Illustration students written up in Design Notes

rej ahmed bellini chair

A Commentary on Laziness, Rejwan Ahmed

There’s a great account of the collaboration between Parsons Illustration’s Bellini chair project and Design Within Reach in the most recent issue of DWR’s newsletter, Design Notes, which reaches a whopping 400,000 readers. Bradford Shellhammer discusses the genesis of the project and how it all plays out. Here’s an excerpt:

The class took some time to warm up to the chairs. Skateboards are instantly recognizable by undergrads, but most had yet to even purchase a new chair. [Kenna] Kay, who works by day as a creative director for TV Land, instructed them to research the history of the chair and follow up with a design statement. Steps were mapped out: Move from statement to sketch to model to final design. During each stage we met for a classroom critique. We talked openly and honestly about each idea and encouraged students to refine and better articulate their designs.

The first round of sketches included such diverse ideas as covering the chair in cushions and peacock feathers or attaching a bent spine to the chair to illustrate the negative impact a seated position can have on the human back. Some ideas were political and thought provoking, others were purely decorative. Some students had impressive concepts from day one, while others grew stronger and stronger with each passing week. Some ideas stuck (the chair with the spine) and some fell by the wayside (sayonara, peacock feathers), but all have remained truly original. The designs are as diverse as the students who created them.

Read the entirety of Bradford’s account, as well as see more images of the students’ work, in Design Notes and don’t forget about the exhibition of the completed chairs, which opens with a reception on December 12th and continues through January 20th.

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