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SoA students Joey Fala and Michelle Lahnemann collaborated on the Camo Bench one of two designs selected by the City of Troy for fabrication. This versatile piece can serve as a park bench a picnic table a climbing apparatus for children and even a display table for vendors at a farmers market. Basically we were looking to see furniture as something more than pragmatic or utilitarian said Fala. We wanted to see how it could help people congregate and interact socially. The pair also thought to include lighting in the design. Fala whose background is in theatrical lighting actually came to Rensselaer to study with its world- famous Lighting Research Center. We included lighting to make it safer and more inviting Fala explained and this decision made an impression on judges who liked the idea that this particular piece of furniture would be visible to boaters people crossing pedestrian bridges and even those across the Hudson River. The entire experience made a vivid impression on Lahnemann as well. Before I came to Rensselaer I thought architecture was only about designing structures. But the furniture project showed me that it could be about all kinds of things like art installations or project design. Thats exciting she said. Endless Possibilities JOEY FALA 14 MICHELLE LAHNEMANN 15 URBAN FURNITURE Urban Furniture is one of SoAs innovative vertical design studios. These courses which focus on specialized areas of architecture like urban planning building design or advanced architectural research are open to upperclassmen. The objective is to design pieces for the Troy Riverfront Park that will encourage new kinds of uses for this urban space. The course begins with students studying examples of what has been done across the country to revitalize parks and public spaces. The students are then charged with designing items that will not only serve as furnituretables benches etc.but that will also have a life as playscapes with playground elements. Among the pieces students have designed are a 21st century jungle gym a dual-purpose bench climbing rock and even an object that features a misting function for cooling down in hot weather. Urban Furniture gives students an opportunity to apply their learning to the real world. Working side-by-side with city officials they understand what it means to function within a systemand this knowledge will prove indispensable as they move ahead in their careers. We wanted to see how it could help people congregate and interact socially.