Ross School - Senior Project 2006-07
Mentor: Christopher Engel
Consultant: Andi Toro
Domain: Visual Arts
Title: Max i Co. Furniture Design
I designed a collection of self inspired pieces of Furniture, that correspond with the mentality of the 21st centuryŐs ideas on Modern Design. I designed 10 pieces, and made a miniature prototype of each. As research I looked into the past of furniture design from 3000 B.C. to present date, and wrote a paper showing the change through time. For my final product I took one of my designs and built a production prototype: a coffee table out of Stainless Steel and Frosted Glass. This project consisted of conceptual thinking, designing, knowledge and research, which in the end lead me to let go and create.
I have had several viewings of my table throughout December 2006 until the exhibition set up date, because it was set up in my Parents gallery in Sag Harbor. In the gallery I had a viewing night for several of my parents clients, and they have found the skill that I have quite amazing for the age I am. So that made me feel very happy about what I created.
Since the beginning of Senior Project, in May, I have been looking forward to brainstorming, designing and creating in the months to come. It was a long few months of agony and enjoyable moments, and the final product was very rewarding. Though it did take work to get there. I had to answer several questions before I started on my project; Who will my mentor be? What will my product be? Why am I doing this project?
I chose a mentor for my project who I knew would guide me in art but not at all restrict me in what I wanted to do. Therefore, I chose Christopher Engel as my mentor, which was to date the wisest and best choice I could have made. As my mentor he didnŐt just play the role of making sure my project would meet the deadline, but he was the one who challenged me. He made sure I would have an idea behind everything I did, and challenged me so that I wont get caught naked once the presentation comes around.
Though on the agenda at the time being was my process and my product. I designed a collection of self inspired pieces of Furniture, that correspond with the mentality of the 21st centuryŐs ideas on Modern Design. I designed 10 pieces, and made a miniature prototype of each. As research I looked into the past of furniture design from 3000 B.C. to present date. For my final product I took one of my designs and built a production prototype: a coffee table out of Stainless Steel and Frosted Glass.
As I came up with my project I set myself some goals; I wanted to see a design from beginning to end. Not merely creating a model and leaving it at that, but to bring something into full-scale, to be appreciated by people on a grand scale. I also set out to seek the definition of design. Still on the quest for what it really is, I found that it has to do with however the artist views design. A screw in the wall that is three times covered in paint is still a design, except the world never notices it. So there is no definition, and never will be.
Even though each era in time defines a specific theme it is never a definition. Such as the Bauhaus era, the most interesting design era for me, where Ňform is function.Ó Just a set of three words set enough guidelines for architects to build buildings and design furniture that were both revolutionary and one of a kind. This is what I tried following in my project, to copy nothing, and to create my own ideas.
I found this harder to do then one would think, because even though my designs are one of a kind, my table has the same lines as Le CorbusierŐs chaise lounge, and Alvar Altos cart. This was completely un-intentional, but slight enough to show that design takes its course of evolution using the traits of prior designs. Finding this out was worth the project itself, that as much as you cant admit it, history will be seen in the future of design, and as original as your design might be it still contains the soul of the architects that came before you.
Annotated Works Consulted
Byars, Mel. The best tables, chairs, lights: Innovation and invention in design products for the home. Switzerland: RotoVision SA, 2006. This book looks into the design of the 20th century. It looks specifically at the best table, chair and light designs and tells the reader what materials were used, how it was constructed. As well as it containing visual aids, such as plans, pictures of fabrication or just of the object itself.
Crochet, Treena. DesignerŐs Guide to Furniture Styles. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc., 1999. This is a book that doesnŐt look at the designers and designs itself. It looks at the features of furniture; a tables legs, the role symbols play in designs. This book shows how each feature is a design, and can be seen as an aesthetically pleasing in each style and period in time.
Fiel, Charlotte and Peter Fiel. 1000 Chairs. Koln: TASCHEN, 2005. Published by Taschen, a company that publishes books concerning the design and art world, 1000 Chairs creates a list that shows 1000 chairs in history that have left the world with the biggest imprint. Ranging from a 1860s Rocking chair to 21st century garden chair, it gives a description of each style, and how each evolves.
Hudson, Jennifer. 1000 new designs and where to find them. United Kingdom: Laurence King Publishing Limited, 2006. A catalog in book form, 1000 new designs and where to find them is mainly a book that collects and collages the latest new and trendy designs, and tells the reader where you can buy the piece. Occasionally spread throughout the book are interviews with several famous designers who answer questions about their designs, design in general and their favorite pieces.
Miller, Judith. Furniture: World Styles From Classical To Contemporary. New York: DK Publishing, 2005. A large reference book that includes a more of a reference to European and American classical and contemporary styles. It is a historical catalog which shows the reader what style a piece is, what its features are and what it represents. It sees furniture as more an art form as a design.
Pina, Leslie. Furniture in History: 3000 B.C.-2000 A.D.. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc., 2003. This book shows the whole world or furniture as we know it in a small but exact glimpse. It starts broad to chronologies the whole history of furniture as well as to establish key ideas. Then going deeper into key movements that are now recognized and not recognized. As well as understanding what evolved and why.
Russel, Frank, et. al. A Century of Chair Design. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1980. The only design that has so many alternatives in the world today is the chair. It can be solved in every way possible, but it will always serve the same purpose. A century of Chair Design shows that this is true, and it marks the evolutions in changes throughout time. From going to handcrafting to mass fabrication, what changed in the looks but never in purpose.
Community Member (Details)
My community member was Andi Toro. He is the owner of a metal workshop in Sag Harbor, by the name of Toro Tool and Die. He is one of the only few remaining people in the Hamptons that can really be referred to as a true genius and artisan. He has a better skill then machines and produces better products, and is truly one of the last people to be in his industry that does everything with his hands. Thanks to that I found him as my community member and he couldnŐt have been more willing and helpful then he was for my project.