Chairs to make you sit down and think

The 'Furnished' exhibit features faculty-made furniture at Slocum Hall.

Often, furniture reflects on the building it inhabits. Because of the close relationship between the two, the subject of Syracuse University School of Architecture’s exhibition, 'Furnished', should be no surprise. 

'Furnished' opened on Sept. 20 and runs until Oct. 11. The exhibit features a variety of furniture designed by Syracuse University School of Architecture faculty.

Set up in five IKEA-esque showcases, the furniture ranges from a set of different sized wooden chairs to an end table carved in the likeness of a 1950’s television set.

In an unintentional reflection of the school, which has followed a recent trend in architecture to emphasize function over form, most of the pieces are modern. A steel shelving unit seemingly exemplifies Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s motto, “Less is more.”

As a result of similar architectural theories, furniture from multiple designers still forms one cohesive body of work. Pieces made of different materials and for purposes fit together as ideas of how beautiful design can be based in function.

Exhibit-goers unfamiliar with architectural studies will find the pieces thought-provoking yet strange.

Many of the pieces are designed so unusually that at first their intended use is not recognizable. To solve this problem, a wonderful amount of information hangs on the backboard above many of the pieces.

One particular chair, for example, has a large lump where the seat should be. A diagram on the backboard shows how the chair was molded specifically to one person’s body. In a photo taken during the chair’s creation, the subject sits with one foot where the chair’s seat would be, thus demonstrating how the large protrusion occurred.

At another display, a versatile set of glass and metal tables sits arranged as a desk. In the accompanying diagram, the tables are shown to be arranged as a table and display case rather than the desk.

Other examples in the room do not require any explanation, as their uniqueness is obvious to any viewer. A wooden coffee table featuring a sliding drawer and large curved groove in the top had prop magazines and pistachios in their respective places to show how the coffee table was meant to be functional, yet stylish.

The limited number of pieces on display give 'Furnished' a modern aesthetic. Empty space fills the corners of the gallery, focusing attention on the simplistic art sitting in the middle of the room. 

Altogether, Furnished serves the purpose of the Slocom Hall Gallery; Students have the opportunity to see the work of their instructors to learn how furniture fits into the design of buildings.


Check It Out:


The exhibit can be found at the Slocum Hall Gallery. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

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