Posts Tagged ‘experimental design’


In the Spring of 2012, we have a class at Harrington College which is bound to stand out from your typical college courses: DSN 426 Experimental Design/Furniture Design.

First, we teach you all the basics – tools, joinery, material, finishes and upholstery are taught along with practical exercises with hand tools. Students will learn how to build small furniture by actually building their own – such as the 2×2 chair, a chair made out of only 2’ x 2’ lumber plus one material of choice.

Students are then taught about business within the furniture industry all the way from manufacturer production to showrooms and the ultimate end user. Once you learn all the big names in furniture design, you’ll begin to research the furniture market, learn about ergonomics, and understand how furniture can transcend the ordinary.

And best of all, it is an experimental design class: you are encouraged to break the rules and design the furniture from your wildest dreams! From pricing to marketing, you’ll even create a sales catalogue for it. And along the way, you’ll also be visiting leading Chicago furniture dealers on field trips, allowing you to network with the very people you may one day be buying from or designing for.

Definitely not your typical College class – but just one example of the types of courses we have at the Harrington College of Design! I would love to hear what your dream design course would be – share it in the comments section below!


Epoxy chair “La Meduse”  by Christian Oleksiak

Read Full Post »

Each year, Harrington College of Design students and faculty work together to create a float at Chicago’s Annual Pride Parade.

This year students from Dan Elliott’s Experimental Design class crafted a float to represent Harrington around the theme of “Breaking Barriers.” The float featured brick pillars, tropical plants, and a strong message of hope and pride! See some photos below of the float, as well as some highlights from the parade!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photos courtesy me 🙂

Read Full Post »

Harrington Interior Design instructor and Program Coordinator Peter Klick’s Fall 2010 Experimental Design Class AA took their design from the 2D to a stunning 3D addition to Harrington’s interior – check out the construction from start to finish of the redesigned Interior Design Curriculum Wall at the Harrington College of Design below!  

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here’s the finished wall:

Great work to all students involved: Alysse Bzdon, Lindsay Fulton, Amanda Lorenz, Ann Mikolajewicz, Veronica Rodriguez and Allison Saum!

Photos courtesy Peter Klick

Read Full Post »

Last October, I featured the work from Harrington’s Experimental Design class, who breathed new life into discarded chairs.

What happens when one artist devotes two years collecting then a quarter of a year redesigning? 100 Chairs in 100 Days, by Martino Gamper.

I came across this online and had to share… Martino displayed his unique collection in London in 2007. Speaking of his work, Martino said, “This project involves systematically collecting discarded chairs from London streets (or more frequently, friends’ homes) over a period of about roughly two years, then spending 100 days to reconfiguring the design of each one in an attempt to transform its character and/or the way it functions. My intention is to investigate the potential for creating useful new designs by blending together stylistic or structural elements of existing chair types… 


The project suggests a new way to stimulate design thinking, and provokes debate about a number of issues, including value, different types of functionality and what is an appropriate style for certain types of chair – for example, what happens to the status and potential of a plastic garden chair (conventionally located slap bang in the idiom of unremarkable functionality) when it is upholstered with luxurious brown suede?”

What happens? A whole lot… as you can tell from his pictures. But I have to admit – Harrington College of Design students came up with some impressive and creative designs themselves! See their work here.

Martino Gamper information and photography courtesy Gamper Martino.com

Read Full Post »

Recently, Harrington instructor Leah Patgorski had her hand-sewn tent featured in the exhibit “What is a Hammer?” at the ADDS DONNA gallery. This month, Leah has been commissioned to create another custom tent to be featured at the Hyde Park Art Center opening November 21st.

I followed up with Leah to learn more about her custom creations. Leah shared, “For years, I have been working on various types of fabric enclosures. Early on they resembled cylindrical dressing rooms, and then some variations on that… then this past winter, I decided to make something more mobile that wouldn’t have to be anchored to the wall or ceiling. I also like the shape of the dome tent, with its simple structure and easy assembly. So I bought one and then used it as a pattern to make my own, such as the one you can see below:

A woman I knew through my former office saw this tent, and she became interested in having one made. She was already involved, as an artist, with the Hyde Park Art Center program (Not Just Another Pretty Face, a program that matches up patrons with artists who are commissioned to do their own version of a portrait). She decided to become a patron in the program as well by commissioning me to make her a tent.

