Live@ICFF Schools: Yale School of Architecture

The Yale School of Architecture isn’t exactly known for producing industrial designers. (It’s the Yale School of  Architecture, after all.) But Joshua Rowley, who cotaught the elective seminar “Chair as Crucible,” which had students design and build a one-off seat in a semester, thinks the unfamiliarity of the form might have been a good thing. “They feel a little more like there’s nothing to lose,” he says. “We’re trying to get back to the original idea of the architect who designs everything.” The students were asked to take forms they were already working with in their building projects and explore them on a smaller scale. Andrea Vittadini, for instance, created Seated Chair (it appears to be kneeling) with thin, tubular legs that match the vertical strands of a facade he designed. Jacquelyn Hawkin’s CNC-milled Arm Chair (below)—narrow, black, and dour—wouldn’t look out of place in Sauron’s den or in her own building designs, which are full of jutting corners and unforgiving curves. Rowley says it’s “something that seems a bit dangerous but turns out to be comfortable.”

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Julianne August-Schmidt’s Coyote Chair (top), a Bertoia-ish affair created from a CNC-milled Styrofoam mold, has an even more ringing endorsement: Bob Stern, the school’s eminent dean, was photographed sitting deep in its seat, his eyes closed, his arms outstretched, and a look of profound contentment on his face.

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