Students who participated in Metaproject 13 will present their designs as part of New York City Design Week 2023 courtesy of their client Lazzoni.
In the fall, students spent the semester designing seating solutions for the alumni-owned international furniture company. All the designs presented are prototyped by Lazzoni, a first in Metaproject’s history.
Efe Kababulut ’09 (Industrial Design), Creative Director and Board Member of Lazzoni Furniture and Lazzoni Hotel, believes that working with students in this capacity “encourages the next generation of design” and that the students’ unique perspectives can inspire fresh, innovative ideas.
“The more we get involved with the business side of design, the more our creativity is limited, whether we want it or not. Because of this, the potential to get original ideas from students is as important to the industry as it is a great opportunity for students to showcase their work and get recognition for it,” said Kababulut.
Blending Vignelli principles with their personal design views, the students created a variety of seating solutions including armchairs, loveseat, corner sofas, bar stools and modular sofas, a hallmark of the Lazzoni brand. When planning the course, Lazzoni representatives originally intended to select one or two designs for the prototype, as Metaproject customers have done in the past. However, Lazzoni and Metaproject teacher Josh Owen believed that all 13 designs were too valuable to eliminate.
“This is the first time in the history of the meta-project that all students enrolled in the course will have their ideas professionally prototyped by the manufacturing partner. This significant investment was a Lazzoni mandated aspect of the project and speaks to this visionary company’s confidence in the ability of RIT students to achieve remarkable results,” said Owen, Vignelli Center Director and Vignelli Distinguished Professor of Design.
Lazzoni plans to manufacture prototypes to be exhibited at Design Week 2023 in New York City for a final judging panel of the global design community. After the final presentation, Lazzoni hopes to be able to select the top designs and send them to the company’s manufacturing facility to be professionally produced under agreements made directly with the students. The goal is for these designs to become part of an upcoming collection and to be displayed at the Lazzoni Madison showroom at 145 Madison Ave. to be exhibited in New York City.
“As an educator and designer myself, I have no hesitation in saying that the opportunities these students are having with this project are both rare and meaningful in their development. Essentially, these young designers were commissioned to develop a unique object that reflects their individual point of view for a large international furniture company. These are exceptional conditions to learn many valuable lessons by taking the project through all the steps a professional would do,” said Owen. “At the same time, it could be seen as a ‘dream job’ for many.”
Joey Ruan, a fourth-year industrial design student, designed The Şebeke, a lattice system of tufted modules that easily converts to an armless chair and sofa. When Ruan learned that all Design Week designs would be going to New York City, she immediately began dreaming about what the experience would be like.
“This gives us the opportunity to gain a foothold in the design and furniture industry even before we graduate. Most if not all of the projects we do in our industrial design courses stay in our portfolios and don’t get past this point. The meta-project provides the gateway and resources to bring our designs to market,” said Ruan. “It’s exciting that our design could potentially be used, but even if it isn’t, it’s valuable to hear from Lazzoni why our design wasn’t chosen so we can take that feedback and apply it to our design methods after.” in front.”
Metaproject has become a landmark experience for the College of Art and Design’s nationally recognized undergraduate Industrial Design degree. The project has been promoting innovative thinking and thoughtful product design for over a decade. For more information, see the Metaproject website.