Furniture Design

Courses

  • Fall 2015

    ADVANCED FURNITURE STUDIO

    This a required studio for seniors that continues advanced theory and practice of furniture design. Upholstery techniques are introduced.
    Major requirement; Furniture majors only
    Registration by Furniture department, course not available via web registration

    CABINETS, DOORS AND DRAWERS

    This course will provide an opportunity for students to design and make cabinets of various types with doors and drawers. Students will learn the subtleties of casework and fitting doors, drawers and hardware. While a wide range of design approaches from very simple to complex will be encouraged, this course will be an especially good opportunity for those students who wish to explore advanced woodworking.
    Elective; Furniture majors only

    CAD MODELING FOR FURNITURE DESIGNERS

    This course will provide students with a high level of competency and an increased sensitivity to the creative potential that CAD modeling presents to designers. Students will be introduced to the fundamental concepts and technologies of CAD using Rhinoceros. There will be expenses associated with outputting services (printing, rapid prototyping and/or CNC machining).
    Elective

    DESIGN & PROCESSES

    The junior studio expands and interprets the skills and concepts introduced in the sophomore studio. The primary focus of the semester is an experimentally based investigation of bending and forming techniques - molded plywood, bent lamination, steam bending, and vacuum-formed plastic. While focused on the use of wood and plastic materials, an experimental approach is expected in the studio. Students are encouraged to conceptually explore skills and materials to develop a personal design approach and studio practice. The semester culminates in a final design, in which students utilize learned techniques to create one-offs, objects intended for batch production or prototypes designed for production.
    Major requirement; Furniture majors only
    Registration by Furniture department, course not available via web registration

    DRAWING FURNITURE 2-D

    Drawing for Furniture 2D will focus on the ways in which drawing can help generate, evaluate and communicate design concepts. Students will be introduced to the conventions and techniques of technical drawing for Furniture Design while pursuing experiments that supplement and challenge established practices. Focus will be on two drawing systems, orthographic and paraline projection, working by hand and with computers.
    Major requirement; Furniture majors only
    Registration by Furniture department, course not available via web registration
    Mayline Rental: $150.00

    FORM IN METALS

    In this junior studio students are presented with the idea of using metal to develop furniture forms. While the primary metal used to investigate form is mild steel, properties and techniques are also presented that apply to stainless steel, aluminum, copper, brass and bronze. Students become proficient in TIG welding, and are introduced to arc welding, spot welding, gas welding, brazing and soldering. Basic structural properties of steel are investigated through a series of short projects designed to inform students of the appropriate forms and applications. Basic and more advanced fabrication techniques, metal surface treatments, as well as metal finishing are also topics of class demonstrations.
    Major requirement; Furniture majors only
    Registration by Furniture department, course not available via web registration

    FURNITURE THESIS SEMINAR

    This graduate seminar is organized in parallel with the Graduate Furniture Design Thesis studio for the purpose of guiding the written thesis document. The goal is to provide students with a focused opportunity to map their thesis projects and to create the document that supports their studio practice and body of work known as the thesis.
    CoRequisite: FURN-246G

    GRADUATE FURNITURE DESIGN I

    This course concentrates on the exploration of personal design aesthetics and the development of furniture projects that exhibit a high degree of technical proficiency.
    Graduate major requirement; Furniture majors only
    Registration by Furniture department, course not available via web registration

    GRADUATE FURNITURE DESIGN III

    This course concentrates on projects that begin the thesis body of work. Advanced design and technical processes are continued as part of this process.
    Graduate major requirement; Furniture majors only
    Registration by Furniture department, course not available via web registration

    PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE AND PORTFOLIO

    This class will focus on professional presentation with regards to all aspects of your work including visual portfolio, artist statement, resume and clear articulate correspondence. With a basic understanding of what you are trying to achieve combined with a philosophy of how you will achieve it, this course will help equip you with the foundation to deal with the business of making a living from your art.
    Major requirement; Furniture majors only
    Registration by Furniture department, course not available via web registration

