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News . Feature Stories . CIA student's furniture design chosen for MOCA Cleveland

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April 28, 2015

CIA student's furniture design chosen for MOCA Cleveland

Third student-designed piece to be installed in contemporary art museum

CIA student's furniture design chosen for MOCA Cleveland

By Alyssa Brown

It’s more comfortable than it looks, as visitors to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Cleveland will discover.

“Ribbon Bench,” designed by CIA junior Justin Henry, will be the next piece of CIA-student-designed furniture installed at MOCA and its designer is thrilled.

“I love MOCA because the building itself is really cool,” Henry said. “It allowed us as designers to immerse ourselves into that architecture and get inspired by it.” Henry was equally inspired by the architecture of an eel, appropriately named the ribbon eel.

A non-traditional student who enrolled at CIA with a degree in manufacturing engineering, Henry paired his engineering practicality with his creative education at CIA to create the contemporary design. He says he set goals of forming innovation beyond current furniture constraints, creating a piece that was simple yet daring in design.

A connected series of parallel boards cut in undulating waves, “Ribbon Bench” measures 12.5x2.5 feet.

“If you look at MOCA there’s a lot of sharp edges, and if you go in, there are parallel lines everywhere. I like that aspect,” Henry said.

His will be the third piece designed by a CIA Industrial Design student to be fabricated for MOCA. After opening its new facility in 2012, MOCA teamed up with the Industrial Design department, building a relationship that would allow students to use their skills and creativity to create one-of-a-kind design solutions for the building.

Megan Reich, deputy director of program, planning and engagement at MOCA, said, “We were particularly impressed by how much Justin considered the Museum’s mission, its relationship to the audience, and the specific space (the Cahoon Lounge) in his design.”

Industrial Design Department Chair Dan Cuffaro was also impressed by Henry’s design. “Justin’s Ribbon Bench is a great example of how technology influences contemporary design,” he said.

Cuffaro also sees furniture as an important part of the architecture of the museum. “Think of furniture as a bridge between person and architecture,” he said. One of the challenges, he explained, was creating piece that physically connects museum patrons to the hard-edged design of the building.

MOCA will be providing a stipend to Henry to have his piece fabricated. Expect to sit on “Ribbon Bench” in the museum in spring 2016.

Alyssa Brown is a marketing intern at CIA.

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