At Milan Design Week this year, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago presented Loaded, the culmination of a two-semester design studio led by Jim Termeer and Helen-Maria Nugent exploring the fluid character of value, shaped by global systems of trade. The results range from direct representations of currency to symbolic abstractions of exchange represented in two catalytic materials: iron and sugar.
Designers include: Brian Anderson, Amma Aning, Morgan Carter, Ryan Chorbagian, Valerie DeKeyser, Cecilia Gomez, Stephen Gulau, Won Joon Lee, Charlie McArthur, Jordan Morrell, Lauren Mosakowski, Nathan Paoletta, Ciara Taylor, Daniel Whiteneck, and Zhe Zhang.
The School collaborated with Chicago Crucible, a small local foundry, to produce these objects for the show. On an individual level, students also brought in confectioners and taxidermists to fill out the details of their individual projects, from Elizabethan collars to small, unconventional candies.
You already saw our favorite from the show, More Than It's Worth; here are several more.
Division, by Charlie McArthur, a series of serving dishes based on statistical curves in economic models of wealth.
Animal | Mineral by Valerie DeKeyser combines iron with organic materials in a series of pendant lights. She uses peacock feathers, horsehair, and man-made sable (cast iron dust and powdered sugar).
Stardust by Won Joon Lee, a modular light with sugar-encrusted LEDs.
Hot and Heavy by Stephen Gulau: a teapot takes its most minimal form.
Hot and Heavy Teapot (with wooden magnetic wand) and Cage and Contain on dispaly.
Poured Relations by Morgan Carter. The maple syrup warmer at once represents the Native American knowledge of natural resources and the early settler's skill with cast iron.
In Kind, by Jordan Morrell: bowls for exchange and trading.
Cage and Contain, by Lauren Mosakowksi are containers for open secrets.
Cast iron hooves from the exhibition tables, by Daniel Whiteneck.
OverWeight, by Ryan Chorbagian. A heavy lamp that becomes less a light source and more a heat source.
Part jail, part jewelry, part clock, part cartwheel, part affluence, part austerity, Cake imagines a world in where we have our cake and dare to eat it too.
I am, by Cecilia Gomez Lauria, celebrates human diversity while questioning its currency.
Traded by Amma Aning, a vessel inspired by the ebb and flow of imported and exported goods in the global economy.
Ding! by Ciara Taylor: A series of candy translating gaming behaviors (and rewards) to real life.
Visible Sweetness by Zhe Zhang: sugar containers for all its forms.