RIT industrial design students earn massive presence at Design Week in New York City

Winners of Metaproject 03 will be part of exclusive exhibit at Javits Center May 18-21

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Industrial design students in the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences pose with judges in Student Innovation Hall, where choices were made about projects to display at “Design Week” in New York City from May 18 to 21.

The results of an interdisciplinary and collaborative design project between RIT and Areaware, a world-renowned avant-garde accessories manufacturer, are headed to “Design Week” in New York City later this week.

Twenty-two industrial design students in RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences will exhibit their work from Metaproject 03 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 18 to 21 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.

Metaproject 03, held last February in RIT’s Student Innovation Hall, featured students from industrial design presenting their concepts for a universal toy to Areaware.

“Each student was required to explore properties of wood and its use as a primary material in object construction,” says Josh Owen, associate professor and industrial program chair, who taught the course with assistance from David Strauss, a graduate industrial design student. “Students then responded with inventive proposals to explore the meaning and notion of the way toys integrate into contemporary cultures and lifestyles.”

Areaware designers and industry leaders judged course results. The top projects will be on display this week at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), which is held in conjunction with Design Week, beginning Saturday.

ICFF is one of the most visible annual international design-related events in the United States, featuring more than 550 exhibitors displaying such things as contemporary furniture, lighting, outdoor furniture, kitchen and bath accessories for residential and commercial interiors.

RIT is among a select few universities and design schools showcased at the event, which also includes numerous lectures and presentations held onsite during the fair and hundreds of off-site events taking place at venues throughout New York City and Brooklyn.

Metaproject, developed by Owen in 2010 as an industrial design course with an industry partnership placing student output into a global venue, is now in its third year. Owen says the relationship with Areaware came about during his previous collaborations with the accessories manufacturer.

“I had designed several items for Areaware in the past so we knew one another well,” Owen says. “We were discussing methods for them to ‘discover’ the next generation of American designers when I suggested that they sponsor a Metaproject.”

Owen says RIT will publish a case-study book chronicling the methodology and output from this year’s course to shed light on the students’ design process. The “Design is One” philosophy characterized by the Vignelli Center for Design Studies will be “overlaid into the conversation, linking the work thematically to the Vignelli Center.”

According to Owen, in addition to the Metaproject 03 projects, 10 RIT industrial design students who are calling themselves the “1582,” an RIT industrial design collective, will be showing a varied collection of projects designed at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad program.

“These are spirited students who have taken it upon themselves to position their work in a global venue, where they are likely to attract significant commercial and media attention,” says Owen, who also will take part in a panel discussion on how design shapes the home titled “Home is Not Just a Chair” on Saturday.

In addition, Owen will be releasing a new clock design from his private studio for Loll Designs, a Minnesota-based designer and manufacturer of modern furniture and accessories, and will be featured in an exhibit titled “Risk and Certainty in Uncertain Times,” curated by John Maeda, president of the Rhode Island School of Design.

For information on Metaproject 03 and RIT’s presence at Design Week, go to http://industrialdesign.cias.rit.edu/2013/05/06/rit-id-nyc-design-week-2013.