Furniture Design at RISD

I am about to begin my new major this fall at RISD: Furniture Design. I was just thinking I would share a few of the pieces I have created.  This first bowl was created in my foundation 3d class.  I basically took a log from RISD grounds, drilled a bunch of holes into it, and then carved and smoothed the inside.  I would say I learned the first and most important thing about furniture from this project and that is; use good materials.  The log was rotten so it had holes I needed to patch (these are evidenced on the outside) and a giant crack through the middle.  Then I learned a lot about finish.  I used red spray paint for the inside and polyurethane on the outside.  See how glossy it all is?  that was intentional but I have since learned you can be much subtler with finishes.

These following boxes were made during a Wintersession course, "Metals for Furniture Design," and were basically my basic solution to creating something entirely from metal yet not making it too cheesy or industrial, in a short amount of time (6 weeks).  The first picture is the mock-up where I learned how I was going to make the boxes.
For me, what was cool about these boxes is that I made them entirely from scratch.  I had to design and fabricate hinges, handles, and latches.  This box was made to look as if it had been on a farm or something for 30 years by grinding down the paint and blackening the exposed metal. I also learned how to hammer-out a design.  By putting the truck on the lid I thought maybe a child's toy box, hmm?
This last box was the "final" design.  It has dividers in the inside the exact size of tubes of paint and a larger slot for paintbrushes.  Once again I fabricated all the hinges, handle, and latch, and of course the box as well.  The focus here was on the finish, I made as clean as possible all of the pieces and really learned how to effectively use spray paint to get an even finish.
This summer I have been interning at a framing shop, E. Gard Fine Framing, here in Portland.  In exchange for my help, Eric (shop owner) let me build a piece of furniture using his shop.  Once again I had little time (about 3 days) and couldn't really build a table or anything large, since I wanted to be able to bring it to school with me.  So, I decided I could use some drawers for my desk at school.  We decided we would focus on the finish of the piece, the knowledge Eric has on finishes is astounding; I once spent an entire day triple-coating spacers for frames (paint, sand, paint, sand, paint, steel wool).  So we put the piece together relatively fast in order to focus more time on the finish.
The whole thing is about 8 inches tall.  The finish is a lacquer mixed with polyurethane and turpentine to make it dry faster.  it has two coats in these photos but I intend to add one more.  It is extremely simple in construction and design, but this is for a purpose.  The proportions, like the green box above, are based on what is going inside it-pencils, pens, and markers.  The simple fact that the box's design is derived entirely from its function lends it, I think, a really calming, utilitarian feel.  Thanks for reading, more to come I'm sure!


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