May 04, 2012

Second Annual Furniture Show

Origin Lamp by Stevie Meder

It would be easy to look at the ottoman and water lamp designed by Nick Vassallo, BIND ’12, and see only a couple of pieces of beautiful furniture. But to Vassalo, the pieces represent a chance to further explore his own creativity and artistic vision.

Vassallo was one of several students featured in the industrial design department’s second annual furniture show, which was held at the Korean Church of Boston in Brookline. The show featured students in adjunct professor Bill Bancroft’s furniture design class, with each student tasked with creating a light fixture and a piece of furniture. Beside those simple rules, they were given the freedom to complete their assignment anyway they wanted—a lack of constraints which led to a unique mix of contrasting styles at the gallery.

“I encouraged the students to use their own voices as artists, and to design for themselves. It was important for the work to have high utility, but the students showed us that they are able to bring individuality and content into the work,” Professor Bancroft said.

Vassallo wanted to experiment with the diffusion of light through water. He placed a bulb within a walnut base, with a removable acrylic tank above. When the light is turned on, it creates an ambient effect that can even be enhanced with a few drops of food-dye to colorize any room.

Haik Tokatlyan, BIND ’12, used the assignment as an opportunity to explore woodworking methods he had never tried before, including bent lamination and the use of kerfs – tiny cuts made in wood in order to bend it. Tokatlyan, who’s been woodworking most of his life at his father’s shop, wants to start a business selling his own furniture designs, and used his projects as an opportunity to refine his own style. 

For his piece called “Kerf Chair,” Tokatlyan used kerfs to bend plywood cuts into shape, and then built a support system in order to keep the chair sturdy. He topped the chair off with high-quality leather on the arms, seat, and back for comfort and a more attractive aesthetic.

“I was really proud to be a part of such a talented class,” Professor Bancroft said. “The students showed us that they are able to bring individuality and content into the work… I feel like they are going to go out and do some important things.”

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