Video about the project on the Three Capes Track in Tasmania

Fantastic hands-on experience for UTas furniture design students

Second year students studying furniture design at the University of Tasmania, got some real hands-on experience recently as part of a project to design rest spots along the beautiful and remote Three Capes Track on the island.

The group spent their 13-week semester designing, building and installing 22 bench seats along the 46km track.  Each student on the programme had his or her own site and bench to work on, and each resting place should tell a story about the surrounding environment. A name is embedded in each bench that acts as a story starter, walkers can then engage with the story by reading more about it in a book they carry on the walk.

Simon Ancher, furniture design director said: "We took the students down in week 1, we had a site visit, we all had to walk 46 kilometres in two days, so it was pretty extreme. We visited most of the sites, we saw wedge tailed eagles, we saw seals, we really soaked up the experience. The next step was to develop concepts and ideas and present half scale models back to the Parks and Wildlife staff, which were well received and approved. Over a 13-week time slot, we’ve done the site visit, the design concept, design development, mocking up and prototyping, manufacturing and making, getting the gear down to the Tasman Peninsula, dropped in by helicopter, and then installed it all."

Fiona Rice, Interpretation Coordinator, Parks and Wildlife Tasmania was the client for the project: "Each seat had a name, which we call a story starter. The brief to the student was to create a seating form that began to tell that story. They also had to fulfil a whole lot of requirements as well. The seat had to last up to 15 years in the field with little to no maintenance. We gave them a materials palate to work with, so they had to work within that limited range and they had to work within a specific timeframe.... The result is above and beyond our expectations, and everybody that has seen them has said that. I had ideas of what we might get, but we were all blown away. Really professional."

Graduates of the furniture design programme can go on to be designer/makers, work for an architectural firm, furniture design and manufacturing house.  If you would like to find out more about furniture design programmes in Australia or New Zealand, contact Study Options.

Find out more about the University of Tasmania here and the Three Capes Track here.

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