3D Design Junction presented minimalist furniture designs by UI students and faculty

The 3D Design Program is holding a 3D Design Junction to display their work from throughout the year. The exhibit consists of furniture such as lamps, tables, and chairs that were crafted from different types of wood and materials, or 3D printed.


Anaka Sanders, Arts Reporter

The 3D Design Junction transformed the Drewelowe Gallery of the Visual Art Building into a colorful, yet simple, art exhibition, full of handmade furniture by University of Iowa staff and students — like an elevated Ikea without the Swedish meatballs.

The 3D Design Program in the School of Art and Art History had had its three previous exhibitions canceled due to COVID-19, so Program Head Monica Correia decided to create their own in-house exhibition.

The 3D Design Junction has a collection of work centered around the construction of tables, stools, chairs, and lamps – made from raw wood and materials like metal, felt and 3D printing.

Third-year MFA student and artist in the program Yiran Li created a few pieces in the exhibition, all reused from class assignments. Her chairs “LounGe Chair” and “RoBox Chair” use Birch plywood, fabric, and foam. Li used CNC cutting, a precise computerized way to cut materials. She said looking at the exhibit, it’s clear there are various technologies and methods used by the other artists.

The layout and creation of the exhibition itself seemed to be just as important as the artist’s work. The artists chose a yellow and orange color pallet inspired by the 3D Design Programs logo, along with raw wooden fixtures to hold the art.

“We definitely took color into consideration,” second year 3D design graduate student Nathan Sears said. “We wanted to have something relatively neutral to put some very colorful pieces in front of.”

The 3D Design Program was planning on having exhibitions in Milan, New York, and Chicago but each was either cancelled or no longer worked with schools. Correia felt like the program members needed to do something at home to boost their energy.

“It’s good to see the collaboration,” Correia said. “We have a chain of seniority, so I like to pass on the skills of leadership and how to make these things [exhibitions] organized.”

The Junction features work from faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students involved in the program. It was important to Correia to include pieces by faculty members as well because it gives the students a chance to see work done by professional designers.

Correia’s pieces in the exhibit, “Cecina Stool Set” and “The Queen Skirt Lamp,” came together when she realized that the structure of a skirt is like a lamp shade. Her red light fixture symbolizes the concept of a mother’s skirt, with the child running to hide under it for protection and for warmth.

From there she played with the concept of circles to create her set of three stools, the tops crafted with red, pink, and yellow continuous felt swirls. While she created this piece, she also kept another key detail in mind.

“I was working primarily on the seats with sustainable materials, so it’s a bamboo blend and felt that is 100 percent wool,” Correia said. “So, if I can, I will keep my work sustainable.”

After not being able to exhibit their work for such an extended amount of time, the artists were excited to see it come together after they spent so long working together.

“It’s fun to see all of the stuff that we’ve spent a lot of time on all together in the same room,” fifth year BFA student Ben Eastman said. “Just the process of putting this whole thing together was all sort of like a project that we got to share.”

There was a public reception held for the exhibit on Dec. 3, giving the students and faculty a chance to celebrate their collaboration and commitment to the 3D Design Junction.

“Something the viewer does not know — the viewer does not know how long it takes to do this,” Correia said. “There are revisions and revisions and revisions. So, it’s a long process, and that’s why I like to celebrate.”

The 3D Design Junction is being held in the Drewelowe Gallery in the Visual Arts Building from Nov. 29 through Dec. 10.