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Students unveil window installation

By Robert Liwanag

Bata Shoe Museum window installation

A section of the window installation on display at night. Photo by Jason Ramelson.

Students from Ryerson’s Department of Architectural Science and School of Interior Design recently collaborated on a window installation built for the 20th anniversary of the Bata Shoe Museum.

"The interplay of depth, shadow and the individual physical components symbolically represent the immense volume of priceless history contained within the museum's outstanding collection," explained the design team in a statement.

Composed of rods of different length, the installation resembles images of moving feet wearing shoes of various heights when viewed from a distance. At night, the display uses coloured lights to heighten the installation’s abstract design.

“We brought in a lot more technology in the exhibit and installation than had previously been done, which were mainly static installations and one-person exhibits,” said Lois Weinthal, the School of Interior Design chair. “This is more of a bigger collaboration.”

The project began last summer when the Department of Architectural Science partnered with the School of Interior Design through Ryerson’s Design Fabrication Zone. Fabrication of the window installation began in February, while the full design process took approximately eight months to complete.

The core team consisted of eight members – four from architectural science and four from interior design. Volunteers from both programs were involved with the project as well. Students worked on the fabrication of the installation for almost six weeks, with some often staying in the workshop until 2 a.m.

“Rather than segregating ourselves to our individual programs, we came together and we found it pushed the design forward,” said Naveed Khan, fourth year architecture student and project lead. “That was the nature of the project, and it speaks to the desire that students have. They crave these kinds of opportunities and experiences.”

The design team often faced timing issues and problems with material costs. However, Khan said they were resolved quickly by the students and were typical of projects of this kind.

“Like any project, there are always going to be issues along the way,” Sally Pollock, an interior design student and core team member, said in an email. “So it was very interesting to be able to narrow down the options until we reached the best and most efficient conclusions.”

Student-led projects are a hallmark of the Ryerson experience. The university’s five-year academic plan, Our Time to Lead, aims to evolve and expand experiential learning for undergraduate and graduate students. Nearly all undergraduate programs, and many graduate programs, provide real-world learning opportunities.

The installation will be on display at the Bata Shoe Museum for one year.

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