Summer Writer: Ryan Wakat

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

The furniture design class is actually really interesting. One of the reasons I took it is because it is a summer only course. I say that because there are two course that we are in: Scandinavian Furniture Design Workshop and Seminar. The furniture design seminar, is offered in the normal year, but because we build our chairs at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation or KADK, we can only work in the summer to accommodate the workshop. In the normal school year, Danish design students use the metal, wood, and veneer shops.

We spent the first 2 weeks in lecture, reviewing famous Scandinavian furniture designers and going over the basics of how to design a chair. Our third week was our study tour to Sweden and Finland with our faculty and it was a crucial aspect to our class. The week after our study tour was spent reviewing designs with our instructors, doing drawings at a scale of one to one, with models and scale models. The awesome aspect to our three material groups, is that the faculty that review our designs are also with us in the shops, helping us build our chairs.

The last three weeks of our class includes a 2 week time frame to build our chairs. Because there is 15 people per material, each material is broken up into two groups; A and B. For the first week, group A meets at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation in the morning and meets until mid afternoon, while the B Group meets from mid afternoon until the late evening. While DIS and our studio meets in central Copenhagen, at DIS facilities, the Royal Academy workshops are actually over by the Copenhagen Opera House. It is a nice change of pace because we get to experience a different part of Copenhagen.

Our last week in will be a week full of presentations, exhibitions, and photo shoots. The really amazing part of the furniture design class, is that you actually get to ship your chair back home so that you can actually keep it. Not many of the design studio’s can stay that.

In terms of the back ground of students in our class, we have students ranging from architecture, industrial design, product design, interior design, just to name a few. The instructors are also all furniture makers and are well versed in their respective fields. If you have an interest in furniture design or think you might like or are looking for a different course then what you would take at your home University, I would recommend taking the Scandinavian Furniture Design course.

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