ICFF 2024: Material Opulence by RISD Furniture Design Students

ICFF 2024: Material Opulence by RISD Furniture Design Students

What is luxury, and can luxury be…generous? Historically, ideals of luxury were more embedded in geography or a “who you were/who you weren’t” paradigm. Luxury was (and is) largely a custom within some pre-determined social and economic structure. But, Furniture Design students at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) are offering a vibrant and much more inclusive re-imagining of grandeur at this year’s ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan at the Javits Center during NYCxDesign 2024.

Material Opulence by RISD students

Material Opulence is a warm and welcoming collection of functional chairs and domestic objects created by students that incorporates an expansive range of materials. Look closely and you will see materials ranging from aluminum, indigo and OSB (Oriented Strand Board) to paper and ceramics.

Material Opulence is an unapologetic proposal from the RISD Furniture Design students for new ways of seeing, making, and living in the world. All of the students who have work featured in Material Opulence are part of a collective envisioning of “a present and a future that prioritizes generativity, equity, and sustainability over extraction, suppression, and competition.”

Pulp Table Lamp by Samuel Aguirre

Take for instance Pulp Table Lamp by Samuel Aguirre. This lamp, an homage to the handmade paper-making craft traditions, is made of handmade paper, muslin, cornstarch, and a lighting assembly with its own lifecycle organically built into its design. The designer writes Pulp Lamp “will last as long as you’d like indoors and compost in less than one year at end of life.”

These RISD students are “employing craft as an act of generosity rather than a labor commodity, understanding materiality as a means of synergizing with our earthly habitat and embracing utility as a layered invitation to engage critically with our surroundings and collective context.”

Material Opulence by RISD Furniture Design students

Material Opulence includes Pulp Table Lamp by Samuel Aguirre MFA 24 FD, I Thought You Would Like It by Jonathan Dinetz 24 FD, Step-Stool XL by Yining Ge 24 FD, Lounge Chair by Cooper Goldman MFA 24 FD, Taxidermy Tree by Cameron Lasson 24 FD, 60 E Transit by Anuj Malla MFA 24 FD, Baked Stool by Jumana Motiwala MFA 25 FD, Plastic Chair by August Ostrow 25 FD, A Hint of Cherry by Palm Paramee Panchaphalasom 25 FD, Crumple Chair by Oscar Walsh 25 FD, Indigo as Language – Bench by Ziyan Wang 24 FD and Stick Stool 60 by Kira Wilson 24 FD.

Lounge Chair by Cooper Goldman

As part of their studies in the Furniture Design department, RISD students work through theory, skills, context, research, and professional practices. The Furniture Design department emphasizes a deep context of furniture design, but also includes a tradition on the social value of art.

60 E Transit Street by Anuj Malla

The school encourages student designers to think thoughtfully about what responsible citizenship looks like while becoming a working artist and design professional. Material Opulence seems, in that way, to be part of their core curriculum.

Stick Stool 60 and Step-Stool XL in situ

Material Opulence is on view at the WantedDesign Manhattan Booth W875 from May 19-21, 2024.

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