a double bed, a low loft bed, two styles of chests, an upholstered chair, and an upholstered 2-seater settee and 3-seater couch. The materials consist of bamboo, beech, sustainable 100% recycled polyester fabrics, and a new form of medium-density fiberboard made with non-toxic binders. About RISD’s Furniture Design Department Integrating design, craft, fine arts, and theory, the Department of Furniture Design is the most comprehensive undergraduate and graduate furniture design program in the United States. The department was formed in 1995 to elevate scholarship, research and practicewithin the furniture design field. The curriculum is structured and sequential, expanding from a materials, skills and theory foundation into areas of research and experimentation that address cultural, environmental and behavioral changes in society. About RISD Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has earned a worldwide reputation as the preeminent art and design college in the country. Today, with more than 17,000 alumni, the college enrolls roughly 1,900 undergraduates and 375 graduate students from the United States and almost 50 countries, offering degree programs in the fine arts, architecture, and design disciplines, and art education. Academic programs include research and design initiatives, the exploration of art criticism and contemporary cultural concerns, as well as international exchange programs. Each year, RISD hosts prominent and accomplished artists, critics, and authors to its campus. Included within the college is The RISD Museum of Art, which houses a world-class collection of art objects from Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome and art of all periods from Asia, Europe and the Americas, as well as the latest in contemporary art. For more information, go to www.risd.edu.