A wide shot of a ceramics studio, featuring students working with pottery wheels and other tools.

Materials and Methods: An Introduction Survey

1948 Eames La Chaise originally designed to be fabricated of fiberglass, steel, and oak

DES OB 2035 001

Faculty: Pete Zerillo

This course will introduce students to practical knowledge regarding the inherent properties of materials as well as the various tooling, machining, forming and manufacturing processes commonly associated with fashioning these materials into designed objects for limited and mass production. An emphasis will be placed on the appropriate selection of materials for designed objects and the value placed on materials through the lenses of traditional and contemporary cultures. Whether a low-volume object or a mass-produced product, the understanding gained should allow students to predict constraints, react to issues, and responsibly select the material and manufacturing processes that best suit their needs.

The course will focus on the nature of materials and their chemical and physical properties. Current and future manufacturing methods will be studied as well as frameworks for employing responsible design including Life Cycle Assessment, Circular Economies, and ethical manufacturing. Readings will vary but will draw from historical, contemporary, and technical reference sources. Geographic and cultural contexts will be explored to best understand the many impacts of material use and selection. Students are encouraged to investigate topics and seek out information relevant to their current projects and design practice. Course discussions will be informed by weekly topical lectures. Assignments include a forensic analysis of manufactured objects, visual information presentations of independent investigations, and an individual material or process-centric speculative design project. This course requires students to have a laptop that meets SAIC's minimum hardware specs and runs the AIADO template.