MCAD emphasizes a collaborative process and working with students from all majors. For this Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, you will take courses in several different areas, including a core focus, adding up to 120 total credits required for graduation.
Required Courses - These are the core courses that every Furniture Design student takes.
Foundation Studies - These classes help you become a well-rounded student; they build a solid art background.
Studio Electives - Throughout your studies you can choose from several studio electives that give you hands-on creative time.
Humanities and Sciences Electives - These classes round out your experience at MCAD, deepen your creative practice, and fulfill non-studio requirements for a degree.
A prerequisite to all other furniture courses, this course examines both wood and metal as primary elements in traditional and sculptural furniture construction. Students learn to design and construct furniture through basic to advanced instruction in a wide range of techniques, from plasma cutting and welding to metal and wood lathes, other power tools, and floor machinery. Advanced hand tools are explored. Each project includes a drawing component to allow conceptual exploration and refinement of presentation skills. Demonstrations, lectures, and field trips to local lumber and steel yards are important components of the course.
This course investigates furniture construction by examining and deconstructing the design process through drawing, computer rendering, and model making. Critiques take place at all stages of the design process. The class also examines current designers and their processes through reading assignments, in-class discussions, and lectures by visiting design professionals.
This course introduces students to functional illumination and illuminated objects and addresses accessories that are commonly associated with the experience of furniture. The class includes studio experiments with light (including lamps and atypical light sources), wiring, and electrical safety. Lighting concepts include task lighting and environmental and architectural uses of light. Accessories may include divider screens, trays, non-fabric window treatments, furniture hardware, office helpers, shelving, and other items that complete the furniture experience. Students are encouraged to incorporate a broad spectrum of materials such as plastics, metals, woods, castables, glass, and stone. Lectures and demonstrations support class activities.
Furniture has been defined as functional art. This class investigates the boundaries of functionality, furniture, and art using traditional methods of furniture design and construction to sustain or dispute this definition. Lectures covering crossover furniture artists and sculptors initiate a conversation about the role of function in art.
This class conceptualizes textiles and furniture surfaces as skin or wrapped objects and delves into the ergonomic relationship of furniture with the human body. Students explore industrial sewing machines, sewing from temporary patterns, applying adhesives, and weaving, as well as traditional and nontraditional methods. Topics include a range of materials, as well as mining conservation and environmental concerns. Each project incorporates lectures, demonstrations, and critiques. Off-campus professional networking opportunities are also immersed within the semester.
This studio course examines the many human factors that create a system relationship through exploration of the human scale as it relates to furniture, interior, and exterior space. In a studio setting, designs in furniture are created with an understanding of anthropometrics, social responsibilities, and environmentally responsible design. Projects focus on critical ideation and are evaluated by faculty and peers through group discussions and critiques.
This course focuses on the design of limited- and mass-production furniture. Students examine flat-pack, sustainable materials, and local and global outsourcing. The differences and similarities of each type of production model are explored through studio assignments utilizing computer modeling and full-scale prototyping. Group critiques and discussions focus on the relationship of craftsmanship and technology in each student’s work.
This course explores the expanding creative possibilities of digital fabrication with computer-generated, found (appropriated), and scanned digital objects. Students learn advanced three-dimensional modeling techniques in formZ Pro to create ideation, form development, presentation, and fabrication models in addition to techniques for capturing existing objects with MCAD’s 3D Laser Scanners. Objects are digitally fabricated from various materials and incorporated into finished works using MCAD’s 3D printing, laser cutting, and CNC router systems while outsourcing is explored as an effective practice in digital making. Instruction includes post-digital techniques in fabrication along with modeling-based presentation techniques and the review of other professional level software packages.
This course is an exploration of furniture/objects created using a variety of materials, including fiberglass, carbon fiber, solid surface(s), and injection molding. Projects range from handmade studio works to production-ready designs. Techniques and tools include mold-making, epoxy resins, gel coat, vacuum bag, hand and machine shaping, and CNC routing. Students examine conservation and environmental concerns throughout the production and function of each creation. Each project consists of lectures and demonstrations with group and individual critiques throughout each assignment.
This course explores the shared concerns of furniture and sculpture; their similarities in making and their contrasts in concept, enabling students to individually pursue ideas within both disciplines. This hands-on studio course focuses on learning and applying techniques in making contemporary furniture and sculpture beyond the 3D Foundation experience. Students create objects that lead to a new aesthetic and creative possibilities through expanded processes and new material options.
This course addresses the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the contemporary art world. Topics include writing for professional opportunities, exhibitions, the documenting and marketing of work, website development, residencies and graduate schools, copyright and tax issues, jobs in education, and studio/business startup concerns. Students engage in a variety of individual and group projects, including curating an off-campus exhibition. Course faculty, guest lecturers, and visiting artist presentations connect abstract information with real-world experience.
