About

Introducing the 2017 whatnot Collection: whatnot x West Supply.

For a decade, students from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) have exhibited work in Milan during Design Week. SAIC’s whatnot studio brings design experiments to life as real products. This year-long class gives students the space and time to find their voice as independent designers working in a professional context. The 2017 whatnot studio was directed by Professors Helen Maria Nugent and Tim Parsons with the support of teaching assistant Fabiola Tosi. For the tenth anniversary SAIC partnered with West Supply—a Chicago-based artisanal foundry and fabricator of designer furnishings, lighting, and fine art—to develop a collection of heirloom-quality objects in glass and bronze. By working with form, texture, and finish in relation to phenomena such as transparency, reflection, refraction, and diffusion, the student designers have developed works that respond to light in unique and innovative ways, harnessing the inherent qualities of these precious materials. Encompassing furniture, lighting, and accessories, the projects include a floor lamp that captures the gesture of shaping molten glass, a rhizomatic modular candelabra and a blown glass drinking vessel inspired by the eyed-kylix used in Ancient Greek symposia. Each piece has been hand-cast and hand-finished by West Supply’s team of highly skilled technicians, drawing upon many years of experience producing high-quality metal and glass objects for artists, architects, and designers. The whatnot x West Supply collection, presented here,  consists of fifteen serially produced multiples, the first editions of which are available to purchase from Rossana Orlandi Gallery. Subsequent editions produced by West Supply are available to order through SAIC.

The 2017 whatnot x West Supply Collection will Launch in Milan during Design Week at:

Spazio Rossana Orlandi

Via Matteo Bandello 14/16, 20123 Milano

April 4–9, 2017

Morning Previews:
April 4-6: 9:00 – 11:00
To attend during these times please click here

Public Exhibition Hours are: 
April 4: 11:00 – 20:00
April 5: 11:00 – 19:00
April 6: 11:00 – 19:00
April 7-9: 9:00 – 20:00

+39 02 46 74 47-1

rossanaorlandi.com

Special thanks to the team at West Supply: Angie West, Ben Stagl, Nik Moyer, Allyson Reza, Yasmine Afshar, Salvador Dominguez and Joel Fisher. Thanks also to the incredible team at SAIC: Paul Coffey, Jonathan Solomon, Ryan Deemer, Paulina Budzioch, Kelly Christian, Brit Schulte, Seth Keller, Kazuki Guzman, Bree Witt, Sarah Gardner, Jeffrey Sanchez and Sean Desantis. All of the product photos were taken by the exceptional Jonathan Allen. 
 

What is whatnot?

Conceived by Professors Helen Maria Nugent and Jim TerMeer, the whatnot studio is a place for bringing design experiments to life as real products. Positioned as a commercial brand, whatnot is also a progressive educational platform focused on creative inquiry and iteration. To bring design experiments to life as real products, ideas must be matched to methods and systems of production, and the nuances of the marketplace. The year-long class gives students the space and time to find their voice as independent designers and the resources to produce fully realized, original products that are launched to the public at the annual Salone Del Mobile in Milan. This is the tenth consecutive year in which emerging designers from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) will debut new work in Milan during Design Week.

What is Designed Objects?

The Designed Objects programs at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago focus on the critical rethinking of objects and the changing relationship between things, ideas, users, and contexts. It provides a creative and intellectual context in which designed things are examined, reconfigured and reimagined. The whatnot collection is created through the External Partnerships Studios, which are year-long classes offered by the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects (AIADO) at SAIC.

 

Helen Maria Nugent is a designer, educator, and founder of the Designed Objects programs at SAIC. She has been teaching design for more than 20 years and has lectured widely, most recently in China, Boston, and Miami. As an academic leader she has initiated many successful ventures for SAIC with external partners including the Tacoma Museum of Art, CB2, Industreal, Danese Milano, Dupont Corian, Kikkerland, The Future Perfect, and Spazio Rossana Orlandi. Nugent is also a Design Arts Master Teacher for the National Young Arts Foundation and selects nominees for the Presidential Scholarship in the Arts.  In fall 2017 she will assume the Directorship of SAIC’s Shapiro Center for Research and Collaboration.

Nugent is cofounder with her husband, Ron Kirkpatrick, of HAELO Design, an independent, research-oriented studio that pursues speculative and commercial design projects with a focus on furniture, objects, services, and exhibitions. The studio’s work has been exhibited at the Istanbul Design Biennial, the Chicago Cultural Center, ICFF, NeoCon, and Devening Projects. She was born and raised in Scotland and studied Environmental Art and Interdisciplinary Design at the Glasgow School of Art.

www.haelodesign.com

 

Tim Parsons is a product designer, design writer, and Chair of the Designed Objects programs at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has taught product design in Britain and America for more than 15 years with a focus on exploring the plurality of the subject and its relationship to other disciplines. For the past five years he has co-taught studio classes that investigate the intersection of design and art, specifically product design and sculpture. In 2009 he wrote Thinking : Objects – Contemporary Approaches to Product Design, a primer for students, charting the landscape of contemporary object design.

Tim is cofounder with his wife, Jessica Charlesworth, of experimental and speculative design practice Parsons & Charlesworth. They work across objects, installations, participatory workshops, and writing to explore the rhetorical and narrative opportunities of designed objects. The Chicago Cultural Center recently hosted Spectacular Vernacular, a survey of their studio practice from the past five years. Their work has also been exhibited at the Istanbul Design Biennial, London Design Festival, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

 

 

 

The 2016 Whatnot Collection, titled Eighteen Sixty Six.

In celebration of the 150​th ​anniversary of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), the 2016 ​whatnot ​collection draws from the world as it existed in ​1866—the people, behaviors, beliefs, things, technologies, ideologies, cultural norms, natural events, fads, crazes and missed opportunities. The student designers researched Victorian mourning rituals, hypnosis, prostitution, imperialism, the invention of plywood and the stapler, garment patterns, solar powered engines, Mendel’s theory of inheritance, Haeckel’s Generelle Morphology, Alice in Wonderland, Hans Christian Anderson’s The Porter’s Son, Hong Kong’s dualistic currency, the confluence of Italian and Mexican culture under Emperor Maximiliano and Empress Carlotta, the physical raising of Chicago’s buildings to prevent epidemics, and the mandate of an eight-hour work day.

The 2017 whatnot x West Supply Collection will Launch in Milan during Design Week at:

Spazio Rossana Orlandi

Via Matteo Bandello 14/16, 20123 Milano

April 4–9, 2017

9 a.m.–8 p.m.

+39 02 46 74 47-1

rossanaorlandi.com

 

whatnot 2015

Gaps, apertures, craters, and voids. More than 100,000 years ago ancient man punched holes into shells, transforming natural artifacts into objects of ornamentation and currency. This intentional act of alteration could be considered one of the earliest expressions of what we call design today.  For the 2015 whatnot collection each designer investigates how a simple action can transform the quotidian.

Whatnot 2015 designers include Eli Bensusan (MDes 2015), Madeline Geftic (MDes 2015), Roxana Martinez (MFA Fibers 2015), Sarah M. Doonan (BFA 2015), Tanner Bowman (BFA 2015), Yasmine Afshar (BFA 2015), Norman Teague (MFA 2016), Nayeon Kim (MDes 2015), Kelly G. Sullivan (BFA 2015), Jacob Lenard (MDes 2015), Eva Walkuski (BFA 2015) and Ariana Petrich (MFA 2015).

This year’s class was taught, produced, and curated by Professors Helen Maria Nugent, and Jim TerMeer with teaching assistant Ange Wong.  Special thanks to Paul Coffey, Stephen Gulau, Brad Johns, Kate Bresnan, Ryan Deemer, Jonathan Allen, Corey Margulis, Jeremy Ohmes, Bree Witt, David Collins and Angeli Arndt.

 

School of the Art Institute of Chicago: Whatnot Collection 2015

Milan Design Week 2015

April 14–19, 2015

9 a.m.–8 p.m.

Spazio Rossana Orlandi

Via Matteo Bandello 14/16, 20123 Milano

+39 02 46 74 47-1

rossanaorlandi.com

 

whatnot 2014

Whatnot 2014 is the fourth showing of student designers from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan. Eight products and three furniture systems comprise the Whatnot 2014 collection: a series of playful objects that encourage a child’s interaction with the people, places, and environments around them.

The Milan Industry Projects course is a year-long studio that teaches students product development from concept to production to distribution. Each completed product becomes part of SAIC’s whatnot brand, established in 2012. This experience prepares the students for both the eventual establishment of independent design practices and to work effectively as part of a larger design team.

Whatnot 2014 designers include Ilwhan Ahn (BFA 2014), Ceyda Akosman (MDes 2014), Satya Basu (M. Arch 2015), Andrea Chiu (BFA 2014), Katie Chung (BFA 2014), Gahee Kang (BFA 2014), Zewen Li (MDes 2015), Jing Ouyang (BFA 2014), Miguel Perez (BFA 2014), Kevin Suzuki (BFA 2014), and Tyler Willis (MDes 2014).

This year’s class was taught, produced, and curated by Professors George Aye, Lisa Smith, and Jim TerMeer. Special thanks to Tommy Walton, Stephen Gulau, Brad Johns, Ryan Deemer, Bryce Wilner, Jonathan Allen, Jess Giffin, and Christopher Roeleveld.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago: Whatnot 2014

Milan Design Week 2014

April 8–13, 2014

9 a.m.–8 p.m.

Spazio Rossana Orlandi

Via Matteo Bandello 14/16, 20123 Milano

+39 02 46 74 47-1

rossanaorlandi.com

 

whatnot 2013

The color-centric 2013 whatnot collection is the result of a year-long design studio directed by Professors Helen Maria Nugent and Jim TerMeer, both professors in the department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects.

After the successful launch of the whatnot brand in Milan and New York last year, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) continues to bring new design concepts to life with a new range of contemporary products designed and made in the USA. The 2013 whatnot collection will premier at Spazio Rossana Orlandi during Milan Design Week 2013.

This year each of the 16 designers has approached color as a critical question, exploring the visceral, perceptual, associative, emotional, and conceptual potential of color in all its permutations—muted, primary, fluorescent, functional, natural, and erotic. The eclectic collection includes a multicolored doorstop, black glass mirror, quilt with fluorescent seams, calendar with 365 shades of grey, color-shifting paper timer, inscribed wineglass, leather handbag in natural leather and raw sheep’s wool, ruler divided by color and shapes, digital app of living color, atmospheric and ambient table lamp, wallet colored by currencies, napping pillow with gentle gradations, an ash dining table inlayed with color, fluorescent skirted stools, glass brooch filled with vibrant ink, and a sash in the color and material of skin.

Designers include: Morgan Brill (BFA 2013), Hsi Chen (MDes 2013), Faranak Farhang (MDes 2013), Ruyuan Ge (MDes 2013), Justin Hu (BFA 2013), Jay Hyun Kim (MDes 2014), Allon Kapeller-Libermann (BFA 2013), Taylor Littrel (BFA 2013), Samuel Matson (BFA 2013), Ada Mayer (MDes 2013), Daniel Moynihan (BFA 2013), Carlos Ortega (MFA 2014), Yiqian Peng (BFA 2013), Kempe Scanlan (MDes 2013), Eli Sidman (MDes 2013), and Venessa Rosely Jimenez (MDes 2013).

Other presentations at Spazio Rossana Orlandi during the Fair include projects by Piet Hein Eek, Thomas Eyck, Formafantasma, Jaime Hayon for &Traditional, Scholten and Baijings for Georg Jensen, Itay Ohaly, BCXSY, Booo Bulbs, and Os and Oos.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago: whatnot
Fuori Salone 2013
April 9–14, 2013
9 a.m.–8 p.m.
Spazio Rossana Orlandi
Via Matteo Bandello 14/16, 20123 Milano
+39 02 46 74 47-1
rossanaorlandi.com
Map

English Press Release
Italian Press Release

 

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

A leader in educating artists, designers, and scholars since 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) offers nationally accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees and post-baccalaureate programs to more than 3,200 students from around the globe. SAIC also provides adults, high school students, and children with the opportunity to flourish in a variety of courses, workshops, certificate programs, and camps through its Continuing Studies program. Located in the heart of Chicago, SAIC has an educational philosophy built upon an interdisciplinary approach to art and design, giving students unparalleled opportunities to develop their creative and critical abilities, while working with renowned faculty who include many of the leading practitioners in their fields. SAIC’s resources include the Art Institute of Chicago and its new Modern Wing; numerous special collections and programming venues provide students with exceptional exhibitions, screenings, lectures, and performances. For more information, please visit saic.edu.