A group of 11 Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design students, led by Robert Dunay, the T. A. Carter Professor of Architecture, and Joseph Wheeler, assistant professor of architecture, have been invited to exhibit work at the International Furniture Fair in Milan, Italy, this month.

Virginia Tech’s exhibition, “Industrialize Furniture,” consists of furniture students designed with emerging digital and technical processes, particularly computer controlled systems. The pieces in the exhibition link experimentation in design research initiated in earlier projects such as the Solar Decathlon Competition and previous exhibitions at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York.

The exposition in Milan, the world’s largest, is regarded as the most important of its kind in the world. It will showcase the best new work in furniture design from more than 50 countries. The International Furniture Fair website states: “This event is singular, not just as the leading event in the home/contract furnishing sector at global level, but also a matchless occasion for an international meeting of minds — not to mention business, image, and communication.” More than 250,000 people are expected to visit the fair at the Milan Fairgrounds at Rho from April 16 through April 21.

The logistics of getting to Milan and setting up the exhibition have proved as significant a design challenge as producing innovative furniture, according to the team. The entire process is an education regarding the complexity of design and the consequences of real decisions in a changing world. Every detail must be considered – from the weight and size of each work; the material content; production process; image and identity; and the function, whether it be practical or polemical.

The Virginia Tech students participating are:

  • Kashuo Bennett, graduate student in architecture, of Faber, Va.
  • Marc Holbrook, fourth-year architecture, of Lancaster, Pa.;
  • Nathan King, graduate student in industrial design, of Christiansburg, Va.;
  • Jason Tropp, fourth-year industrial design, of Forest, Va.;
  • David Clark, graduate student in architecture, of Fredericksburg Va.;
  • Brandon Lingenfelser, fifth-year architecture, of Blacksburg, Va.;
  • Catherine Worsham, fourth-year industrial design, of Chesterfield, Va.;
  • Andrew Camardella, fourth-year industrial design, of Cockeysville, Md.;
  • Jonathan Grinham, fifth-year architecture, of Charlotte, N.C.;
  • Ryan Altenburger, fourth-year industrial design, of Landenberg, Pa.;
  • Brandon Ramsuer, fourth-year industrial design, of Roanoke, Va.;
  • Bryan Montanio, fourth-year architecture, of Dunn Loring, Va.;
  • Charles Meyer, third-year architecture, of Tom River, Va.;
  • David Rariden, fifth-year architecture, of Ashburn, Va.; and
  • Nick Monday, graduate student in architecture, of Richmond, Va.

The College of Architecture and Urban Studies is composed of four schools: the School of Architecture + Design, including architecture, industrial design, interior design and landscape architecture; the School of Public and International Affairs, including urban affairs and planning, public administration and policy and government and international affairs; the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, which includes building construction in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and construction engineering management in the College of Engineering; and the School of the Visual Arts, including programs in studio art, visual communication and art history.

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