A stylish kick-back area in the lobby of the visual arts building is what students worked on creating as their class project.
Advanced Wood & Furniture Design class students, under the instruction of Professors Steven King and Matthew Poole, worked with plywood and divided the lobby areas into different segments to see what types of furniture could be made.
As part of their 2018 project, students researched the Arts Department lobby and conducted interviews in the Visual Arts building with CSUSB students to gather information on what style of furniture would be most ideal in this space.
They sought the answers to what the students liked about the lobby and what could be improved. Along with this information, the research yielded a surprising fact. Many students hanging out in the Visual Arts building are not art majors.
The lobby in the Visual Arts Building is used in various ways. Students work on laptops, read, chat, have lunch, charge their mobile devices, and even nap in between long classes.
Attempting to fill the space with furniture that could accommodate all these activities proved to be challenging for the design students.
Working on this lobby was a unique experience for Christopher Guzman, the furniture design student.
“I have never worked with a team of students to create something new that will hopefully be used by others. It was a great opportunity to create furniture that will stay behind after I graduate,” said Guzman.
He is one of the eight advanced woodworking and furniture design students who worked on the Lobby Furniture 2018 project.
Steven King, Art department lecturer, admitted he was just interested in the project. It was like a problem that needed to be solved. He wanted to make an interesting space for people to use.
“I talked to the department chair, Matthew Poole, and he thought it was an interesting idea,” said King.
He describes the lobby furniture as a semi-private area that allows students to have a little bit of privacy but does not put them in a box.
The concept of this project was influenced by various architects and theorist who have created popular designs and furniture. Featured designs from Juhani Pallasmaa who was interested in architecture as a perceptual experience of what it’s like to touch a building.
Professor King explained that Ares, a popular architect and furniture engineer “is concerned with the matter of architecture, and the voids of architecture and how that creates experiences in the buildings.”
The instructor of the student furniture project wanted to communicate “that all the shapes and all the forms in the lobby relate to ideas that the students researched and not just style, the way the furniture looks. It’s about how all those shapes function”, said Steve King.
One of the most interesting and useful inspirations of the project came from the architecture of Fredrick John Kiesler.
Matthew Poole, Chair of the Department of Art, explained why His [Kiesler’s] approach to spatial design and object design was catalytic rather than dogmatic or definitive, in that he aimed to create spaces and things (sometimes furniture, sometimes more sculptural objects).”
According to Poole, Kiesler’s work of designs emerged quickly as a paradigmatic design methodology that could cope with or a multi-functional end-product.