Metaproject 07: Designing for Small Spaces
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Umbra teamed up with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) for the seventh annual iteration of Metaproject, under the guidance of designer and educator, Josh Owen. Each year, the school pairs up with a large design company to create real-life, commercialized items. This year, Umbra challenged the students to design exceptional projects for small space living, embodying Umbra’s mission to make compact living more efficient. Students worked for a whole semester with Umbra, taking trips to the Umbra Studio and Store and observing the company’s designers working firsthand. Then, they made their own projects that were judged by Umbra’s Vice President of Design, Matt Carr, and their Product Designer, Mingus New.

First place went to Tadhg Duffy for this Popup Room Divider, which easily and quickly divides space in just seconds.

Second place went to Vincent Lin for his Buoyancy Paper Towel Holder, which also serves as a tray.

Third place went to Mick Bartholomew and his Waver Basket, a fun interpretation of an everyday fruit bowl.

Jeff Bruha designed The Pail, a simple kitchen accessory that holds your compost, odor-free.

The Tulip Multipurpose Organizer, by Veronica Santoso, is a multipurpose object that maximizes functionality – it can act as a stool, ottoman, and even a tray.

The Saddlebag Organizer, by Brian Cusack, is a furniture or over the door storage system with an updated and modern look.

Paulina Dziama created The Power Bucket to hold unsightly electronic accessories, and it fits securely into a standard sized cup holder.

The Pop Shelf, by Jon Fratti, is a sound absorbing storage solution that reduces ambient environmental noise.

Neda Navalesca created The Peppermint, a fun and whimsical hanging nightstand that maximizes floor space.

The Ledge is an extendable tray that helps create an extra surface throughout the home. It was designed by Mike Grady.

Christopher Groves created The Rocket, a tall storage space for the bathroom that fits all the essentials.

The Anguli Lamp is an elegant floor lamp that doesn’t take up too much real estate. Designed by Emma Sarles, it’s easy to move and perfect for corners.

The Tilt Laptop Stand, by Jack Marquez, is a decorative and sculptural pedestal for the laptop, reducing clutter in an aesthetically pleasing fashion.

Jamie Samuel Moore created The Teardrop, a modular storage piece that can be mounted on the wall or over the door. You can add or remove Teardrops, depending on your needs.

Daniel Turner designed Drifold, a dish drying rack that can be folded and tucked away when not in use.

The Adjust Side Table by Nina Zheng is exactly that — a side table that can be adjusted to suit a variety of needs.

Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Torgerson-Lamark.

After surviving a quarter life crisis, Nanette went from working in healthcare canadian meds to pursuing her loves of design, food and writing. During the day she works in social media marketing, by night she writes for Design Milk. You can find more of her work at