Industry Connections Report | 2019



Industrial design seniors at UW-Stout learned firsthand what life as a professional designer will be like. They worked directly with Room & Board, a Minneapolis-based company known for modern, artisan-crafted furniture and accessories. The 17 students each had three weeks to design a product, with the possibility of their design being manufactured and sold. “I learned what it’s really like to work as a furniture designer and how fast-paced it is,” said senior Joe Rosewicz. The experience had an even better ending for Rosewicz and two classmates, whose work was judged by company employees as the best in class. Each of them received $1,000 and the opportunity to have Room & Board turn their designs into products.

at Room & Board headquarters to about 30 employees, including the company president.

The final presentation was the third time students met with Room & Board representatives during the project. The first two times, a small group of Room & Board officials came to campus to introduce the project and to provide feedback about halfway through the design process. Brian Linehan, a 2010 UW-Stout graduate and Room & Board merchandise associate, helped coordinate the project with Astwood. He has volunteered to critique students’ work in the past as well. “Working with the students was a great experience for Room & Board and something we hope to do more of in the future,” Linehan said. “The work presented to us was professional, fresh and inspiring. It is awesome to see the program so clearly thriving and growing.”

The company also donated $2,000 to UW-Stout’s industrial design program.

The project was set up as a contest in Industrial Design Senior Studio II taught by Associate Professor Jennifer Astwood. Students presented their final design ideas

20 UW-Stout students, faculty and Room & Board employees gather after students presented their product designs at company headquarters in Minneapolis. Professors Erik Evensen and Jennifer Astwood are in the front row, second and third from left.

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