In the fall of 2016, Umbra — a Toronto-based designer and manufacturer of housewares selling more than 2,000 home products through 25,000 retailers in 75 countries — challenged the industrial design students of Metaproject to create a design for small spaces. As condo and apartment sizes shrink, an opportunity has arisen to make small spaces more livable and efficient. Students analyzed use cases surrounding compact living, focusing especially on innovative housewares that consider opportunities for multiple functions, storage, space efficiency, personalization, dual utility, entertaining, and other micro-living concerns. Results of the collaboration were exhibited at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair during Design Week in New York City.
This was the seventh iteration of RIT’s Metaproject initiative. The term “Metaproject” is designed to be used as a thematic umbrella referring to an industry partnership which places the student output into a global venue, thereby opening up a transformative platform for the industrial design program and by proxy, the School of Design and RIT. In keeping with the Design is One philosophy espoused by the RIT Vignelli Center for Design Studies, Metaproject aims to encourage students to produce design that is “semantically correct, syntactically correct, and pragmatically understandable, but also visually powerful, intellectually elegant and timeless.”