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Design School Confidential by Lita Talarico, Steven Heller

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(RAY)
Job:05-11998/12412 Title:RP-Design School Con dential
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Job:05-11998/12412 Title:RP-Design School Con dential
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project brief
“The primary focus of a chair is you can sit
in it, while its secondary function is to em-
body a set of aesthetics or values, or to com-
municatea message or opinion. The sec-
ondary functionof design is the primary
function of art: this is where the two cross over.”
—Angus Hyland, Pentagram, London
Portfolio Center’s “Modernism: History,
Criticism, and Theory” class explores design
history and criticism as a catalyst for new ideas.
You will be assigned a particular art movement
to research. You will then teach that period to
your classmates via lively presentations. There
is a long tradition of superlative theater in this
class; you’re expected to carry on that tradi-
tion. Next, you will consider how to design a
chair within the style and context of the design
movement. Most essential to this assignment is
that the chair integrates your own unique his-
tory and values, thus becoming a metaphor for
you as an individual in the world. This involves
drawing from private experience and handling
subject matter outside your comfort zone. You
will discover exactly what you’re made of as in-
dividuals, as artists, and as revolutionaries, be-
cause before these nine weeks are up, you must
design, research, and choose materials, create
models, and deliver your designs to be built.
project goal
Students are charged with combining the inspi-
ration from a randomly selected artistic move-
ment and a personal experience to create a
piece of furniture. Students must see the project
through, from conception to fabrication, work-
ing closely with the craftsmen who build their
chairs. Not only are the resulting chairs beau-
tiful metaphors, but they stand as testament to
the passion, commitment, and perseverance of
their designers.
Class: Modernism: History, Criticism and
Theory
Level: Third to Seventh Quarter
Faculty: Hank Richardson
Duration of Project: Nine Weeks
Portfolio Center
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Make a Chair
27
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Sister Chair / De Stijl
Student: Rachel Strubinger
Builder: Walt Wittman
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Impermanence/Futurism
Student: Christy Errico
Builder: Doug Turner
My chair represents change. The seat is supported by a delta, the
symbol of change. The shape loosely alludes to the infi nity sym-
bol and the idea that change is truly infi nite. The cushion is there
to provide comfort through change, because no matter how strong
we are, a little support during those periods never hurts. Finally,
the three dots on either side of the chair represent the three sets
of people who have been the only constants in my life besides
change: my grandparents, my parents, and my siblings. Remem-
bering that they are there with me somehow, physically or in spirit,
helps me to better embrace my journey.
Ï
EVO/Futurism
Student: Keith Oh
Builders: Michael Gilmartin, wood;
Andrew Crawford, metal
I moved to the United States
from South Korea when I was
young, and this chair repre-
sents my search for my own
voice. The legs represent my
roots and are arched to look
like a person kneeling. The
stripes stand for the infl uence
of Western culture. It doesn’t
have arms, so you have to push
yourself forward to get up. The
solid steel piece on top repre-
sents my backbone. Five pads
represent the different experi-
ences in my life, and the holes
in the pads look like cells, to
represent growth. Steel gives
the chair support but has a
heavy weight.
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Tolerance/Postmodern
Student: Julie Rado
Builder: Doug Turner
Inspired by a confl ict that
caused me to lose several
dear friends I grew up with,
this chair is a metaphor
for tolerance, or the ability
to consider different per-
spectives. I want viewers to
understand that everyone
has his or her own truth. Just as there is no “right” way to view
anything, there is no “right” way to sit in the chair. It’s made for
multiple people. Those who sit in it choose to do so; they choose
to deal with others sitting with them, shoulder to shoulder and
face to face.
the projects 127
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