In partnership with world-renown avant-garde accessories manufacturer, Areaware, students were required to explore the properties of wood and its use as a primary material in object construction. Students were required to research examples of culturally specific historical and contemporary toys and to define the meaning of Universal Toy. Ultimately each student selected and researched a specific object typology in the domestic sphere and a specific cultural / situational context and respond with an inventive proposal that explored the meaning and notion of how toys integrate into contemporary cultures and lifestyles. This workshop challenged the students to create a useful and emotive product that argues for a new interplay between user and object to expand and challenge our collective understanding of the way behaviors influence outcomes in the physical landscape. The objects were designed in response and in reaction to the contemporary conditions of their object classifications. They were realized primarily in 100% sustainable wood in order to make use of its time-tested qualities and to promote an attitude of social responsibility, giving their objects the qualities of a modern heirloom.
Students designed and produced a high-quality, finished and functional prototype from actual materials using available on and off-campus resources. They carefully archived their process and documented the final product with design-control drawings suitable for manufacturer review, graphically compelling use-scenarios and the written word to convey their overall concept. Students were given the opportunity to art-direct the final documentation of the product using a professional product photographer to deliver press-quality communication materials. These prototypes were judged by Areaware for suitability for commercialization.