“Metaling in Materials” #LehighU Product Design Student Gallery Show and Sale

Home and Planet on 25 East 3rd Street in Bethlehem will host the work of Lehigh’s aspiring student product designers from the department of Art, Architecture and Design. Over a dozen different types of products will be available for sale. The show opens on Friday, December 2nd from 6pm-10pm and runs throughout the month.

For the reader who would like to know more about the work, here are a few words from Professor Wes Heiss:

“This is the 5th year I am having students design products for sale at Home and Planet. When I first started teaching at Lehigh in 2006 I looked for a retail environment to have students design products for and Jon was excited about working with the University and the design students. His back gallery space has proven to be a fantastic context for displaying and selling the products. The automatic traffic of Bethlehem’s First Friday always helps to make the opening night a success for everyone.

Students have been asked to design, prototype, produce in quantity, and sell one of three projects developed during the semester. Each of the three projects focused on creating a desirable product made from sustainable materials or produced in an environmentally friendly way. Each semester the students are asked to focus on a particular material for one of the projects and this year the material was sheet steel.

This is a great project because it asks students to think about the implications of their design decisions on all levels. The students have to take risks and end up learning a tremendous amount from this experience. Just because you have a great design does not always mean you can sell it. Often great ideas are too expensive to manufacture or might not hold up to use in the home. There can be some tough lessons. Sometimes a great product that took a tremendous amount of work does not sell because it was too expensive or not quite what people need. Sometimes a great product cannot be made because there’s just no way to make a profit off it. Or sometimes an easy idea sells really well.

Home and Planet takes a commission exactly off the sale price the same as they would with any other products. The students get to recoup some or all of their investments in research, materials, and manufacturing. In many ways it’s like they are all running a small business and trying out what it would be like to produce their own designs for the market.

Just as in running a business there are risks in the class the students have to negotiate. In the end it’s not about a grade but rather did you manage to make something other people want. When you are in school it’s easy to forget that consumers are a really tough crowd.”

Check back in a day or two – we’ll post some pictures of some of the student work. Hope to see you in the crowd!

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