Rejuvenation Lighting Design Collaboration
The holidays are a bit brighter with new lighting designs for Portland’s Rejuvenation by students in PNCA’s Print Media program and the MFA in Applied Craft and Design offered jointly by PNCA and Oregon College of Art and Craft.
The holidays are a bit brighter with new lighting designs for Portland’s Rejuvenation by students in PNCA’s Print Media program and the MFA in Applied Craft and Design offered jointly by PNCA and Oregon College of Art and Craft. PNCA’s BridgeLab, which connects students with businesses and creative industries to attain real world knowledge and build networks, facilitated the project.
Rejuvenation, a local lighting and house parts business founded in Portland over 35 years ago, wanted to reach out to the next generation of local artisans. Kristine Morich, a product designer at Rejuvenation, had co-taught courses with MFA in Applied Craft and Design chair, JP Reuer. Morich describes how the project emerged. “The collaboration came about because we were thinking of ways in which to align Portland’s rich craft community with Rejuvenation’s craft,” Morich says. “Our craftsmen and designers create products with the same dedication to design, details, and materials, although at a different scale then some of the local craft studios, artists, and students. We love Portland’s creative energy and wanted to combine the two. We wanted to see our product with a new perspective, and through new eyes.”
PNCA’s BridgeLab provides support in entrepreneurial development and resources for a life of creative practice. Since its founding last year, BridgeLab has offered workshops on business basics with how to tackle taxes or price work, advising for students and alumni, and BridgeLab Fireside Forums which create an intimate space for entrepreneurs to tell their personal stories about successes and challenges in their line of work. It was natural that BridgeLab’s manager, Gina Morris, would take on the role of facilitator between Rejuvenation and students in the graduate programs. Rejuvenation taught students about product development, and in return, students invented fresh new styles with the opportunity to sell their work at a celebratory event and a chance for future sales at Rejuvenation.
The two collaborative projects between the graduate programs and Rejuvenation began in the studio. The MFA in Applied Craft and Design (ACD) program has had a past record of successful collaborations among the Portland community including an annual design build project that functions as a social experiment for each new cohort, strengthening craft skills as well as learning how to use new tools, and completing a project within two week’s time that satisfies the client. Past projects have included designing a space at a juvenile detention center to read books, a neighborhood bike hub, and a chicken coop for urban farming. Students met with Morich on a periodic basis from June until October. The meetings consisted of informal critique, refinement, and eventually led to making models. During this process, Morich explained that students used problem-solving skills for, “how different components connect to each other, or what type of hardware [was] needed to make the light function well.” The ACD studio had the goal of having collection of eight lights available for purchase at Rejuvenation for the holiday season.
“Gina from BridgeLab approached us with the possibility of working with Rejuvenation,” says Matthew Letzelter, Chair of the MFA in Print Media program. “I thought it would be an interesting start to expanding what the print lab could support and find ways to collaborate that would have an impact on the students.” In parallel with the product development the ACD students were doing, Print Media students worked with Morich on lampshade designs. Some parameters of the project were that the lampshades were to be only metal but came in a variety of sizes, shapes, and finishes. With the directive of designing something that fit Rejuvenation’s style, students experimented with applications including stencils, metal etching, and adding pigment.
“I focused on nature and patterns while working on the lampshades, creating an elegant little landscape on the outside and sometimes the inside of the lampshades,” says printmaking graduate student, Lynsey Nelson. Another student, Carrie Ann Miyamoto, explained that the design process, “involved a lot of research, experiments, and tons of collaboration and sharing,” and added that the experience was valuable because she attained team building skills and shared, “tips, tricks, and technical knowledge,” among the group. The Printmaking studio will also have work available for purchase at Rejuvenation during the holidays.