Newsletter Subscription
Print Subscription
Change Address
Portfolio> The Challenge of Making It
Students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago display their work.
Sara Condo
For Nathan D. Paoletta, a meltdown created aesthetic richness. Using a drip casting process, he "de- and re-materialized" twenty dollars worth of nickels and quarters and a stack of CDs (shown here) into artful and intriguingly abstract dishes.

Students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago may have been far from their studios when they presented projects in Milan last month, but they were clearly very much in their element amidst the avant-garde designs on show at the annual international furniture fair.

Following an intensive two semester design studio, led by SAIC professors Helen Maria Nugent and Jim TerMeer, 15 students presented the installation Loaded at the most au courant exhibition space of them all, Spazio Rossana Orlandi, a carefully curated gallery of new talent tending to the experimental and the highly crafted.

The students were challenged to find unexplored potential in the marriage of iron and sugar—materials with historically charged meanings of their own. And they did not disappoint as a sampling here of designs shows.

Julie V. Iovine


For a complete view, go to


Lauren Mosakowski calls her cast iron, porcelain, and rubber vessels, "Cage & Contain." Useless when the bars are in caged mode, the container is solid tight when slip closed. The project draws, Mosakowski said, on "the mystery of iron barriers to create objects that have an undisclosed past and seem to be hiding some alternate possibility" or a beverage.
Sara Condo
Lee Won Joon made a high-tech "crystal" chandelier by wiring together custom-made circuit boards with sugar-encrusted LEDs. Plugged in, the crystallized sugar-coated sensors light up. For Joon, it was an excersize in materializing ideas about sweetness and light, literally.
Courtesy SAIC
Valerie De Keyser wanted to lend lighting more texture by lining the interior of rolled steel shades with unexpected materials such as horsehair, peacock pelts, or (shown here) a luxe-looking sable made from magnetized iron fillings mixed with powdered sugar.
Sara Condo