Twelve Roger Williams and Rhode Island School of Design students participated this Summer 1 Session in an Architecture graduate seminar on Furniture Design, taught by Visiting Professor Carl Safe of the Sam Fox School of Design at Washington University, one of the US’s leading art, architecture and design schools. Safe described:
“The defining characteristic of this design course is that the final product is not a representation of a proposal, it is the proposal. This is a course about making. Architects are in the business of designing beautiful environments, spaces, places and objects because we know something but more importantly, because we believe something. This is an opportunity to design and make a beautiful object that is born of a set of intentions (what you believe) and has meaning beyond the fact that you made it.
We focus on tables specifically because, intrinsically, so few demands are placed on them. Almost anything is, or can be, a table. The tailgate of a pick up, a blanket on the grass, all satisfy.
The seminar began by making multiple design proposals in drawing (sketch) and physical model form and continued through design development using models at several scales. Students experimented with wood led by Safe and Thom Perlmutter from the School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management, and then produced a complete set of construction documents before beginning construction. Students designed, developed and built a table made of wood that does not exceed 30” in any dimension.