I’m Tony Meredith, a third-year student of Industrial Design at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. The folks at DWR asked me to write a little bit about my experience in the Furniture Design for Production class that DWR sponsored at CCA in the fall of 2006. Let me start by saying that the class was awesome. How often do you get to study furniture design with one of the few truly independent furniture designers (Brian Kane) in the U.S.? Also, we were always given great feedback from a parade of interesting designers and people from DWR, so after every crit I would go back to my workspace and really bust out the work, because I knew that the amount of hard work that I put in would be appreciated and acknowledged.
In the class, we learned to draw furniture at full-size. Which sounds a bit basic, but most of the time in school we really only draw at 1/4 scale. So, drawing at full size was a real eye-opener – not everything that looks good small works out at full size. We also were really pushed to explore new sustainable materials and manufacturing processes, so it was sort of like a treasure hunt. The class was pretty competitive (the ID students had to apply to be accepted into the class), so it was always fun to see what the other students had been working on (usually all night, the night before!) at the critiques.
The critiques were really involved and fun. Usually a group of folks from DWR would attend and give real-world feedback on what would work in the furniture market and what wouldn’t. Brian would invite other independent furniture designers to attend, as well. Mark Kapka (a designer who works for the likes of Keilhauer, Metro and Offi) came to several of our formal critiques and a bunch of our more informal desk crits too. I was always happy to hear his take on my project because his input was such an even balance. The conversations about how the corner and edge details should look on my chair was really helpful and eventually influenced the final design.
All in all, the class was a great experience, and the sponsorship of DWR just sweetened the deal. For more information about me and my work, check out my website!