SAIC Design Collab. 2

February 2, 2016

Inspirations and words of advice from the art students who dreamed up our latest and greatest collection.


This time last year, we launched our first collection of space-saving products designed by students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year). The collection was such a success that we couldn’t wait for round two. “We’re continuously inspired by SAIC students’ energy and fresh approach to the industry, so it was only natural that we partner with them again,” says Ryan Turf, our managing director. For this year’s CB2 + SAIC collection, students were given the theme of “living well” in the context of home design. The fresh ideas they dreamed up really blew us away, and we think you’ll agree. Here, the students share their design inspirations, some early sketches of their work, and wise words of advice for future students.

Front row: Jungyun Yang, Jennifer Lee, Chang Liu, Victoria Kim / Middle row: You Jin Lee, John Vanderkloot, Chin Hua Lin, Hyunsong Melody Lee, Maggie Chen, Louis Kishfy / Back row: Taeyoung Choi, Mathew Devendorf, and Professors Tim Parsons and Casey Lurie.


Design Inspirations

“Incense was used by the ancient Egyptians to please the gods with a pleasurable aroma. When designing my pyramid incense burner, it felt natural to tie the form back to ancient pyramids in Egypt, an archetype most associate with the country.”

Lou Anthony Kishfy


“I was surprised at how much our designs changed from the beginning of the process to the end. My goal was to make my design, the acacia magnetic knife board, elegant and functional at the same time.”

Maggie Chen


“The inspiration behind my neat but lazy susan was memories of dim sum with my family. I would describe those times as “ordered chaos,” which is also how I’d describe my design process.”

Jennifer Lee


“Typical outdoor watering cans have a rugged appearance, so I asked myself “What would an indoor watering can look like?” Then while having dinner one night, a carafe caught my eye. By combining elements of an outdoor watering can and an elegant tabletop carafe, I created a hybrid: the watering carafe.”

Matt Devendorf


“Inspiration for my design came from memories of dinnertime with my family. I appreciated the act of sharing a meal at a table with others and chit-chatting under a same light. Through my together pendant light, I hope to share my nostalgia with other people and create a warm atmosphere in their homes.”

Victoria Kim


“Our theme for this project is “living well,” which I think means collecting things that you like and organizing them well. My coat hooks help people manage their belongings and pay more attention to what they have.”

Chang Liu


“My perspective of “living well” is being comfortable, so I chose to reinterpret the meaning of being comfortable with the introduction of my quantum rocking chair. I researched and tested the perfect sitting position, and learned all about the technical and human factors of ergonomics.”

Taeyoung Choi


“What surprised me most about the process were the many manufacturing, shipping and retail considerations that must go into building an annual line, and how integrally related this is to the design of the object.”

John Vanderkloot


Words of Advice

“Don’t be afraid to let a project teach you something new about your design process!”

Lou Anthony Kishfy

“Listen to EVERYONE. Even if you don’t agree or don’t find what someone has said to be relevant, tuck it away for later. You’ll need it eventually.”

Jennifer Lee

“I’d tell other students to think more, and remember you are designing for a brand, not yourself.”

Chang Liu

“After you’re done designing, you really have to research the manufacturing process to make sure your design can look the way you intend it to look.”

Youjin Lee

“Try not to rush in your final design.”

Taeyoung Choi

“Do every assignment twice. If the professor assigns ten concepts, do twenty. Push the design brief, don’t settle for what is expected from you.”

John Vanderkloot