Metropolitan State University of Denver | Department of Industrial Design
890 Auraria Pkwy
Denver, CO 80204

Amy Kern

Team Members
John Francis Nutter
Vlad Keeper
Blake Levien
Ioanna Lily Cornett
Allison Patton
Alex Wennerstrom


(1331 KB),  22-Aug-2017 04:04 PM


NEST serves as a place of rest and retreat. NEST reflects Colorado’s connection to natural beauty, wildlife and a culture of ‘making.’

Empathizing with our visitor’s tired eyes and sore feet, we will create a refuge that addresses their physical and sensorial needs. The experience will liken to walking through the woods and finding the perfect place to rest a moment under dappled light. As they rest, our visitors will take notice of the elements that make up their nest. The curious details and originality seem to appear everywhere and will inspire a quest to uncover each one.

The installation upcycles twigs, fallen branches and discarded woodshop scrap to create a dimensional and facetted sacred shelter. Playing with light and shadow, small seating spaces are defined by original lighting fixtures ‘carved’ out of the draping branch encrusted structure and uprights.

NEST showcases MSU Denver’s diverse Industrial Design student’s expressions. Nestled in to the crooks of tree branches, students abstract interpretations of bird morphology exhibit our program’s dedication to form development. The seating will also be envisioned by the students and realized using their impeccable craftsmanship abilities. Additionally, the core student team and dedicated students will design and fabricate the intricate and flexible canopy and uprights, floor and pendant lighting fixtures, shibori dyed fabric floor panels and pillows, and other objects or artworks that complete the ‘nesting experience’ for SOFA CHICAGO visitors.

“I’ve learned a great deal about the challenges and rewards of working in a group setting on a

design project. I realized then that I wanted to continue to push myself to work with other

students in the future outside of class. I also want to continue to put MSU Denver on the map

of the design world.” – Allison Patton

“This team project is the first opportunity to showcase my designs and teamwork skills to such a

grand audience.  Participating in this event will also give me a chance to see other peoples'

and schools' work.” – Alex Wennerstrom

Core Student Team

The first step of this project was to collect a core team of student designers and pull strong ideas that we can then develop, combine and execute. This statement uses direct quotes from the students to convey ideas and goals that we’ll pursue. Members include:

Vlad Keeper

John Francis Nutter

Ioanna Lily Cornett

Alex Wennerstrom

Allison Patton

Blake Levien

Bird Biomimicry Form Development

Every semester, our students are challenged to utilize their best model making skills to create a pristine form that is inspired by nature, is dynamic and gestural, and it’s dominant, subdominant and subordinate elements clearly defined. The best results from this course, Industrial Design Model Making, will be featured in the exhibition space. The challenge will evolve to include specific, instead of general, bio morphology. Birds are fascinating examples of how nature is the ultimate designer. Taking parts or the whole of a bird’s form as a starting point; students will abstract through iterations that result in beautiful floating and nesting bird inspired forms. The students will fabricate their forms out of either polystyrene foam or clay or a combination of both and finish with white paints.

“I think that we should be inspired by a conventional runway fashion show where some pieces

are very different but the line-up will always have some pieces that share some design

elements from the other pieces.” – Vlad Keeper

Floor and Pendant Lighting

The participating students will be challenged to design and fabricate lighting that will define the space. Clustered and arranged to provide a pleasing low wattage illumination to calm the eyes and add a hint of intrigue to the space. Made from any available material, students will make the lighting to reflect the theme of the space: NEST.

“I have an idea to make lighting that utilizes scrap of planed wood, the lamps will be bent

by hand and riveted together.” – Ioanna Cornett

“An accent light concept can be made out of wood, colored concrete, crystals (that will

create a blue gradient), and some sea urchin spines that really look like petrified feathers.”

