14 October 2010

what stories do chairs tell?


what stories do chairs tell?

a rocking chair, handed from generation to generation, brings strong images to mind…

the knowledge of sustaining life through a midnight feeding for a newborn – in the dark shade of a nursery – soothing tears and sharing new beginnings…

the comfort of a sunny afternoon with a favorite book – the chair gently swaying back and forth – as the autumn leaves sift from the trees…

the security in knowing the remembrances of your ancestors – who traced and retraced the patterns of time in their rockings – calling to a rich past and invoking the promise of a better future…

the wisdom of a beloved grandmother knitting together stories – and perhaps knitting or shelling peas on a front porch – as you learn family lore and share moments of a life lived well…

…you begin life in a rocking chair and you end life there, two perspectives of the world from this seated and ever-in-motion position.

In the history and theory of design course, students study MODERN FURNITURE CLASSICS to build design vocabulary of seminal seats from the mid-twentieth century to present.

In undertaking this documentation and memorization process, students learn (through their own sketches) the attitudes and postures of designers and designed objects – a form of storytelling through material and representational expression.

Consider the stories of the chairs in this post, drawn and illustrated by KARA KOOY, DAJANA NEDIC, and BLAKENI WALLS...

...what do their postures suggest?
...what kinds of comfort do they bring?
...what do they say in their forms + details?


Kubus Chair : Hoffmann
Mae West Lips (Marilyn) : Dali
Zigzag Chair : Rietveld
Selene Stacking Chair : Magistretti
Superleggera Chair 699 : Ponti
Barcelona Chair : Mies van der Rohe
GF 40/4 Chair : Rowland
Highback Lounge Chair : Bertoia
Butterfly Chair : Ferrari-Horday
MR Chair : Mies van der Rohe

Learn more about the CHAIR CARDS project on a blog moderated by curator BRIAN PECK...


11 October 2010

compass : which way did it go?

to react to the material in the FOUNDATIONS unit for the history/theory course, students manufactured a compass at one scale of analysis (artifact : space : building : place). look at the variety of instruments manifest....each with a slightly different twist about the meaning of COMPASS as a direction finding device. their products had to be in the form of a two-dimensional image, a three-dimensional form, a word, or a paragraph.

08 October 2010

chair card throw down

students in historyclass were subjected to the first ever chair card THROW DOWN...one student from each of seven discussion groups ventured to the front of the ferguson auditorium and were asked to draw jacobsen's EGG CHAIR....justin mcnair won for the red sea group.

check out the class contributions to the chair blog: http://chaircards.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/jacobsen-egg-chair/

01 October 2010

a salute to DAVID NILAND...

students in my history/theory classes for many years have heard about the WU-WU as a vertical form of architectural expression (size does matter, y'all!) and no greater example resides in the single columns erected by emperors of rome, among them marcus ulpius nerva traianus (or simply, trajan). in this VERY CLEVER composition created by kayla mcdonough we see trajan bearing his WU-WU much to the delight of the female site seers looking on...

many know that the WU-WU is a riff from my undergraduate senior thesis advisor, david niland, a professor of great delight, who insisted that students would only pass sixth year studio with design schemes containing an appropriately scaled and detailed vertical element...

mr. niland died last week (shortly after i invoked his name in class and explained WU-WU to the next generation of design students). his memorial service was today and this news has caused much flurry of activity across the web as many reflect on the greatness of this terrific teacher. i am particularly struck by the lessons i carry with myself from architecture school that i use everyday, and many of them came from the actions and words of a gifted teacher.

according to jonathan pool, "most teachers teach facts, good teachers teach ideas, great teachers teach how to think." thanks for helping me learn how to think...and for shaping who i am as a teacher, mr. niland!