Having such a creative and open-minded client has been great. Through drawings, models, and material experiments, we arrived at a very unique solution that I hope she will enjoy for a while. I learned a great deal along the way myself and I feel much more adventurous now as I start to look for the next manifestation of the tent idea.”

You can see more examples of Leah’s past work on her website, and check out her work in person at the upcoming show!  

Not Just Another Pretty Face
Group show of new commissioned works building on the age-old idea of portraiture
Hyde Park Arts Center
5020 S. Cornell Avenue, Chicago, IL
Gala and Unveiling – Saturday, November 20, 7pm
Public Opening – Sunday, November 21, 3-5pm
Runs through February 2011

Photos courtesy Leah Patgorski

Read Full Post »

Sifting through junkyards, thrift stores and grandma’s basement, Harrington students from the Experimental Design and 3-D Design classes searched far and wide for old chairs for a unique design challenge: Restore and Design a functional chair from an existing, vintage, salvaged or used chair.

When Harrington Interior Design instructor Peter Klick was approached by the Chicago Home + Garden Magazine  to offer two chairs for their upcoming event Chairs for Charity, he turned the assignment into an exciting competition.

You can see all of the chairs here.  

The competition was decided by jury members Morlen Sinoway, Chicago Furniture and Interior Designer, Adam Moroschan, Associate Art Director at Chicago Home + Garden Magazine,  Lori Oelhafen, Interior Designer and Harrington Alumna, and Gerry Christensen, Architect and Product Designer and Instructor at the Chicago Art Institute. In the end, the competition had such a close finish that Chicago Home + Garden accepted three entrants and invited the winning designers to attend their auction. Congratulations to the three winning designers:

1st Place: Abigail Weiland, Business Ties

2nd Place: Michelle Micolta, High Rise Line

3rd Place: Felix Griggs, The Butcher’s Seat

The chairs will be auctioned off at:
Chicago Home + Garden Magazine‘s “Chairs for Charity”
Wednesday, November 3, 2010 from 6-8 pm
Tile Gallery: 555 Franklin Street, Chicago, IL
All proceeds will benefit Design for Dignity.

Photos courtesy Harrington Digital Photography students Tyler Lundberg and Rolando Davis

Read Full Post »

Leaving behind New Orleans and its food and music scene (Snug Harbor, Preservation Hall, and a great jazz vocalist at The Spotted Cat), the team then traveled to Auburn University’s Rural Studio, started in 1993 by the late Samuel Mockbee.  Students here design and build homes and community buildings for the poorest parts of the Deep South (and thus the poorest parts of the entire nation). The goal of the Rural Studio is to teach students about their responsibility as a designer with real world application in rural Alabama. According to Mockbee, “if architecture is going to nudge, cajole, and inspire a community to challenge the status quo into making responsible changes, it will take the subversive leadership of academics and practitioners who keep reminding students of the profession’s responsibilities.”

Below, catch glimpses of the Supershed Animal Shelter, the Rural Studio itself and the latest work of Auburn University’s students – a thesis project on $20k Houses. At Rural Studio, students learn by doing. You can view all photos from this trip by clicking here.

Harrington students Kate Ainsworth, Mary Daumer, Rachel Henson, Jessica Johnston, Brachla Messersmith, and Kurombi Wade-Oliver learned some great lessons from these hands-on experiences, and have some great stories to tell. The trip was a state-side offering of Harrington’s International Studies, which encourages alumni to participate. As Crandon Gustafson said at the conclusion of the trip, “I don’t think you could ask for a better experience than to work alongside our students serving others.”

Stay tuned for the program’s 2011 destinations!

Information courtesy Crandon Gustafson. Photos courtesy Peter Klick.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »