RISD's New Dorm Furniture

The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) will begin classes again in just a few weeks and some students will be coming back to not only a new dormitory but new furniture as well. A recent renovation to a downtown Providence building will now house nearly 500 students. RISD believes in teaching by example and the school, of course, has a particular philosophy when it comes to design. John Dunnigan, head of the furniture department, says that all the materials RISD uses should be environmentally sensitive and sustainable, so should the manufacturing and local is preferable. A few years ago, Dunnigan spent an entire year in a RISD project studying none other than bamboo and its properties so guess what the furniture is made out of? You guessed it! And where bamboo wasn't able to be used, beech from a forester who follows sustainable practices was. Both kinds of wood didn't need to be stained or laminated because of their attractive appearance and the upholstered furniture, like couches, was covered in 100% recycled polyester. Research showed that the students wanted flexibility to adjust their space and so the pieces of furniture themselves are works of art. For example, the furniture for sleeping is called a "flip bed" and can be used right side up or upside down, depending if the student wants a raised bed for storage.

From this project, Dunnigan and his two partners created a design company called Dezco Furniture Design. We couldn't find a Website for it, but beginning this winter they plan to offer their furniture to other institutions as well. Via ::The Providence Journal (subscription) ::Rhode Island School of Design