Choose to pursue an internship or an additional studio elective
This course is for the advanced student who is interested in developing a self-motivated, sustained body of work through an understanding of the relationships between the formal, conceptual, and contextual aspects of sculptural form. Examining their own studio practice in relation to current topics in the field, students expand their perspectives while developing their work. Studio practice is supported by development of critical thinking skills, individual and group critiques, guest critiques, writing exercises, and readings covering artists, criticism, and theory.
During their senior year, every furniture design major is required to develop and complete a substantial body of work in a specific field. This course provides a forum for the critical evaluation of this work and curatorial guidance in preparation for the Commencement Exhibition. Course content includes critical readings, position paper, individual and group discussion, and informational meetings. Required for all seniors.
Foundation: 2D is an introduction to creative thinking that develops students’ skills in research, observation, interpretation, and self-expression. An emphasis is placed on exploring new ways to read and see the world, as well as new ways to report on it. Students learn basic two-dimensional principles through the use of various media, tools, materials, and processes. As a result, students develop a visual and verbal language for analyzing, organizing, shaping, and communicating two-dimensional form and meaning.
This course is an introduction to understanding of visual creation for the development of knowledge, imagination, and perception. Students are introduced to basic three-dimensional concepts as well as materials and technical production processes. Classroom activities include shop demonstrations of tools and techniques, information, lectures, and discussions appropriate to promote the balanced fusion of practice and theory.
Foundation: Drawing 1 is an introductory drawing course designed to prepare students for study in all majors of the college. Students develop basic drawing skills, including the ability to perceive and express visual relationships, organize a two-dimensional composition, and depict and manipulate form, space, and light. Students work from direct observation of still life, interior space, and landscape.
Foundation: Drawing 2 is an observationally based drawing course designed to reinforce and develop the basic drawing skills established in Foundation: Drawing 1. Students work with a variety of subjects, including a substantial amount of drawing from the figure. In addition to working from direct observation, students explore drawing as a tool for invention, conceptualization, and idea development. The course also affords students an opportunity to investigate drawing materials in more breadth and depth than in Foundation: Drawing 1.
Students are introduced to digital resources at MCAD while exploring digital media. Areas covered include the Service Bureau, Gray Studio, and Media Center, along with other digital resources. Students use a variety of software and hardware to learn the basics of working with recorded media, including video, sound, and photography, as well as developing critical language for discussing media and media artists.
Everything we make has its beginning as an idea, which takes form as an artist/designer makes a series of decisions to guide its creative evolution. This course is designed to help students explore the development of new ideas and their own process of making. Students also create visual tools to track their creative process from idea through construction and then to post production analysis. The course consists of discussions, critiques, exercises, and visual logs.
Practice is more than working methods: it’s the context, marketing, and creative space that maintain creative work. Contemporary Practice introduces students to the foundations, variety, and tools of a professional practice. Students upgrade websites and documentation, enter contests, and create professional presentations of their work. Classes consist of lectures, student presentations, and guest speakers from a wide range of disciplines.
Choose BFA studio courses to take as electives; amount determined by your major.
The objective of this course is to familiarize students with the major stylistic, thematic, cultural, and historical transformations in art history from prehistoric times to the nineteenth century. This course helps students develop critical tools for the interpretation and understanding of the meaning and function of art objects, architecture, and design artifacts within their original historical contexts. Class sessions consist primarily of lecture with some discussion.
This course introduces students to issues in modern art, popular culture, and contemporary art and design. Topics may include the expanding audience for art, the transformation of the art market, the impact of new technologies, the changing status of the artist, and the role of art in society. This course is taught as a seminar with some lecture.
Take 6 credits of art history courses
Key to the creative and critical growth of the engaged, successful artist is participation in a culture of writing and inquiry. Students in this course focus on the kinds of writing they will encounter and produce in their coursework at MCAD and as creative professionals. Regular writing workshops allow students to concentrate on experiential and practical approaches to writing. Students explore a variety of texts and objects through class assignments, and then develop clear compelling essays employing a variety of rhetorical and narrative strategies.
Creative or professional writing elective
Choose one humanities and science classes.
Scientific and Quantitative Reasoning classes increase students’ appreciation for the power of scientific and quantitative approaches to knowing the world.
6 credits of histories, places, philosophies electives
The Liberal Arts Advanced Seminar enables students to pursue their own research and writing goals within a seminar setting. Projects are student-originated and consist of both a written piece and a public presentation. Class sessions are discussion-based and interactive. Group learning is emphasized
Choose two liberal arts electives.
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