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BFAFurniture

Combine studio art, craft, and digital fabrication to design sculptural and functional furniture.

Overview

Break new ground in furniture design

With deep roots in the Arts and Crafts movement, the Furniture program prepares students for versatile careers in a rapidly changing landscape. We teach craft-based methods alongside digital fabrication methods, emphasizing innovation, sustainability, and collaboration. Students work closely with celebrated faculty to make full-scale sculpture and furniture in our wide range of studios and shops.

Studios + Shops

Learn to set up your own workshop

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In studios and courses focused on special techniques, you’ll learn to conceptualize, prototype, and produce finished pieces of furniture. You’ll focus on both analog and digital skills, including sketching and drawing, computer drafting, woodworking, metalworking, upholstery, and manufacturing processes. Faculty work with you individually to prepare you for local and national exhibition opportunities, competitions, and a culminating thesis project. By the time you graduate, you’ll know how to set up and run your own workshops or studios.

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Create transformative designs

Experimentation is at the heart of furniture design at CCA. In addition to traditional manufacturing, you’ll study exciting processes at the intersection of craft-based design and cutting-edge technology. Digital fabrication tools, such as CNC routers and millers, laser cutters, 3D printers, and plasma cutters, empower you to investigate different materials and create inventive design solutions.

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Collaborations across disciplines

We’ll teach you about current and emerging business strategies in furniture design through collaborative studios with local museums, nonprofits, and design firms. Recent partners include Autodesk, California Academy of Sciences, Concreteworks, Exploratorium, Headlands Center for the Arts, Oakland Museum of California, SFMOMA, and Workshop Residence. Working alongside professionals in architecture, interior design, and industrial design, you’ll build the critique and teamwork skills they’ll need in your professional life.

Your maker’s life at CCA

  • Network with local companies and studios
  • Collaborate with local museums and design firms
  • Attend the International Contemporary Furniture Fair
  • Study with renowned visiting professors each fall
  • Take intensive workshops with leading artists
  • Collaborate with architecture and design students
  • Exhibit in retail and public spaces
  • Build a full-scale portfolio of work
  • Design, build, and mount a senior show

Faculty

One-on-one mentorship

Our faculty are scholars, researchers, small studio owners, creative reclaimers of discarded material, mixed media sculptors, and so much more. They share their body of knowledge with design students, encouraging them to take risks in the studio as they build upon their individual strengths.

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Russell Baldon, Chair of Furniture

Chair Russell Baldon has studied and collaborated with some of the country’s leading studio furniture makers, including Garry Knox Bennett, Gail Fredell, Kim Kelzer, Tom Loeser, and Wendy Maruyama. His own work blurs the line between furniture and sculpture, science and art, technology and people, and the sensual and cerebral.

Curriculum

We think with our hands

Every undergraduate student participates in the First Year Core program, an opportunity to explore a wide range of materials and tools. Faculty from many different disciplines guide studio projects, group critiques, and discussions on foundational theory to help set students up for success.

BFA Furniture

Core Studio

Drawing 1
3 units
2D, 3D, and 4D
9 units

Furniture Major Requirements

Introduction to Furniture
3 units
DC1: Design Drawing
3 units
Drawing for Furniture
3 units
Studios (Atelier, Conceptual Object, Production Furniture 1 and 2)
12 units
Techniques (Chair, Cabinet, Metal, Soft)
12 units
Digital Fabrication
3 units
Senior Studio 1 and 2
6 units

Additional Studio Requirements

Interdisciplinary Studio
3 units
Diversity Studies Studio
3 units
Studio Electives
12 units

Humanities + Sciences Requirements

Writing 1
3 units
Writing 2
3 units
Introduction to the Arts: Antiquity to Early Modern or World Literature Survey
3 units
Introduction to the Modern Arts
3 units
Foundation in Critical Studies
3 units
Media History: History and Theory of 20th Century Furniture
3 units
Literary and Performing Arts Studies (200 level)
3 units
Philosophy and Critical Theory (200 level)
3 units
Social Science/History (200 level)
3 units
Science/Math (200 level)
3 units
Visual Studies (200 level)
3 units
Humanities and Sciences (300 level)
9 units
Diversity Studies Seminar
3 units
Humanities and Sciences Electives (200 or 300 level)
3 units

Total 120 units

Careers

Build your future in furniture design

Our students emerge from the program with versatile, adaptable skills in furniture design. Our alumni make conceptual sculpture, teach woodworking, design custom furniture for retail spaces, create small-run production pieces, and exhibit widely. Whether they become independent shop owners or work for major architectural firms, they are thoughtful collaborators with fine-tuned design instinct.

Potential career paths

  • Independent furniture designer
  • Independent product designer
  • Architectural consultant
  • Independent artist
  • Entrepreneur
  • Educator

News + Events

What’s happening in our community?

How to Apply

Discover your craft

Our students are often interested in using real materials to find new opportunities in physical design. They want to learn carpentry within a creative studio space. Under the guidance of world-renowned faculty, they also want to try their hand at merging traditional building methods with cutting-edge digital technology.

Find your creative community at CCA

Apply now