Projects Led by Fay Jones School Faculty Selected for New York Events in May and Into Summer

Furniture created by Fay Jones School students was on display this week at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York.
Cory Olsen

Furniture created by Fay Jones School students was on display this week at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Two projects led by faculty in the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design are being shown in New York over several weeks. Furniture created by Fay Jones School students was part of an international furniture fair earlier this week, and a pavilion of swings designed by two faculty members won an international competition and will open to the public in June.

"The Fay Jones School is 'spreading the news' in New York of the great work done by our students and faculty," said Peter MacKeith, dean of the school. "The recognition of our work in furniture design, exhibition design, installation design and playground design in the Big Apple extends the reputation of the school into new design territories and in front of a national audience."

An exhibition of furniture created during a fall 2018 studio led by Cory Olsen, a visiting professor of interior design, was included in the International Contemporary Furniture Fair. The event, which ran May 19-22 at the Javits Center, is the anchor event for NYCxDesign, New York City's official citywide celebration of design, drawing a crowd of more than 350,000 design enthusiasts.

The school's booth at the fair showcased work designed and constructed solely by students in the school's three disciplines - architecture, interior design and landscape architecture. They joined 900 exhibitors from around the world showcasing the newest items in luxury interior design to more than 38,000 attendees in the design industry and the public.

Their studio focused on user experience and craft in making. Students did a series of anthropometric and ergonomics studies that resulted in each student generating a very focused geometry for their final project. The semester culminated in each student designing and crafting their own reading chair, built specifically for their body and their comfort. 

There was an additional focus on an ethic of making in wood and better understanding the material being used to make. Each student milled rough lumber from a variety of hardwood and softwood species and use those surfaced materials in smaller scale exercises.  They sharpened their own hand tools and worked with chisels, spokeshaves and planes. 

The exhibit showed some computer numeric control (CNC) work and steel fabrication — which was still produced by the students themselves. But the primary focus was working with wood and realizing the work at a high level of craft.

On June 1, the winning project in the 2019 City of Dreams Pavilion competition opens to the public during a participatory art and cultural event at Lighthouse Park on Roosevelt Island in New York. Jessica Colangelo, assistant professor of architecture, and Charles Sharpless, lecturer and project architect at the University of Arkansas Community Design Center, developed the winning design working through their professional firm, Somewhere Studio.

They used cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels that were left over from the construction of the Stadium Drive Residence Halls on the U of A campus to design a pavilion of swing structures.

Their design, Salvage Swings, consists of 12 identical swing structures put together to form a pavilion. Each structure is made from salvaged cross-laminated timber and has a swing. A circle cut out of the side of each structure creates a window, and that circle is used for the swing seat. A prototype of their design is located on the south terrace of Vol Walker Hall.

Both Colangelo and Sharpless joined the Fay Jones School faculty in fall 2018. The Community Design Center is an outreach program of the Fay Jones School.

The City of Dreams Pavilion competition is hosted by the non-profit FIGMENT, the Emerging New York Architects Committee of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter, and the Structural Engineers Association of New York. The international competition is open to anyone — not just architects or designers — and entrants are asked to build a pavilion that showcases sustainable building practices.

The design by Colangelo and Sharpless was selected from five finalist teams. They received a $7,000 FIGMENT grant for winning the competition, and they raised an additional $15,000 through a Kickstarter campaign. 

Read more about the Salvage Swings project


Michelle Parks, director of communications
Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design


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