May 18, 201102:32 PMPoint of View
Learning to Take the Lead
The Perm Chair, by Eun Sang Ernie Lee.Misha Kahn's Entrapment Table. The Pratt exhibit was the market-ready one, and that’s probably because of their collaboration with the Italian furniture design firm Capellini. The students were delighted by the totally open design brief set for them by Capellini, with a broad theme of “Perpetual Motion.” It was very clear from their exhibit that they'd had a lot of fun with it. Wang I Chao’s Chair with a Belly Button is actually just a white, plump, chair seat. Carry it around, and add it to any available surface—the floor, a stack of books, a countertop. Dana Oxiles played on the “perpetual” by folding humble chipboard into stools that will gradually show signs of wear and tear, marking the passage of time. Wang I Chao's Chair with Belly Button. Dana Oxiles's Chipboard Stools. Metropolis usually works with emerging designers to design a booth for ICFF, but this time we offered it as a semester-long project at Parsons. After all, creating a booth can be an amazing learning experience – there is a space to be planned, displays and furniture to be both designed and produced, and everything has to tell the client’s story. In a studio led by designer David Stark, architecture, interior design, lighting design, and product design students worked together to conceive and build a booth for our 30th year of publishing Metropolis. Their booth was an homage to print. Inspired by our 30th Anniversary logo, three walls enclosed the space, each one in the color of a printing ink: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The walls were constructed of thick yarn wrapped around metal frames, and topped with some of our best magazine covers. The students were really hands-on-- they budgeted the project, worked with furniture makers, and even planned how the booth would be dismantled. The work paid off: our colorful home at ICFF got us a lot of attention. And as with all the student exhibits, our young designers from Parsons were there throughout to explain their ideas to visitors. The ICFF editor’s award for the best School exhibit didn’t go to a design program, but to an elementary school. The Tools at Schools exhibit, which we featured here, warmed our hearts because the students were so earnest and enthusiastic, but it also presented a groundbreaking model for design collaborations. Indeed, each of the school projects indicated new directions to the professionals at ICFF. The students dealt with technology, sustainability, and changing lifestyles in a fresh but pragmatic way that we might have much to learn from.