Umbra has collaborated with the Rochester Institute of Technology as sponsor of the school’s industrial design studio project.
The Metaproject program is run by Josh Owen, professor and industrial design program chair in RIT’s School of Design in the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences. The semester-long course pairs design students with a client for a real-life product design competition, with the goal of providing students with the resources to create a commercialized item.
This year, the students were tasked with designing for small spaces and creating products that embody Umbra’s ethos to make compact living more efficient and enjoyable.
Throughout the semester, students worked closely with designers at Umbra, taking a class trip to Toronto to observe the Umbra studio and store firsthand and hosting the company’s designers at RIT’s main campus. The resulting designs were realized as functional prototypes. The final projects were judged by Matt Carr, Umbra’s vp/design, and Mingus New, product designer at Umbra.
The winning designs were chosen because “they are thoughtful, innovative solutions that address concerns of micro living and align with Umbra’s aesthetic,” according to the company. First place was awarded to Tadhg Duffy for his Popup Room Divider, with second place going to Vincent Lin for his Buoyancy Paper Towel Holder and third place to Mick Bartholomew for his Waver Basket.
The top 10 designs will be shown at this year’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair at the Javits Center in New York City, to be held May 21 to 24.