The Support for Knowledge project began as a dream to help the internationally renowned RIT industrial design program grow into a new facility that would mirror its status in the world. Building on the collaborative nature of the industrial design field and its cohort in and around RIT, we envisioned a collaborative project worthy of capturing such a spirit - distilled into a product that could be sold in limited edition to act as an heirloom to memorialize our intentions. Leveraging the storied Shop One as a conduit and our friends at Autodesk to explore production ideas, students, alumni and faculty could collaborate to develop limited edition works of art/design to help our cause.
The redesigned Industrial Design Studio will be the embodiment of good design to prospective students.The program has grown and matured over the years, consistently ranked in the top ten nationally. Providing students and faculty with facilities on par with the quality of the education will help drive the program into the top three nationally.
For the inaugural project launch, two experienced makers set out to apply their individual approaches to jointly create a pair of bookends. Their existing bodies of work show very different vocabularies. Each one designed one half of the set. Their goal was to produce an object set where each side has its own distinct style, but successfully interacts with the other side to create a holistic design conversation for the pair.
Wendell Castle went to school to be a designer and became a sculptor. Josh Owen trained to be a sculptor and later became a designer. Wendell and Josh became friends shortly after Owen moved to Rochester in 2010. Known as the Father of the American Craft Movement, Castle’s connection with Rochester, NY and Rochester Institute of Technology runs deep. Harold Brennan, the Director of School for American Craftsmen recruited Castle in 1962 to join the faculty at RIT to teach woodworking and furniture design. Castle also maintained his own studio in Rochester. More recently Castle was affiliated with the students and faculty of the industrial design program where he taught regularly since 2010. Josh Owen was recruited to RIT in 2010 and has been the chair of the industrial design program at RIT since 2012 making connections to the Vignelli Center for Design studies.