Senior’s research makes a clear case for furniture design

There’s much more to a room than furniture, as Caryssa Waite explored in her senior seminar research, “Transparency: The Composition of Interior Design.” Waite wanted to examine interior design in a new way. She studied transparent furniture and how the appearance of a room changes when one can see through the furniture.

“I have always been passionate about homes and how they are designed, built and decorated since I was little,” Waite says. “My dad is a carpenter and (he) would let me join in on some of the projects he was doing and inspired me with all of the beautifully amazing things he could create.

“I became interested in transparent furniture because while I was doing research on interior design, I kept coming across images that had a transparent piece of furniture somewhere in the room. I was amazed by how it really opened up the room and emphasized the other aspects of a room rather than bringing the main focus to itself.”

When furniture takes a back seat, Waite argues that new facets of a room are more apparent. Design elements such as rugs, lighting, flooring and color can be more easily appreciated and noticed when the furniture in the room isn’t taking up the image.

While researching, Waite contrasted rooms with and without transparent furniture. One of her main case studies was French interior designer Philippe Starck, well-known for his creation of the “Ghost Chair,” a chair made of durable, clear plastic.

“I concluded that transparent furniture helps a room appear to be larger, the viewer is able to appreciate the beauty of the other objects of a room, and it is easier to take care of, more aesthetically pleasing (to me) and, depending on the type of plastic used, is stronger than other materials.”

After graduation, Waite plans to continue studying interior design.

Mel Sohr ’18
Oshkosh, Wisconsin