Projects by Rhode Island School of Design industrial design students: Kitsch by Ellie Liu, and Inter: The Invisible Skin by Elena Huang.
Editor’s note: This listing was updated on November 2, 2002.
It’s only apt that the Rhode Island School of Design’s Industrial Design program is housed in a former manufacturing facility. The renovated six-floor space includes shared studios, a shop and a gallery, allowing for an exchange of ideas. RISD’s undergraduate program helps students develop critical thinking skills that allow them to create products that centre the user, from individual objects to systems and experiences – following the design process from initial sketch to scale models and final prototypes that consider manufacturing processes.
After a foundational first year, second-year students learn visualization techniques and how to work with a variety of materials, including paper, wood, metal and plastic. Upper-year students, meanwhile, focus on opportunities for innovation, delving into technology-based projects while learning about the business and legal implications of the profession. Taught by a diverse professional faculty, the curriculum introduces principles of human-centred design that add value to companies and communities.
The graduate curriculum, meanwhile, is rooted in design’s connection to its social context — in particular, its role in preserving the environment and understanding human behaviour. Through case study analysis, history and practice, students explore various methodologies. The degree culminates with an annual thesis exhibition of work from graduate programs of all disciplines.
RISD’s collaborative programs engage with the industry through internships, sponsored studio projects with partners such as Samsung, Kimberly Clark, Progressive and Timberland, and off-campus relationships with MIT, Brown University, NASA and Massachusetts General Hospital. Student projects also work to serve under-resourced communities at home and abroad, in countries such as Costa Rica and Argentina.
Stuart Karten, David Hanson, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia (Airbnb), Danny Kim (Lit Motors), Peter Yeadon, Paolo Cardini, Jessica Brown, Matthew Bird, Michael Lye
Khipra Nichols, Ayako Takase, Heewon Lee