Student Writer: Ryan Wakat

Ryan WakatName: Ryan Wakat
Home University: University of Colorado – Boulder
Summer Courses: Design and Society in Denmark, Furniture Design in Scandinavia

This summer, I am focusing on Danish and Scandinavian design. Right now I am in Design and Society which is taught by Courtney Coyne-Jensen. So far we have learned a lot about the history of Denmark, the policies that affect certain laws and orders, how the Danish culture has affected design, in terms of not just physical objects, but all aspects of Denmark and how the Danes live with design.

For me, this class shows the huge differences in not only Danish design, but also how different culturally they are from the United States. For example, in a class tour today, we talked about how a skate park was built next to a hospital so that if any injury’s happened, the skaters could just walk across the street and get help. The Danish medical care system is amazing as well.

blog3Another aspect Danish society we talked about is how children are treated as equals and have a lot more freedom then children in the US. We went to a day care/after school facility where children are allowed to take care of animals, almost like an urban farm. They are in charge of feeding their animal(s), cleaning up after them, and maintaining the animals cages, everyday. There was even a trampoline, hockey rink, and a kitchen, where children not only learn to cook, but they decide what is made, along with their instructors. By doing this, children naturally want to eat healthy foods, and will become more independent because they are free to make decisions using democracy, even at a young age.

blog2We travel all over the city of Copenhagen, learning everything from policy, to transit systems, to urban development, and architecture. The list is way too long to list all the places, but we will be traveling to western Denmark, to the area known as the Jutland peninsula in a few days.The students in my class come from all over North America, and there is a wide range of fields of study. There are several students from Canada, and majors ranging from architecture, graphic design, interior design, art history, political science, psychology, bioscience, biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, writing, cognitive science, and neuroscience to name a couple. Our instructor, Courtney Jenson, is an amazing person to learn from. She brings a new way of thinking to the class and has us reflect on our classes and study tours in a class journal, that is a big portion of the final grade. She also brings in guest lecturers who teach their respected area of profession and explain how it ties into the Danish culture.

blog4Design and Society ends in a little over a week, but I will be starting my class and studio in the architecture and design session for Scandinavian Furniture Design. I cannot wait for that class to start. All I know, for right now, is that students design a chair using design principals native to this part of the world. It is going to be amazing.

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