Cranbrook Academy of Art showcases experimental furniture designs

Dezeen promotion: a bronze bench that mimics a desert landscape and a sculptural traffic cone are among a range of furniture designs on show at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Michigan.

Cranbrook: A New Domestic Landscape showcases work by over 20 designers, including both recent Cranbrook Academy of Art graduates and artists in residence at the historic American design school.

Highlights from the show include black lacquered furniture by Ania Jaworska, sewn rope lighting by Doug Johnston, lumpy aluminium and resin seating by Chris Schanck and boiled leather vases by Mark Dineen.

Other exhibits range from Kristina Gerig Hunter's colourful ceramics to Brian Dubois' more traditional variations on a wooden side table.

Cranbrook Art Museum forms part of the Cranbrook Academy of Art, which was first established over a century ago. Specialising in art, design and architecture, the school boasts a number of prolific designers in its alumni, from Charles and Ray Eames, to Eero Saarinen and Florence Knoll.

This exhibition focuses on Cranbrook Academy of Art alumni who have graduated since 2001 – to show that the school's latest crop of students are just as talented as their predecessors.

"Cranbrook is practically synonymous with modern furniture design, with designers like Eero and Pipsan Saarinen, Charles and Ray Eames, Harry Bertoia, Niels Diffrient, and Florence Knoll," said Cranbrook Art Museum director Andrew Blauvelt.

"Today, a new generation of Cranbrook artists continues to push the boundaries of furniture design," he said. "Just like their predecessors, they are experimenting with new forms and materials, showcasing their work in important venues around the world, and adopting an entrepreneurial attitude."

The exhibition opened earlier this year, and continues until 14 January 2018.

Programmes represented in the show include 3D Design, Architecture, Ceramics and Metalsmithing – and the aim is to show how all of these courses are exploring new materials and techniques.

"This show demonstrates that the current generation of designers deftly blends the craft and smaller scale production of the Arts and Crafts era, and the material and technical experiments from mid-century modernism with practices that are more akin to that of a contemporary artist, to create utterly unique solutions to the age-old problems of furniture design," said Blauvelt.

Cranbrook Academy of Art is currently accepting applications for fall 2018 admission.

Photography is by PD Rearick.