Furniture Design

Undergraduate

  • BFA | 4-year program

    Undergraduates in Furniture Design embark on a course of study encompassing theory, skills, context, research and professional practices. Drawing from a rich tradition, they are encouraged to experiment and work with a wide range of emerging materials and technologies, developing individual voices through the process of making. The program emphasizes the principles and practice of furniture design as well as the social value of art, design and responsible citizenship.

  • Inspiring Community

    Approximately 75 undergraduates in Furniture Design work in close proximity with a dozen or more graduate students, sharing respect and support for each other’s work. As practicing professionals, faculty mentors are also fully engaged with the development of each student’s work, offering constructive feedback and advice as skill levels advance and students become increasingly more fluent in expressing their ideas through the medium of furniture and related 3D objects.

  • Learning Environment

    In addition to working in the wood shop and other dedicated studio spaces on campus, Furniture Design majors are often invited to present work at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York and the Salone Internazionale del Mobile (International Furniture Fair) in Milan, Italy. These opportunities offer an invaluable introduction to the industry, along with exposure to some of the best furniture designers in the world. Furniture Design majors also have opportunities to create original designs for studio partners beyond the realm of furniture manufacturers, with recent projects completed for Swarovski crystals and Steinway pianos, among others.

  • Curriculum

    In beginning the program, sophomores learn to achieve technical competency with a range of materials and their applications, and to develop design processes for evolving concepts through both models and built pieces. Juniors are encouraged to experiment in the course of researching new materials and technologies, various types of furniture and other 3D objects, and issues relating to the human factors of design.

    Foundation Studies

    • Fall
    • Drawing I
    • Design I
    • Spatial Dynamics I
    • Liberal Arts courses
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Drawing II
    • Design II
    • Spatial Dynamics II
    • Liberal Arts courses
     

    Sophomore

    • Fall
    • Sophomore Studio Methods
    • Drawing for Furniture 2D + 3D
    • Open elective
    • Liberal Arts elective
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Sophomore Design Practice
    • Drawing for Furniture 2D + 3D
    • History of Furniture
    • Open elective
    • Liberal Arts elective
     

    Junior

    • Fall
    • Junior Studio I
    • Research elective
    • Open elective
    • Liberal Arts elective
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Junior Studio II
    • Open electives
    • Liberal Arts elective
     

    Senior

    • Fall
    • Advanced Furniture Studio
    • Open lective
    • Liberal Arts elective
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Senior Degree Project
    • Professional Practice/Portfolio
    • Open elective
    • Liberal Arts elective
     

  • Thesis Project

    In the final year, seniors focus on professional practices and create a final body of work that demonstrates a high level of understanding of the principles of furniture design while simultaneously expressing their own vision and aesthetic strengths.

  • Application Requirements

    1. application form + fee
    2. official academic transcripts
    3. test scores: SAT or ACT and TOEFL or IELTS if English is not your first language
    4. portfolio of work 12–20 examples
    5. drawings 2 RISD-assigned samples
    6. writing samples 2 RISD-assigned pieces
    7. optional: letters of recommendation 1–3 suggested

    All freshman applicants apply to RISD as opposed to a specific department and begin with a required year of Foundation Studies. Students select a major midway through the first year but don’t begin those programs until sophomore year.

    For more information or to begin the application process, visit the Apply page.