    RESEARCH ELECTIVE

    Students will research specific furniture themes and materials in a variety of contexts including external partnerships.
    Major required elective with adequate wood studio experience
    Permission of department head required

    SOPHOMORE STUDIO METHODS

    This studio course introduces materials commonly used in furniture making and the foundation skills necessary to integrate them into furniture. Emphasis is on techniques, structures and materials properties. These are integrated with theoretical exercises that focus on design.
    Major requirement; Furniture majors only
    Registration by Furniture department, course not available via web registration
    Tool Rental: $150.00

    Wintersession 2016

    COGNITIVE SCIENCES AND DESIGN: THINKING FOR HUMAN SCALE OBJECTS

    This class explores connections between creative practices and contemporary research into perceptual phenomena in the human senses, many of which are surprisingly different from what we assume, and will modify the way we think about designing for people.
    As our consideration of design conditions such as perceived values, actual fine scale interactive properties, and human-object behavior all evolve, its helpful to deepen our understanding of these complex and meaningful topics, including contemporary visual cognition, sound, optics, haptics and understanding complex systems. There are components of language, drawing and vernacular knowledge systems connected with these other 'energy' related questions.
    The class will combine a series of five prepared seminar/presentations with personally devised assignments that build upon a chosen aspect of a student's studio interests:
    . human vision and light
    . sound, audio and analog/digital challenges
    . touch, haptic intelligence and the hand
    . strategies for emergent knowledge building
    . cumulative Q+A seminar with visiting specialist
    Students will produce experiential and conceptual studies clearly developed from one or more of the class strands. Class outcomes can be directly connected with an individual's studio or thesis work, or can be freestanding studies connected to the overall theme of 'how materials and structures support human experience and need'.
    Open to juniors and above

    EXPERIMENTS IN FIBER COMPOSITES

    This studio aims to facilitate student exploration into self-driven research and creation of new material composites utilizing natural fibers. Most natural structures are made out of fibrous matrixes, fixed in place by resins, while many industrial processes today are still created by heat-molded petroleum products. Fiber composites have the potential to be lighter, stronger, and far more ecologically sustainable than their plastic counterparts. The research and practice of utilizing natural fiber composites grows increasingly important in the contemporary economical and environmental context making this an exciting area for academic research and hands-on exploration.
    After this course, students will have a better understanding of recent history and trends in alternative materials. They will understand the concept of self-supporting structures and the use of bidirectional curves in 3D design. Students will develop and research experimental material combinations, experience constructions with different structural schemes, learn the appropriate structural scheme for its specific context, as well as to start thinking about biologically-friendly material alternatives that can be incorporated into various design solutions.

    EXPLORING UPHOLSTERY FROM THE BASICS TO THE EXTREME

    This course will focus on the art of upholstery design. It will teach the basics of traditional techniques and materials; cover historic influences; and explore methods used in mass production. The course will also examine extreme upholstery and the use of nontraditional materials and unconventional methods. There will be an emphasis on ergonomics including shaping, angles, and scale and how upholstery transforms the frame and affects the user. This is a hands-on class and will include multiple upholstery projects culminating in a full-scale final project.

    Estimated Cost of Material: $100.00
    Elective for Majors; Open to Nonmajors.
    Permission of instructor required

    INTRODUCTION TO FURNITURE

    This course will be an introduction to the skills and techniques for furniture design. The primary focus will be on developing innovative concepts through drawing and model-making. Simple hand tool techniques and basic woodworking machinery will be introduced. Exercises in sketching, model-making and various design strategies will aid in developing an understanding of materials and processes, culminating in two substantial products. Through a series of informative presentations, hands-on lectures, technical demonstrations, and short project assignments, students will explore the relationships between concepts, techniques and built objects.

