From classroom to marketplace, a new generation of home decor designers arrives
you know what will sell but that you have fresh perspective.”
At Parsons the New School for Design, in New York City, students learn to consider culture and consumption when they design, to thoughtfully and creatively repurpose salvaged materials, to design public furniture and to create mass-market products that are “useful, safe and fun,” says interim director Robert Kirkbride.
“A number of our students’ most challenging projects embody hybrids of for-profit and not-forprofit ideas,” he says.
Mutual support has come from community organizations such as Build It Green NYC, Buffalo ReUSE and Materials for the Arts.
At Rhode Island School of Design, Assistant Professor Peter Walker says the goal is to leave students with “a strong sense of how they can begin to mesh their own lives and design philosophies into a professional and meaningful existence.” RISD students have exhibited in Milan, and worked with Swarovski on ways to incorporate crystals into home furnishings.
At the Fashion Institute of Technology, in Manhattan, students in home products and textile design get to intern at places such as Waverly Fabrics, Calvin Klein Home, KitchenAid and Nautica. There are field trips to the major trade shows, and grads can end up anywhere from Mikasa to Martha Stewart.
The International Contemporary Furniture Fair annually holds a juried review competition for the design schools. In the past, RISD and SCAD have been joined by San Diego State, Maryland College of Art and Design, and Cranbrook Academy of Art, among others. There’s also an opportunity for up-and-coming designers and their prototype products to find potential manufacturers in the ICFF Studio.
As FIT instructor David Brogna says, “I try to give them every skill set, complete industry knowledge, and the ability to think critically so they can walk out of the classroom and into the field.”
It’s a field that each year has a new crop of bright young minds eager to show off — and sell — a whole home’s worth of new id
This photo released by Parsons shows a collection by graduate Karissa Bieshke that explored the concepts of more and less in her Fair Share and Five Times projects.