Marketing & Communications: Products from 15 SAIC Students to be Featured at the World Renowned Milan Design Week

CHICAGO—The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), a global leader in art and design education, announced the launch of whatnot 2016, a collection of designed objects from students within its Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects (AIADO) department. The collection will be revealed at Spazio Rossana Orlandi during Milan Design Week in Italy, April 12–17.

Now in its ninth iteration, this year’s collection is inspired by SAIC’s 150th Anniversary celebration, and the objects draw from the world as it existed in 1866—the people, behaviors, beliefs, things, technologies, ideologies, cultural norms, natural events, fads, crazes and missed opportunities. The 15 SAIC students and emerging designers will bring 1866 into the future with objects including a “Crylus” pen that writes with tears, nesting glass bell jars whose color changes with the air temperature, a paper wall clock whose movements reference the migration of refugees around the world and a bean bag chair that morphs from a tidy, structured pouf to an insouciant, resplendent lounger with the pull of a zipper.

SAIC is one of only a few American colleges participating in the annual Milan Furniture Fair (Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano) during Milan Design Week. SAIC’s whatnot 2016 collection will be shown at the esteemed Spazio Rossana Orlandi from April 12–17. The products created are entirely conceived, designed and produced by undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in AIADO’s yearlong Milan External Partnerships class, taught and curated by professors Helen Maria Nugent and Jim TerMeer.

“For nine years, students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago have had the unique opportunity to design, produce and show their objects next to some of the world’s most renowned designers during the Milan Furniture Fair,” said SAIC Professor Helen Maria Nugent. “Going through the process of concept to creation and having this type of exposure to design professionals and buyers allows our students to gain significant, invaluable real-world experience over the course of just two semesters.”

Milan Design Week goes from April 12–17, and SAIC’s whatnot 2016 collection will be featured and sold at the Spazio Rossana Orlandi, Salone del Mobile, Via Matteo Bandello 14, 20123 Milano. To access high-resolution images, bios of the student designers and learn more about whatnot 2016, visit

About whatnot

Conceived by Professors Helen Maria Nugent and Jim TerMeer, the whatnot studio brings design experiments to life as real products. Positioned as a commercial brand, whatnot is also a progressive educational platform focused on creative inquiry matched to iteration, systems of production and the nuances of the marketplace. The yearlong class gives students the space and time to find their voice as independent designers and the resources to produce fully realized, original products that are launched to the public at the annual Salone Del Mobile in Milan during Design Week. This is the ninth consecutive year in which emerging designers from SAIC will debut new work in Milan.

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Bree Witt
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