    METALS FOR FURNITURE DESIGN

    This course is an appropriate introduction to furniture design in metal. The goal of this course is to introduce students to the basic techniques of metal fabrication as they apply to furniture design. Design issues will be resolved through a series of drawings and models and welding skills will be honed through several preliminary projects. Students will be expected to complete a piece of furniture.
    Estimated Material Cost: $75.00

    PLAYING WITH YOUR FOOD

    This course looks across two disciplines, food and furniture, finding places of intersection to establish a common ground and uncover distinctions, which help define the identity of each field. We begin with an exploration of the tools used to acquire and prepare food. Students research a specific activity related to gathering and cooking. The investigation looks beyond the supermarket into cultural, historical, and ecological aspects. This creates the foundation for the design and creation of a tool that responds to the immediate needs and challenges of the activity while also communicating aspects of its origin.
    The second project looks at the role objects and design can play in the way we present and serve food to others. Ray Eames was known to serve guests "Visual Delights" of nonedible flower arrangements for desert, taking the adage that "we eat with our eyes first" quite literally. Students select a food or food sharing tradition and design an object for its presentation. We look closely at the sensory, material and aesthetic interactions between the food and the object to develop a deeper understanding of the subtle influence of objects.
    Throughout the semester we keep a record of our own food habits and object encounters that can serve as a means of investigation and archive. Using a series of field trips, lectures, discussions, and guest speakers, this course looks at how both furniture and food emerge from and contribute to our current culture and identity. We discuss the ways in which each has the potential to reflect upon the other and examine parallels within emergent trends. This in depth examination of the themes of food and furniture, objects and behavior allows students to design and create objects that address specific situations and needs while developing skills that are applicable across a wide variety of scales within the discipline of furniture design.

    Spring 2016

    DESIGN & PROCESSES

    The junior studio expands and interprets the skills and concepts introduced in the sophomore studio. The primary focus of the semester is an experimentally based investigation of bending and forming techniques - molded plywood, bent lamination, steam bending, and vacuum-formed plastic. While focused on the use of wood and plastic materials, an experimental approach is expected in the studio. Students are encouraged to conceptually explore skills and materials to develop a personal design approach and studio practice. The semester culminates in a final design, in which students utilize learned techniques to create one-offs, objects intended for batch production or prototypes designed for production.
    Major requirement; Furniture majors only
    Registration by Furniture department, course not available via web registration

    DESIGN FOR PRODUCTION

    Long known as the "Beehive" of industry, Providence RI is one of the most diverse manufacturing hubs in the US. Although today's global market continues to absorb these resources, Providence has retained a highly skilled manufacturing center that is eager to work with the creative arts. This rare resource provides designers the unique ability to work locally with manufacturing re-sources from traditional lost wax casting to emerging manufacturing technologies such as laser cutting, multi-axis cnc, and rapid prototyping. Throughout the course we will visit manufacturing, marketing, and retail facilities to develop a working understanding of production processes and methods available to you and how best to effectively implement these resources into your work as a designer/artist. The studio course will conclude with each student presenting a finished production ready object in multiples along with supporting marketing materials. By approaching this class from a design, manufacturing, and marketing perspective students will acquire a practical knowledge of production strategies essential to the success of a designer today.
    Permission of instructor required
    Elective

    DRAWING FURNITURE 3-D

    This course continues drawing and concept development techniques, sketching with three-dimensional models, mock-ups and prototypes. Working in several scales and levels of articulation, students will expand pre-visualization and detailing skills. Basics of 3-D computer simulation will also be introduced.
    Major requirement; Furniture majors only
    Registration by Furniture department, course not available via web registration

