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Interior design students display lamp projects

Nov. 11, 2010

Courtesy Photo
Natalie Rosato's lamp shines as one of many on display.

By Grace Gaddy

Brownwood junior Natalie Rosato married coffee with light when creating and constructing a working light fixture for a course in Baylor's interior design program.

The lamp, which incorporates a vintage burlap coffee sack as a shade, was first born as an original concept that later developed into a unique piece of furniture.

"I came across this inspiration from my grandparents and how their history was in Louisiana and the Cajun heritage, so I further developed that and went through their antiques," Rosato said. "I came up with a sketch and then just worked from there building it. I visited different antique shops, and I found some materials I wanted to use and just developed that into that creation."

Using a 1-by-4 lumber frame, Rosato used some old trampoline poles from her house as supporting components and added a rectangular base with a storage rack for additional use and appeal.

"It's meant to put next to a seating arrangement so the bottom can be used for magazines or books or blankets -- whatever," Rosato said.

Her project was one of 15 students' original creations being showcased this week as part of Michelle Brown's Lighting for Interior Design course, in which each student designed and built a fully functioning light fixture.

"They have to build it, wire it, everything," Brown, lecturer and interior design technology coordinator, said. "They typically do about five different sketches for me from whatever their source of inspiration is, and then they have to build a model of what they're doing with the light fixture. They can determine whether it's going to be a hanging light fixture, whether it's a floor, a table lamp -- however they want to do it."

After several stages of planning and development, the students were able to apply their ideas.

"It's their creativity, and I really don't limit it to what it is," Brown said. "It can be small, it can be big -- we've had some that have weighed quite a bit in the past."

Students were also unrestricted in organizing materials to use as the mechanical components for their design.

"They can use whatever they want to create it," Brown said. "If they can make it work, they can use it."

That freedom of creativity resulted in 15 unique "mock-ups"--or blueprint models -- that each student developed and constructed from the ground up. Using everything from glass to license plates, the projects exhibit various designs including one made from sheet metal that uses fiber optics to exemplify a watering can spraying water and another with a travel theme involving a map.

The students have been working on their projects since the first day of class, Brown said, with many knowing exactly what they wanted to build since freshman year.

The project has been a highlight of the department for many years, said Shelby L. Clarke, interior design studio technician and office assistant.

Adding to the tradition is a contest where other students can vote on the projects in five categories: first to be marketed, best of show, most creative, most original and most functional.

The works are on display and available for viewing through Friday in the Mary Gibbs-Jones Family and Consumer Sciences Building.