KI and The Furniture Makers’ Company sponsorship of this year's Buckinghamshire New University MA Furniture Design Summer School from 16th – 23rd June 2013, gave students a unique opportunity to work on a design brief co-written by key sponsor KI, Italian furniture company Lago and Buckinghamshire New University. Located at the company premises of Lago in Cittadella, students gained a unique taste of employment as designers for a week.
The brief this year was:
What makes home ‘home’ and what makes the office ‘the office’? Consider how to blur these boundaries and how we could make the office more welcoming and more conducive to happy collaborations particularly in this time of ever extending, multi location, working hours.
Students attending the trip this year were Margarita Bosnjak, Linn Narane, Rowena Dodd, Kay Grannell, Mikko Hannula and Ian Reveley. The tutors were Dr. Lynn Jones, Head of the National School of Furniture, and Alex Hellum, furniture designer, maker and teacher.
It was quickly decided as a group that the focus would be on making physical scale models. The students had all taken suitcases full of materials; fabric, yarn, tape, paper, glue and little wooden sticks.
At the end of the week, the students presented their concepts and ideas to Daniele Lago, Lago’s Creative Director, before presenting twice more, once to the design and technical team and once to the various staff.
Lago have developed designs that have come through the Lagostudio programme of three workshops a year a few times, including one from a previous Bucks participant: the Joynt chair by Harry Owen. One of last year’s MA group Paola Brotto, who now works at Lago was a true inspiration to the students.
Dr Lynn Jones, Department Manager for Furniture at Bucks New University and Head of the National School of Furniture (NSF), a partnership between Bucks New University and Oxford & Cherwell Valley College, commented:
“We felt so very lucky that we were sponsored by KI, and being on the trip made the group as a whole become much more coherent as a unit, living, working, eating and laughing together as we were. All of our skills were shared, as were the jokes, materials and other supplies, technical support and company privileges: a bonding experience second to none. Feeding us so splendidly only enhanced our Lago experience – we are sure we designed more energetically and creatively as a consequence. We all agreed, that this was a trip and an experience that would stay with us forever and we are indebted to Jonathan Hindle; KI, The Furniture Makers Company and to Lago for making it all possible.”
The summer school has become a pivotal project for the MA students, and one which adds vast industrial relevance and value to their MA experience. It also acts as a tremendous team-building exercise and engenders design understanding, human empathy, and professionalism, like no other activity on the course.
The results of this workshop will be shown on September 17th, 2013 in The City of London, at The Furniture Makers Hall, 12 Austin Friars, EC2N 2HE from 4pm onwards.