MDES and Interior Design classes collaborate on furniture project

Dunwoody’s Engineering Drafting & Design (MDES) and Interior Design students worked together to create eight unique pieces of furniture that will be on display in the Hub on campus this week.

The idea for collaborative project came when MDES faculty member Andrew LeRoy and Interior Design faculty member Nada Sarraf-Knowles were discussing how they both wanted to incorporate use of the College’s 3D printer into their curriculums.

“We decided to work together since product design and furniture design have many areas of overlap,” LeRoy said. “Others from the College got involved as well. This year the welding instructors and students were a big help to one of the projects. Tim Flugum has been helpful with suggestions for the students in the new woodshop. Design & Graphics Technology helped with a corrugated chair.”

Students were put into teams of three or four and asked to create an original chair using a minimum of two materials, with at least four points of contact with the ground, be fully functional, and hold 200 pounds. Each team was given a $100 budget, supplied by the College, to spend on materials. They were also required to determine costs for a manufacturing run of 500 chairs.

Students learned a lot about communication and collaboration through the project.

“Since the students come from different programs they have expertise in different areas and need to rely on one another’s skills in their areas of knowledge. It also teaches them about negotiation,” LeRoy said.

Students said the project was fun and challenging.

MDES student Chris Brenner said it was interesting getting input from someone in another profession, “who thinks differently from the way we think in manufacturing.”

MDES student Nicole Rodriguez said the larger scale project was more challenging than just printing out 3D prints.

“We learned about process and prototyping in general.”

Last spring LeRoy and Sarraf-Knowles won an academic innovation award from the College for the collaborative project.