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Jonathan Louis x Otis College of Art & Design Class

Read our last installation? Go ahead and skip the intro


Developing the next generation of talent is a big part of our ethos (see here, and here for our talent development series). We’ve extended our efforts outside of our four walls to Otis College of Art & Design. From installations to trends, Otis students have been active participants in our market-focused endeavors. 


This fall, we’ve expanded our collaboration with Otis College to sponsoring a Product Development Studio I class. Open to third-year students, the class is a hands-on, “project-based course bringing consumer products from concept to market.” The goal of class is to better understand how to incorporate practicalities like manufacturing into the design, and “to gain a greater understanding of how to translate a concept into a product for sale in the market.”


Projects include individual home decor and the Jonathan Louis sectional group project. At the end of the semester, we will select one team’s concept, and work with them to build a final piece to display at Spring 2023’s High Point Furniture Market. Follow this blog to see the progress of these students as they deconstruct, explore, play, ideate, and create.

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Mono Material Project
Theme: "Context"

Students were asked to select a material to explore. Over two weeks, the students experimented on the material–burning, tearing, melting, breaking, and so on–with the goal to explore the physical limits of the material. Using the learnings from interacting with the material, the students need to create something that could be considered home decor. Students were encouraged to make something strange, ugly, or unexpected.


What material would you have picked? Which did you think was the most unexpected?



Material: Yarn


Decor: Versatile centerpiece

Method & Findings: 

Had to learn to crochet and make a pattern for this experiment. Started with a thinner yarn, and wanted different textures. But when assembled, it crumbled. Switched to a thicker yarn, and wanted to make a hanging wall piece–but it stretches out because it’s heavy, so it became a table piece. Could be arranged in a variety of ways; also a wearable piece.


Material: Wood

Decor: Unknown

Method & Findings:

Cut a bunch of strips without thought, without pre-expectation. Planned on steaming the wood, so started by soaking the strips in a bathtub. Disaster struck, however, when the steamer didn’t work, and then the shop closed, so the wood grew moldy before they could be soaked. Originally, the jig had square dowels, which resulted in sharp edges and breaks as the wood strips dried. Switched to round dowels for a smoother bend. Discovered that skinnier pieces work better with a bigger radius, and that oak, ash, and beech are good for steaming because of the open pores. Previous attempts include twisting, rubber bands, bent by hand.


The jig and the woven wood together could be a home decor object, rather than the jig being a tool separate from the finished object.