Next week sees the Department of Furniture Design, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Milan at Ventura Lambrate with Transformations, projects that rework everyday objects into new innovative pieces.
With a mix of MFA and BFA 2012/13 graduates, the pieces created in Transformations are visually striking and it takes a while to work out what they are made from. ARTS THREAD investigates.
Snake Eye Vessel by Kristin Ross is a vessel created from transparent yellow dice. The dice have been glued together to form ‘a sheet material whose edges are joined at compound angles to form an irregular polyhedron. Every die facing towards the outside of the vessel features the number dot ‘one’. The transparency of the plastic allows the viewer to also see the number dots facing towards the inside of the vessel.’
Anna Fulton’s Mira Platform Stiletto is a seven-inch-high translucent wedge shoe inset with ‘artificial acrylic nails breaking through its cast surface. The upper casing of the stiletto is made out of a layered pattern of artificial nails painted in a gradation from red to nude.’
Katie Stout’s Tray Table is composed of ‘stacked, plastic cafeteria trays. The structure of the table with its undulating legs references a Victorian tray table. The removable trays of the top surface with their large curvilinear cutouts are unusable. This ornamental quality questions the utilitarian characteristic of the cafeteria tray, which is normally seen in an institutional setting to implement greater efficiency to the dining experience.’
190 terracotta flowerpots were used by Tyson Atwell for his Terra Light. ‘These flowerpots are secured to the perimeter of a white powder-coated sheet metal frame by their existing drain hole. The light from a single bulb radiates outward from the center to illuminate both the inside and outside of each pot. The three-dimensional texture created by these iconic clay pots glows in a striking orange-red hue.’
There are two more light designs on show, including Blind Light by Ian Stell that takes the humble wooden venetian blind and twists and drapes it as if it were fabric to create an organic and sculptural suspended form.
Scot Bailey’s Cup Light is made from disposable plastic cups that are ‘held horizontally enclosing a fluorescent tube. The movable outer cups act as a physical dimmer, modulating light as the user shifts them. The low cost plastic cups are transformed into a desirable, interactive lighting object.’
Iliahi Anthony’s Infectious Cocktail Dress is made from clinical facemasks and play on the sterile material in conflict with the ‘infectious’ sexy design of the minidress.
Communicable Seats by Jamie Wolfond consists of a pair of medical stools spiked with disposable syringes connected by surgical tubing. Sitting on the stool empties the syringe, thus acting as a metaphor for the spread of infection. This Little Piggy by Taylor McKenzie-Veal uses the lowly disposable bottle as a raw material and using a low-tech version of glass-blowing (a small oven, an air compressor and a plywood mould), the item becomes a vessel of value.
Project leader for Transformations, Lothar Windels says: ‘The objects in this exhibition should be viewed as thoughtful prototypes. Through a rigorous research process, students explored iconic everyday items beyond their conventional uses to create innovative furniture, light fixtures and objects. These explorations are pushing the boundaries of design and questioning the common marketplace.’