    FLEXIBLE TECHNOLOGY: TENSION & TURNING IN SPINDLE-BACK CHAIR DESIGN AND CONTRUCTION

    Learn the theory of Windsor Chairs and how the use of wood in tension can create a chair like no other. This class will cover techniques necessary to the Windsor system of building while working through design decisions that will culminate in a completed chair. Students are encouraged to embrace process and parameters in a direct and hands-on manner. Through small projects, students will learn how to balance wood strength, aesthetics, joint strength and ergonomic considerations. These principles will be applied to a carefully considered, finished chair.
    Topics covered will include: selection of wood, turning, seat carving, complex radial layout, several types of joinery, and finish techniques.
    Elective: Furniture majors only
    Junior and above
    Estimated Cost of Materials: $200
    Fee: $60

    FORM IN METALS

    In this junior studio students are presented with the idea of using metal to develop furniture forms. While the primary metal used to investigate form is mild steel, properties and techniques are also presented that apply to stainless steel, aluminum, copper, brass and bronze. Students become proficient in TIG welding, and are introduced to arc welding, spot welding, gas welding, brazing and soldering. Basic structural properties of steel are investigated through a series of short projects designed to inform students of the appropriate forms and applications. Basic and more advanced fabrication techniques, metal surface treatments, as well as metal finishing are also topics of class demonstrations.
    Major requirement; Furniture majors only
    Registration by Furniture department, course not available via web registration

    GRADUATE FURNITURE DESIGN II

    This course explores advanced design processes and methods of construction. The evolution of a project through a complete design process is required including conceptual and design development phases.
    Graduate major requirement; Furniture majors only
    Registration by Furniture department, course not available via web registration

    GRADUATE FURNITURE DESIGN SEMINAR

    The graduate seminar is a forum for discussion and research outside of the studio setting. Through a series of topical investigations, lectures, presentations, and field trips, students will explore current design issues, professional practices, directions, and developments within the field, and other topics that will help to formulate the basis of the graduate thesis work.
    Graduate major requirement; Furniture majors only
    Registration by Furniture department, course not available via web registration
    Elective for senior, fifth-year; Nonmajors with permission of instructor

    GRADUATE FURNITURE DESIGN THESIS

    This course culminates the completion of the thesis body of works and accompanying written document.
    Graduate major requirement; Furniture majors only
    Registration by Furniture department, course not available via web registration

    HISTORY OF FURNITURE

    A survey of the development of furniture and a critical assessment of styles of each period. Considerable time will be spent studying the collection of the RISD museum. The course will include lecture, papers, field trips, and exams.
    Major requirement
    Art History credit for Furniture majors
    Liberal Arts elective credit for nonmajors on a space available basis
    Non majors permission of instructor required
    Spring restricted to students in Furniture Design

    LIGHTING DESIGN 101

    Lighting design is an ever-growing category of furniture and product design, constantly evolving alongside technological advances in available lamp hardware. This hands-on course is an opportunity for students to explore the various types of lamp options, including incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, and LED. Students are first provided with the technical skills and safety factors involved in creating and wiring a lamp, to adding more complicated items such as switches, dimmers, and hardware, and finally moving on to designing and creating a body of functional lighting pieces. We will cover various lamp typologies (sconces, floor lamps, table lamps, chandeliers, pendants, etc), as well as light as art through installation and sculpture. Students are encouraged to work in a variety of materials and scales, developing their designs from sketches, models, and renderings, to a fully realized object. Designs will evolve through in-class discussions, pin-ups, and critiques. This class will focus on the design and fabrication of lighting as an object in a space, rather than the lighting of a space.
    Estimated Material Cost: $50.00 - $100.00
    Permission of instructor required
    Elective for Majors and Non-Majors

    SENIOR DEGREE PROJECT

    Seniors will complete their final portfolio works in this studio. Seniors will design and execute a final degree project. The degree project will be individualized according to student interest.
    Major requirement; Furniture majors only
    Registration by Furniture department, course not available via web registration

    SOPHOMORE DESIGN/PRACTICE

    This sophomore studio expands basic principles of furniture design and material skills, exploring how the made objects interact with the human body. Intermediate skills will be demonstrated and practiced as students further explore materials and their applications in design.
    Major requirement; Furniture majors only
    Registration by Furniture department, course not available via web registration