Furniture Design Masters Theses
Highly experimental and individualized, the graduate program in Furniture Design supports each student’s artistic development and articulation of an individual design philosophy through the conception, design and construction of furniture and related objects. The work produced ranges from one-of-a-kind objects, to designs for limited or mass production, to experimental, conceptually based projects. Aesthetic considerations in conjunction with a fluent use of materials and processes to support individual design concepts are paramount.
MFA candidates produce a final body of work and accompanying written thesis as an articulation of the graduate process, simultaneously aiding self-definition and demonstrating a personal point of view. MFA candidates are also required to mount a professional solo exhibition. Their personally selected thesis committee assists in developing a timeline for the exhibition based on assessments of each student’s proposal and progress. In addition, graduating students exhibit in the RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition, a large-scale public show held annually.
Graduate Program Director: Lothar Windels
These works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Theses/Dissertations from 2017
Re-structure : an exploration of relational engagement through objects & object making, Mark Epler
Transformation through drawing and gesture, McKenzie Gibson
Living rooms we don't live in anymore, Caroline Kable
Familiar strangers, Rebecca Li
Between thoughts : on the interconnectivity of things, Yunzhu Wang
Poetic features beyond functions, Lu Xu
Expressionism in furniture, Zihan Zhang
Theses/Dissertations from 2016
Verb things: changing the conversation, Kendra Kirchmer
Frequency, Andrew Pick
Theses/Dissertations from 2015
Objects in mind, Leah Kenttämaa-Squires
The Nomadic Product, a furniture design for the modern urban nomad, explores how a multifunction product can achieve the goal of providing easily transportable and transformable home furnishings.
At present, the nomadic lifestyle has become an emerging trend by a segment of the young population. Urban nomads are a small but diverse segment of society that live and work in urban areas, most of whom choose to rent homes, rather than purchase them, when they move to a new location. They regularly transplant themselves to new cities across the globe following their next career opportunity or educational pursuits. In doing so, they have to travel with all their personal belongings or choose to part with them and leave objects behind.
I classify myself as an urban nomad under this definition. In the past year I have moved five times, which includes living in several apartments and traveling around the world to distant countries. This endless moving of my personal belongings has caused many frustrations and problems. During each of the moves, I continually thought how great it would be if a product existed that could help simplify the process of moving from one place to another.
This thesis focuses on a Nomadic Product designed for like-minded individuals who rent homes in various places and change locations multiple times in a year. The final product is titled the L.I.M.E. (Living In Mobile Ease), and solves the problem of traveling with personal belongings as well as helping to ease the process of moving.
Zhu, Qiangwei, "Nomadic Product: Furniture Design for the Modern Urban Nomad" (2014). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from