ISU College of Design Rome Program exhibition to feature work by students who studied in Italy last fall


Illuminated mother-and-child sculptures behind gauze curtains hung from domed lights were part of an installation by ISU students at the Venice Biennale last fall. Photo by Pia Schneider.

AMES, Iowa — Projects by 48 Iowa State University students who studied in Italy last fall will be on display Feb. 29 through March 10 in the ISU College of Design's Gallery 181.

The "Fall 2015 Rome Show" will feature work by 19 graphic design, 24 interior design and five integrated studio arts students who took part in the fall 2015 College of Design Rome Program and participated in the Venice Biennale 2015: 56th International Art Exhibition.

The exhibition will include drawings, paintings, photographs, mixed-media work, scale models, journals, books, posters, and corporate identity and packaging design projects completed during the semester in Italy. It will also feature animations, videos and a website students created for the Biennale installation.

A closing reception will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 10, in Gallery 181 and the college's Lyle E. Lightfoot Forum. Students will share reflections on their Biennale experience at 5:30 p.m.

Gallery 181 is located on the first floor of the College of Design building on the west side of the Iowa State campus. Exhibition hours will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday or by special arrangement. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

A 10-panel group painting by students re-creating "The Assumption of Mary" by Ludovico Mazzanti on the ceiling of the Church of Sant' Ignazio di Loyola in Rome. Photo by integrated studio arts senior Taylor Campbell.

Project highlights
While abroad, integrated studio arts students studied Renaissance and Baroque painters while completing courses in figure drawing and painting, and mixed media. Students from the other majors also could enroll in these courses.

"For one of our group projects, we selected a church ceiling embellished with 17 figures and re-created it as a 10-panel painting," said Jake Jones, an integrated studio arts senior from Sioux City.

Student teams in the retail interior design studio collaborated with emerging fashion designers—students and recent graduates of the IED European Institute of Design in Rome—to create and translate brand concepts into flagship stores for the designers' apparel lines. In the Italian design and drawing class, students visited showrooms and museums of contemporary Italian design in Rome and Milan and developed sketches, which served as precedents for their fashion store designs.

Accessible design for a store selling clothing for people on wheels—both the disabled and others like bicyclists—by interior design juniors Cristina Diaz and Emily Tomek.

"It was a really interesting experience. Our designer's sister uses a wheelchair, so she created clothing specifically for people on wheels—including bicyclists as well as those who are disabled—with extra flexibility in the elbows and knees, for example," said interior design junior Cristina Diaz, Aurora, Illinois.

She and teammate Emily Tomek, St. Charles, Illinois, "wanted the store we designed to be accessible to people of all abilities, too. As interior designers the project gave us an opportunity to delve into accessible design in a fun way, to realize that it can be aesthetically pleasing and can work for everyone," Diaz said.

For their corporate identity class, graphic design students researched and proposed new businesses appropriate to specific neighborhoods in Rome and developed branding and applications for those businesses.

"After traveling through Italy and other European countries I realized there are public areas like parks where graffiti on walls and benches is not very suitable for children," said graphic design senior Srdjan Pavelic, Des Moines. "I wanted to provide a better way for them to enjoy the outdoors."

For his hypothetical business, Pavelic created a nonprofit organization called Shine with a weekend mentoring program for young people to spend time in the mountains and learn communication, time-management and leadership skills.

Mountain-shaped basswood package designed by graphic design senior Srdjan Pavelic.

"I created a logo, storefront design, tram signage, an ad for display in an airport or shopping center, a website and a mobile app," he said. For the packaging design project, Pavelic developed a brand extension of Shine called Climb with a 1-foot-square mountain-shaped package with detachable doors to hold a t-shirt, a compass and a collapsible walking stick for each participant.

"Once kids would arrive at the lodge they could empty the contents into a backpack and the package could be used as a desktop storage device," he said.

Graphic design students also developed journals, posters and books in an advanced typography class. Students across disciplines studied art history, photography and Italian language, and participated in sketching exercises throughout Rome and on field trips to northern and southern Italy.

Courses were taught by Iowa State faculty members Brenda Jones, professor of art and visual culture; Paula Curran, associate professor of graphic design, and Julian Osorio, graphic design graduate assistant, along with Rome-based instructors Serafino Amato, photography; Carol Dienstmann, Jennifer Griffiths and Linda Nolan, art history; Andrew Kranis, Jody Patterson and Pia Schneider (resident director of the Rome Program), interior design; and Milena Locatelli and Paola Vecchio, Italian. In addition to the ISU and Rome faculty, professional lighting designer Ely Rozenberg assisted with the Biennale installation.

Paula Curran, Graphic Design, (515) 294-9942,
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,