– Vlad Keeper

“A lighting centerpiece could be a ceramic eagle. In the eagle’s beak, we will have three

electrical cords that are running to Edison bulbs giving calming light to the inside of the

nest. I also think that it could be interesting to use granite collected from Colorado as a way

 to secure the electrical cords to the ground before they rise to the eagle’s beak. This way

it ties all the thought back to the land and to Colorado’s nature.” – John Nutter

The NEST Structure

Colorado is home to the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde. There is a feeling of warmth and connection when traversing through the corridors and sloping rooms. The space we are proposing for SOFA Connect should approximate this sensation with natural elements and curvilinear spaces defining places that feel discovered. The canopy will be designed by the students focusing on ease of shipping, assembly and break down. The twigs, reeds and branches that dominate the structure will be a combination of ‘found in Colorado’ and purchased.

“Not only will the designs be refined and cohesive but the prototypes will also demonstrate our

excellent craftsmanship skills.” – Alex Wennerstrom

I want to emphasize the idea of expansion and contraction within the curvilinear form with the

entrance being tighter and then opening wider as people enter the space.  It is made in such a

way as to grant peace and serenity to everyone that enters it by separating them from the rest of

the convention center.” – John Nutter

“I don't want our nest to look too ‘busy,’ so I think that simple geometrical shapes and gradients

will be a good solution for cohesiveness. The gradient could be achieved by color, texture and

density of the materials or elements.” – Vlad Keeper

Shibori Textiles

Our Industrial Design Students have a deeply rooted tradition of making by hand and are proud of it. Shibori is a dyeing technique from 8th century Japan. Pillows and floor mats will pay homage to this handcraft technology because it has an appearance that resembles leaves and other patterns found in nature and just like in nature, no two Shibori patterns are the same. These soft textile elements will give the space an organic splash of cool color.

“I've taken the Textiles course, so I was also hoping to do some sewing techniques to add texture

to the pillows or accent pieces.” – Allison Patton

“I’m excited to represent the school as a ‘maker,’ as it has always been my passion to build

influential ideas with fine craftsmanship.” – Blake Levien

Other Elements and Original Artworks

We will request Industrial Design students to propose unique additions to personalize the space.

“With SOFA I would like to see that our exhibition highlights the strengths of the MSU ID

program by showing exceptional fabrication skills and project execution. I would also like

the SOFA project to exhibit Metro ID students capability to work together with nearby

fabrication studios, likeminded artists and creators in the university and around the Denver

region.” – Ioanna Cornett

“While my design style is function-driven, I have a great appreciation for design inspired by

feelings and experiences.  I hope to learn a lot about how I can add this method of design to

my own skill set.” – Alex Wennerstrom

The Furniture

The furniture for SOFA Connect will have specific constraints. All pieces will need to be flat-pack, under a strict budget, and easy to fabricate with our shop equipment quickly. The collection should be aesthetically unified but each piece somehow unique.

“Modular, stackable seating that alternatively functions as storage baskets would best

maximize the space for the users.” – Ioanna Cornett

I was thinking about pin cushions as inspiration for an ottoman. I think this concept fits within

the nest structure.” – Vlad Keeper

“I'd like to really utilize our facility with this project since we have some amazing tools. I want

to use the CNC, laser cutter, fabric cutter, and our new 3D printer. I'm trying to simplify some

of the designs so we mostly just have to assemble flat packed items/furniture at SOFA.”

– Allison Patton

The Installation of all the Elements

“In addition to practicing my skills as an individual and as a team player, I am excited to see

what our team produces for this event. The very fact that I will have had something to do with

the finished product is an opportunity to get professional recognition and to build my

educational and professional portfolio.”Blake Levien

“My idea is that the structure is playing on two parts; the wing of a bird wrapping around it’s

offspring as to protect it from the elements and the nest that is containing the offspring.”

John Nutter

NEST brings all of the unique elements together, the placement, designs and final installation details of the 24’ x 24’ will meet our defined goals and be an exceptional educational experience for the core student team and a delightful exploration and refuge for SOFA visitors.


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