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AWin for Repurposed Art

W hen Kara Hampton (BA 2016, Fine

Arts) began drawing detailed sketches
of the dead insects found in her studio, she
Chicago, now in its 23rd year, is the premier
gallery-presented art fair dedicated to three-
dimensional art and design.
knew little of how big her idea would become. The students and their advisors named
The premise was that there is compelling their work A Natural Urban Environment.
design and beauty in a small and abandoned This title reflects their central theme, as the
natural form, notes Sigrid Zahner, associate proposal describes it: the tension that is
professor of fine arts in the Patti often felt between human intervention and
and Rusty Rueff School of Visual and natural spaces.
Performing Arts. One of the most intriguing aspects of
That premise was the inspiration for the project was how the team selected its
a core team of four students: Hampton, materials for constructing the furniture and
Gabrielle Bennett, Miranda Herring, and other pieces on display. While attending
David Marchese, who all then created an classes in Yue-Kong Pao Hall, the students
immersive interior space that received first noticed that there were many discarded
place at the fourth annual CONNECT student materials that were never reused between
design competition in Chicago. The four the various studio spaces. The greater
students, advised by Zahner and associate metaphor, says Zahner, is that even that
professor of industrial design Laura Drake, which has been discarded or seems to have
utilized leftover materials to produce an no purpose or value can have essential beauty
entire interior installation. The final product and usefulness.
was based on the idea of regeneration and When looking around the space, one can
the allure of the seemingly mundane. As see how many materials were repurposed
Zahner emphasizes, The quotidian is often for aesthetic use. Using items ranging from
Students winning overlooked, and our intent was to reverse the copper to cardboard, the students were able
design incorporated
oft quoted look outside the box. to hone their specific crafts and work as a
recycled fabric, porcelain,
wood, and cement. The CONNECT competition, which is on team. The chair cushions were fashioned
Photos provided by
display during the Chicago SOFA Fair, selects from burlap coffee sacks, sporting prints
Sigrid Zahner. only six universities to compete annually in of Hamptons dead insect drawings. The
an innovative design challenge that highlights saying one mans trash is another mans
the most prestigious design programs treasure takes on new meaning now for
across the country. This collaborative, these students and their faculty advisors.
selective competition encourages students to Zahner emphasizes, We want to show that
design environments based around certain just because something is perceived as trash
principles, which include seating, lighting, doesnt mean that it cant be redesigned into
and an overall theme. The SOFA (Sculpture something useable.
Objects Functional Art and Design) Fair in By Caroline Shanley.

8 THiNK MAGAZINE Fall 2017

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