California College of the Arts and San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) paired up this spring when “Production Furniture 1” students, taught and developed by Furniture Program chair Russell Baldon, created new and original furniture designs for YBCA’s grand lobby. The course is a part of ENGAGE at CCA, an interdisciplinary project-based learning initiative at the college that encourages interaction and collaboration between CCA students and community partners.
The idea for a project-based furniture course in collaboration with YBCA stemmed from a conversation between Baldon and YBCA graphic designer crystal am-nelson. They had started a conversation at a previous YBCA event about the lack of unique, dynamic furniture in the grand lobby space. The project was born soon thereafter.
“We started with a basic problem in that we needed new furniture for our lobby,” said nelson. “And I felt that whatever we chose had to be very representative of who we truly are, which is not easy to find at a furniture store. That’s when I thought about continuing to work with local design students by co-creating a process where their work could be transformed into a real-life situation while they were still in school.
“I also was interested in experimenting with the museum as a laboratory for emerging artists and educational institutions,” nelson revealed. “It was wonderful to witness their development and excitement for the project throughout the various stages.”